Brilliant dual Oaks winner Snow Fairy came from a different parish to collar Irian under an ice-cool Ryan Moore. Ed Dunlop's three-year-old was adding to last month's similarly impressive triumph in the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup in Japan.
Fellow British raiders Sri Putra and Glass Harmonium finished a respective 11th and 12th, having failed to show their best form. The same cannot be said of Snow Fairy, who was truly outstanding. Reassuringly for her supporters, she will now stay in training as a four-year-old.
Although Packing Winner - the eventual third - teed up a generous pace, Moore was content to hunt, rather than chase, towards the rear of the field.
Even heading into the final one and a half furlongs, the Intikhab filly still had at least seven horses in front of her. But Moore's sangfroid patience was vindicated as Snow Fairy suddenly hit her stride and weaved into contention. Irian still looked to have pinched the Group One encounter under Brett Prebble, but Moore came with an exceptional late surge to win by a neck.
Snow Fairy has now won four races at the highest level, taking her career earnings to over 2million. Dunlop said: "She will definitely stay in training, no question, and you never know, she could be back here next year." Moore added: "On the top of the bend I thought I had no chance but she quickened up so well and is an absolute machine to do what she did. You would struggle to find too many fillies that could have done what she did."
Mastery, meanwhile, scooped another huge prize when emerging victorious in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase. Godolphin's four-year-old has this season been used sparingly, and clearly had fitness on his side in defeating fellow British raider Redwood. Always close to the pace under Frankie Dettori, the Saeed bin Suroor-trained colt really got going once Mighty High took them along into the home straight.
Mastery gained a clear-cut advantage two furlongs from home - a lead he never looked like relinquishing as Redwood, ridden by Michael Hills and trained by his father, Barry, stayed on for second. Americain, the Melbourne Cup hero last month, was third.
Dettori said: "I was looking at the stats and it was my 48th Hong Kong International ride, so you could say I'm getting a bit long in the tooth. Saeed has been telling me this horse was flying.He's been slow getting out (of the stalls] and he was again, but once I got him out and clear in the straight I knew nobody could catch us in the last 400 yards."
At Cheltenham on Saturday it is difficult to know who put up the best performance of the day on a fantastic card - the thrilling sight of Master Minded back to his best in the rearranged Keith Prowse Hospitality Tingle Creek Chase, or Menorah slicing through the field in the StanJames.com International Hurdle?
Then there was Poquelin creating history by becoming the first dual winner of the Vote A.P. Gold Cup, or Time For Rupert oozing class in the DRS Contracts Novices' Chase. Throw in a victory for Tony McCoy on Karabak in the Unicoin Homes Relkeel Hurdle on a day when the feature race was run in his honour, and striking victories for the youngsters Sam Winner and Mossley, and it added up to possibly the best day of racing seen outside of the festivals.
Master Minded (10-11 favourite) truly was a sight to behold. Trainer Paul Nicholls doubted whether he could still string two top-class performances together after his breathing operation, but the 7-4 quotes flying around about a third Champion Chase now look pretty big.
Ayr's meeting today was abandoned yesterday due to a frozen track.
Hopes had risen during the thaw on Thursday and Friday, but sub-zero temperatures on Saturday night put the final nail in the coffin.
Clerk of the course Emma Marley said: "Last night's frost finished us, I'm afraid."