Favourite Kingston Hill, trained by Roger Varian, romped to victory by more than four lengths in the Racing Post Trophy over Doncaster's straight mile.
Defying a strong headwind in the final Group One race of the year in Britain, the son of Mastercraftsman was asked to quicken well over a furlong out.
Andrea Atzeni's 7-2 shot surged clear and sealed his third win out of three.
Recent winners to clinch Derby in following year
- Camelot 2011
- Authorized 2006
- Motivator 2004
- High Chaparral 2001
Johann Strauss was second with Johnny Murtagh's Altruistic third, but well-fancied Century was last of the 11.
Chief Barker, unbeaten in three and marshalled by the esteemed Richard Hannon-Richard Hughes combination, could never sustain a serious challenge and weakened in the final furlong before finishing sixth.
Kingston Hill is now tipped for next year's Derby, but Varian said: "We'll have to see how he winters and what he's like in the spring. People have said is he a 10-furlong, mile-and-a-half horse, but he has the pace for a mile and travels so well.
"He has good acceleration and will be in everything. You've got to have an open book with him. We'll have a good eye on the Guineas. Whether he runs before or goes straight there or bypasses the Guineas we'll have to wait and see."
Jockey Atzeni said: "I've ridden some very good horses but he's definitely the best."