Barney Roy the top boy in treble for Godolphin
A Classic may have escaped the clutches of Barney Roy, but he clinched the next best thing with victory in the St. James's Palace Stakes on a day to remember for Godolphin and Sheikh Mohammed at Royal Ascot.
After coming up short by a length in the 2000 Guineas, the son of Excelebration exacted his revenge over his Newmarket conqueror Churchill in the manner of the top-class performer he has long been thought to be by trainer Richard Hannon.
Having found the undulations of the Rowley Mile not to his liking, the James Doyle-ridden colt looked more at ease on a much flatter surface, with the 5-2 shot travelling kindly in midfield during the early stages of the mile contest.
As Lancaster Bomber, stablemate of the odds-on Churchill, pressed on early down the straight, the market principals were wound up for their efforts, with the eventual winner coming under a maximum drive over a quarter of a mile from home.
While Barney Roy responded to pressure, Churchill's hopes of a fifth top-level victory in succession were soon over, with the 1-2 favourite having no more to give from a furlong or so out.
Going through the gears late on, Barney Roy swooped past Lancaster Bomber close to the line to defeat the Aidan O'Brien runner by a length in a course-record time, with Thunder Snow a further head back in third.
The winner, who formed the middle leg of a treble for Godolphin which was initiated by the victory of Ribchester in the Queen Anne and completed by Sound And Silence in the Windsor Castle, was cut to 7-2 for next month's Eclipse Stakes at Sandown by Paddy Power.
Hannon said: "He is the horse we always thought he was. We went to the Guineas to prove he is a good horse and he did that."
Looking to future plans, Hannon said: "There is the Sussex. I would love to see him go a little bit further, maybe the Eclipse or something like that. This is massive. It is a Group One and it is what we are all here for."
It has not always been plain sailing for Doyle since joining the Godolphin outfit, which has undergone an upheaval in the last few weeks, leading to chief executive John Ferguson resigning.
Doyle said: "It has been an up-and-down season, but when I knew I got the ride on this fellow, I was pretty excited. Today means everything."
O'Brien said of Churchill, who eventually finished fourth: "He ran well. His form with Lancaster Bomber changed a bit from what it usually is. He should like fast ground. It is a hot day and maybe the heat didn't help. He didn't pick up for some reason."