As if the withdrawal of Gleneagles did not provide enough of a twist to the plot ahead of Wednesday's Gr.1 Juddmonte International Stakes, the real drama was still to play out on York's Knavesmire as the unheralded 50-1 shot Arabian Queen (by Dubawi) mastered Golden Horn to the smell of burning formbooks.
Last seen finishing a well-beaten third without any obvious excuses in the Gr.1 Nassau Stakes at Goodwood at the start of the month, Jeff Smith's 3-year-old filly was left to her own devices by the main group early and was able to build her own pace ahead of the free-going Gr.1 Epsom Derby and Gr.1 Eclipse Stakes hero. As the 4-9 favourite laboured past approaching the furlong pole, she looked booked for an honourable second, but Silvestre de Sousa was asking for more from Arabian Queen and she proved generous, as her unbeaten rival paid for his early exertions in the last 75 yards. At the line, she had forged an unforgettable and unpredictable neck success from Golden Horn, with The Grey Gatsby 3 1/4 lengths behind in third as the hold-up horses failed to land a serious blow.
Ignoring the favourite's rabbit Dick Doughtywylie as he was sent too far into the clear to be a pace factor early on, Arabian Queen was also unconsidered while sitting two lengths ahead of Golden Horn as he reefed and pulled noticeably for Dettori. Wound up by Silvestre de Sousa in early stretch, the bay was in front with a quarter mile remaining, with the main attraction beginning to chase, albeit without his usual silky response. Looking likely to succumb just under a furlong later as the Oppenheimer star edged ahead, Arabian Queen was never truly put in her place and that gave her heart to stick to her guns as the battle heated in the closing moments. Back in front 75 yards from the line, Arabian Queen had more to give from there and York was left to play witness to another turn-up as it had been in this race's inaugural year in 1972 when Roberto downed Brigadier Gerard.
John Gosden was left with an unsatisfactory combination of events to ponder as he took Golden Horn's first reversal on the chin. "The pacemaker missed the kick and then he ended up too far clear," he said. "Golden Horn was too fresh and keen and he did too much, too early. Frankie found it hard to settle him for the first six furlongs and he gassed himself out. He missed the King George and is a fresh horse who has overdone it in that ground early and paid the price in the last half-furlong."
Extract From Thoroughbred Daily News