Treasure Beach looked a second-division Ballydoyle candidate for next month's Investec Derby despite showing plenty of guts to win yesterday's Chester Vase, which earned him a 33/1 quote for Epsom.
The disturbing feature of the colt's running style was his high head carriage. It took half a mile for Ryan Moore to get him to settle in third, on the rail, behind Sadler's Risk and Nathaniel. Moore said he would have preferred a stronger pace.
On a more positive note, Treasure Beach displayed great determination to muscle his way through a narrow opening at the top of the straight.
The colt then held off the late thrust of Nathaniel to scramble home by a head, with Epsom's Blue Riband winner Slumber three lengths back. "He might come on for the run," said Moore who was completing a double for Aidan O'Brien.
Kieren Fallon was back under the glare of official spotlight when he failed to turn up for his first two rides on a day when fellow jockey Franny Norton failed the breathalyser in a routine swoop on all riders prior to racing.
When Fallon eventually arrived at the course, nearly an hour and three quarters late, he told the stewards he had been caught in heavy traffic after visiting his children in Wigan. He added that he had failed to make contact because the battery on his mobile phone had gone flat.
The explanation was accepted and the jockey passed a breathalyser before taking his first ride.
O'Brien, meanwhile, initiated his brace when the highly progressive Await The Dawn -- a colt of radiant quality -- took his record to four wins in five starts when running away with the Huxley Stakes.
Paul Smith, representing the owners, indicated that the son of Giant's Causeway will now step up in class -- and possibly in trip -- at Royal Ascot. Today the Ballydoyle supremo sends over no less a creature than St Nicholas Abbey for the Ormonde Stakes.
It was barely a year ago that the champion juvenile of 2009 was supposed to win the Guineas in rather the fashion Frankel did last weekend.
In the event, he finished sixth and only resurfaced at The Curragh last month, hardly looking worth the wait in the process. That he could not now be backed with any confidence for a Group Three prize, with no penalty over this much longer trip, reflects the decline in his fortunes.
He has unmistakably reached a final crossroads. (© Daily Telegraph, London)