Spirit Dancer quickened up impressively to give owner and breeder Sir Alex Ferguson a famous victory in the Bahrain International Trophy on Friday.
The former Manchester United manager already had a special place in his affections for the Richard Fahey-trained six-year-old, having sent the unraced dam Queen’s Dream to Frankel.
While he has taken time to reach his full potential, this summer saw him win three in a row, including the Group Three Strensall Stakes at York, which booked his ticket for this contest, worth £500,000 to the winner.
Spirit Dancer was not among the favourites due to the class of the opposition, which included Charlie Appleby’s Grade One winner Nations Pride, Saeed bin Suroor’s 2022 Queen Anne runner-up Real World, Israr for the Gosdens and Aidan O’Brien’s Point Lonsdale.
All the main protagonists had their chance but none had an answer to Spirit Dancer, who when Oisin Orr unleashed him down the outside put the race to bed in a matter of strides.
Ferguson was understandably delighted, telling Racing TV: “That is the best ever, without doubt. Against all the pedigrees and form of all the other horses – that’s fantastic, I couldn’t believe it.
“Richard said to leave it to the jockey, he’ll be all right.
“I was terrified looking at all the other people involved in this race. Godolphin had five horses in it. That was great, I’m so proud.
“I said to the jockey ‘remember, he’s a Frankel’."
Orr said: “I got a lovely sit the whole race and I always felt I had plenty of horse underneath me. I couldn’t believe how well he quickened in the straight, he’s won well.
“He had good form coming here, maybe he just needed his last run a little but he’s come back to his best today.”