Marsha pipped American raider Lady Aurelia by a nose in a dramatic renewal of the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York.
The two flying fillies were locked as one passing the post but Frankie Dettori, riding Lady Aurelia, was convinced he had won and saluted the crowd passing the post and put a finger to his lips.
However, it was the Italian who was left silenced as it was Marsha, trained by Sir Mark Prescott and ridden by Luke Morris, who had landed the spoils.
The Wesley Ward-trained Lady Aurelia was 10-11 favourite to add to her King’s Stand Stakes victory at Royal Ascot, with Battaash expected to give her most to think about in the five-furlong Group One QIPCO British Champions Series contest.
However, it was Marsha who stole to show for her 10,000 owners – the Elite Racing Club – as she was produced with a perfectly-timed charge by Morris to grab the glory in the final stride. Dettori said: “I’m in shock, I thought I’d won a neck.”
Morris had also feared the worst, saying: “I wasn’t sure and when I saw Frankie put his arm up, I was gutted as I thought he had won, then someone said congratulations to me and it turned into jubilation.
“Her performance in the Palace House was exceptional, but she’s been a bit below par since. Going down today, though, she felt more on her mettle and more alive. Sir Mark is a genius. I have been with him five years now and we’ve had some great days.
“It’s fantastic for the owners. It’s great for the man in the street to be involved with a horse like this.”
Prescott missed the moment of Group One glory as he was in Ireland on a two-day trip looking at yearlings. His assistant William Butler said: “Lady Aurelia beat us at Ascot and was unbeatable on the day, but it’s a five-furlong race and there is always a chance every time you turn up. Our filly has not missed a beat all year.”
Ward was proud of Lady Aurelia in defeat, and offered no excuses. He said: “She’s a true champion, these things happen. She ran a brilliant race and the other filly ran us down.
“We were just beaten by the hair on my chinny chin chin. I thought we’d won simply because Frankie did, but that’s racing. I have been second in this race twice now and it’s tough to take.”
Battaash proved difficult to load and, after racing prominently, he finished out of the frame, with his stablemate Cotai Glory claiming third, with trainer Charlie Hills feeling he had possibly paid for his pre-race antics.
He said: “Battaash got caught saddling up and became agitated after that. Cotai Glory has run a big race and was fourth in it last year. There’s talk he could go to New Zealand and stand at stud.”