Wantage trainer Henry Candy was thrilled after Markab showed he was worthy of his place among the world’s top sprinters by finishing a gallant second to Equiano in the King’s Stand Stakes on the opening day of Royal Ascot.

Tackling five furlongs for the first time, the seven-year-old went down by a length to Barry Hills’s charge, who was repeating his 2008 success in the Group 1 sprint when trained in Spain.

A delighted Candy said: “Brilliant, wasn’t it? He’s a proper Group 1 beastie now.

“The Prix Maurice de Gheest can be a funny sort of race and we might give that a try.”

Candy will be looking to go one better when he saddles favourite Dinkum Diamond in the Norfolk Stakes on Thursday.