Arabian Queen caused the biggest upset of the season to date in flooring Derby and Eclipse winner Golden Horn with a battling win in the Juddmonte International at York.
Showing a willing resolve, the 50-1 shot answered everything asked of her by title-chasing jockey Silvestre de Sousa to claim a shock victory in the Group One event and bring to an end the unbeaten run of John Gosden’s Epsom hero.
In a slight change of tactics, the David Elsworth-trained three-year-old was anchored in behind Dick Doughtywylie, pacemaker for Golden Horn, instead of assuming her usual front-running role.
Having raced prominently throughout, Arabian Queen hit the front well over two furlongs out, just as Golden Horn, who was being closely tracked by The Grey Gatsby, began to make his move.
Although Frankie Dettori had to get serious aboard the 4-9 favourite it looked like he was in line to pick up the Jeff Smith-owned filly.
But as Golden Horn ranged up to Arabian Queen, she was not to be denied, finding just enough to stick her head out in front where it mattered and score by a neck.
Both Dettori and Gosden felt Golden Horn had raced too keenly and found his turn of foot blunted by the ground, which had led to dual 2000 Guineas winner Gleneagles being a withdrawal. Dettori said: “He was too fresh, having missed the King George. He pulled hard and wasted a lot of energy. He couldn’t skip away on that ground like he usually does.”
Gosden said: “The pacemaker missed the kick and then he ended up too far clear. 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 got in front, but I think we know now he’s definitely better on faster ground and the filly just outstayed him.
“It was a real pity it rained and a real pity Gleneagles didn’t run. You could see he was throwing his head about and he simply burnt too much petrol. The filly had run in the Nassau so take nothing away from her, she’s very good.
“In hindsight we may have been better sitting just behind the pacemaker, but hindsight is wonderful.”
De Sousa, meanwhile, was full of praise for the winner, who finished third in the Nassau at Goodwood last time out.
He said: “She’s not an easy filly to deal with, she can be a bit of a madam at home. She has her own ideas about the game, but is obviously very talented.”