A field of eight runners went to post and much of the attention was on the three-year-olds Without Parole and Expert Eye, following their respective triumphs at Royal Ascot.
With Andrea Atzeni deputising in the saddle for the suspended Frankie Dettori, the previously unbeaten Without Parole was the 7-4 favourite to follow up his victory in the St James’s Palace Stakes and found himself in front at an early stage.
Expert Eye, who was supplemented for the Sussex off the back of an impressive win in the Jersey Stakes, was always on his tail as they went just a steady pace and that pair, along with Beat The Bank, were the first to commit for home.
Without Parole weakened out of contention disappointingly, but Expert Eye stuck to his guns for James Doyle and held a narrow advantage over Beat The Bank entering the final furlong.
However, David Simcock’s 9-1 shot Lightning Spear – who had been narrowly beaten in the Lockinge at Newbury and the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot on his previous two starts this season – found a gap between the pair and powered home under a jubilant Oisin Murphy.
Expert Eye was best of the rest in second, with Lord Glitters flying home to grab third.
“The pace was slow, but he relaxed, and I got a little bit of cover off James Doyle (on runner-up Expert Eye),” Murphy said.
“I never ever get nervous before Group Ones – before the Derby and that I like making fun of the other jockeys – but I was nervous today and down at the start I was trying to hide it. I am over the moon – what a horse! And what a training performance. He deserves to win a major G1 and at seven years of age, it is outstanding.
“I always reflect on races and I possibly left a Group One behind me this season on this lad. I am lucky I have a good boss in Sheikh Fahad and a supportive trainer in David Simcock.
“I wanted to ride him as I did because he loves to travel behind heels. I was sure Expert Eye was going to fade away at some stage, bearing in mind this is a mile and his best form is over seven. I had a G1 winner on Benbatl on Sunday, but to get a second Group One for Sheikh Fahad is unbelievable. This will mean a lot to Qatar Racing, Sheikh Fahad and his brothers.” Murphy said.
Simcock said: “I’m delighted with Lightning Spear. He looked good today, quickened well and travelled well – he did everything properly. Oisin has grown up with the horse, he is a very confident jockey and he was very patient waiting for the gap today.
“Sheikh Fahad loves this horse and he will be absolutely delighted. Unfortunately, he can’t be here today, but he’ll be made up.
“Lightning Spear has done very little wrong apart from win a Group One up until now. He is a lovely horse to train and a lot of work goes into him. He has placed in six Groups Ones and has never really let us down, though he was little bit inconsistent last season.”
He added: “You are trying something different all the time, trying to change something. To see him fill up and quicken up like that was great, and it is the horse we see at home an awful lot. It is just getting it all to click, with that little bit of luck that we haven’t had at times.”
He added: “He has probably had his knockers, slightly unfairly I feel and so to win a Group One is great. Lightning Spear has come across some very good horses. This year, if we are being honest, there is probably not an outstanding horse in the mile division and so it has been his time.
“I do as I’m told with this horse as Jenny (Simcock’s wife) rides him every day and she does a wonderful job with him. I don’t think Lightning Spear would be here today without her.
“He was quite headstrong and fiery when we got him and now he is just the nicest person and very straightforward to ride. Jenny is a special part of the whole thing. Jenny and my children are so fond of him and he is just a very special horse to have in the yard.”
David Redvers, racing and bloodstock manager to Sheikh Fahad, said: “From some time ago we felt this was his race, and the way he has been running this year we knew he had a fine chance. The way the race was run suited him.
“There was a moment when I was worried, but he needs riding like that because he has such a turn of foot. He’s seen too much daylight on occasions in races, but fair dues to the Simcocks because they have the key to him. They and the boss were patient and it has paid off.”
Redvers confirmed that Lightning Spear would join the Qatar Bloodstock roster of stallions at his Tweenhills Stud in Gloucestershire, adding: “He’s one of the best-looking horses in racing, he’s won a stallion-making race and he’s by Pivotal.”
Jenny Simcock, fighting back tears of joy, said: “That means everything. I’m spoilt and ride him every day, and he’s a gentleman, a very expressive horse, and he leads the string.”