Cecil made his mark in the race over the years, but not since its upgrade to the highest tier in 2004.
The trainer was convinced there was a big prize in Timepiece, who left her ninth-place finish in last season’s Investec Oaks behind when winning the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot and has established herself as a solid performer at Listed level.
Her starting price of 16-1 reflected what she was up against on the July Course with the field headed by the high-class French mare Sahpresa. Sahpresa’s rider Christophe Lemaire was one of several to misjudge the dawdling pace set by Masaya, leaving himself a lot to do approaching the furlong marker.
But Tom Queally was alive to the dangers on Timepiece at that point, committing the filly and keeping a length and a quarter between himself and the onrushing Sahpresa by the line.
Frankel has been the undoubted star of this season for Cecil, Queally and owner Khalid Abdullah, and it was a more relaxed trainer who briefed the media than when dealing with his higher-profile horse.
“We had the choice of a Listed race at Pontefract or this, but seeing as she’s already a Listed winner I decided to run here,” Cecil said, perhaps tongue-in-cheek.
Godolphin’s Gamilati became the first maiden since Sayyedati in 1992 to lift the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cherry Hinton Stakes at Newmarket.
While Sayyedati went on to glory in the 1000 Guineas, the even more encouraging news for Sheikh Mohammed and trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni is that they could even have a better filly in Discourse, who beat Gamilati by a short-head over the course and distance a fortnight ago.
Frankie Dettori, back after suspension, was far less reserved in applying his flying dismount than he was in the saddle, putting Gamilati (14-1) to sleep for much of the race before rousing her in the final furlong to brush aside Russelliana and Shumoos.