Sea La Rosa’s class came to the fore in the Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes as Tom Marquand timed his challenge to perfection aboard William Haggas’ filly.
Jason Hart blew any pre-race tactics to smithereens when he set off on an enterprising ride aboard eventual second Urban Artist.
Hughie Morrison’s seven-year-old was over a dozen lengths clear of the chasing pair of Sea La Rosa and Yesyes when breaching the highest part of the track and starting the run for home.
However, Urban Artist’s stride began to shorten inside the last two furlongs and it was Marquand who had saved the most petrol to pounce in the closing stages and score at 9-4 by a length.
Urban Artist gallantly shaded the battle for second, while 13-8 favourite Emily Dickinson, who was held up out the back by Ryan Moore, was unable to make up enough ground despite flying home for third.
“It was a very strange race, and to give credit to Hugh (Morrison) his filly nearly pulled it off,” said Maureen Haggas, wife and assistant to her husband.
“It wasn’t the easiest task for Tom getting cover, as this filly stops when she hits the front, and you have to try to put her head in front on the line.
“She’s a witty little thing, and on her first attempt at the trip she seemed to get it well.
“She’s in the Irish Leger which could be the way to go. But we will talk to Mrs Choi (owner).”
Marquand said: “It was a tough one because we know Urban Artist stays very well and yet you never know quite how much a horse in front has left.
“This filly gives you great confidence on the way round because she travels so strongly and you know she is going to grit it out. It was just a case of trying to pick her up at the right time yet not run her off her legs.
“When you have one loose on the front end you have to time it so your horse is catching it, but with not enough time for the others to use you as a second wave.
“It’s a hard one, but watching the Tour De France in the past week has probably helped me with that – except we didn’t have a lead-out man. She’s not very big, but she has a huge heart.”