One World (15-1) silenced those critics who said he would not see out 2000m in top company when he outstayed Rainbow Bridge (4-1).
Head Honcho set an honest pace just like last year, but MJ Byleveld took One World past him and into the lead early in the straight.
Rainbow Bridge had turned for home third, and Ryan Moore quickly moved him up to do battle.
At the 200m mark he looked odds on to go on and score a repeat Met win.
But not for the first time in his career One World fought back doggedly once headed, and got back up to win by a neck.
“It means the world to me. The hard work has paid off. When Rainbow Bridge came up it brought out the fight in him” said Byleveld, who was scoring his first Met win.
He has probably never ridden a better race in his career.
“The horse was very courageous and dug deep. A great ride from MJ” said an emotional Vaughan Marshall, who was victorious for the third time.
Hawwaam was a further 3.50 lengths back in third, but appeared to be beaten with every chance. Twist Of Fate put in his usual game shift and finished fourth, just ahead of Bunker Hunt.
Green Point Stakes and L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate winner Vardy went off at 7-2 but was never in contention and failed to produce that famous finishing burst. He was beaten 5.45 lengths into sixth and probably didn’t see out the 2000m.
Ryan Moore was gracious in defeat.
“It was a super run. I’m thankful for the opportunity, but disappointed I couldn’t do the job for them” said the British champion jockey post race.