Doncaster's atmosphere switched from heightened to distinctly flat within the space of three minutes as Godolphin's Encke extinguished hopes of Camelot achieving a rare Triple Crown in the Ladbrokes St Leger.
Camelot was the 2-5 favourite to add the season's final Classic to his 2000 Guineas and Derby successes, but unfortunately for all his supporters and the expectant thousands on Town Moor in a sell-out crowd, it was not to be.
Aidan O'Brien's colt was caught out by an unsteady pace and the sublime riding of Mickael Barzalona on 25-1 chance Encke, clawing back all but three-quarters of a length as he failed to replicate the feat last accomplished by Nijinsky in 1970.
There have been many epic head-to-heads between the ranks of Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin stables and the O'Brien-Coolmore axis, but this was a rather unexpected sixth St Leger for the owner, and a first for both trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni and Barzalona on his debut in the event.
Sitting carefully in the middle of the pack as the field were taken along by Dartford, the sole pacemaker working for eventual third Michelangelo, Barzalona was far more quickly into the drive position than Joseph O'Brien on Camelot.
Even once the favourite was free from the rail, the handful of lengths the Frenchman had stolen with a couple of furlongs to run were insurmountable.
Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said: "This is a robust horse and we put a line through his run at York (in the Great Voltigeur). The pace was so slow that day and it was falsely run race.
"Mickael rode a beautiful race and when he kicked at the two pole he put the race to bed really. We came here thinking he was a really solid place chance, but he has won fair and square.
"What we loved about that race was the turn of foot he showed. That stands very well for next season and he will stay in training. I would imagine it's very unlikely he'll run again this season, but we will see what Sheikh Mohammed wants to do."
Barzalona, signed up by Godolphin as the eventual successor to Frankie Dettori, added: "I knew Camelot was behind and on the inside and could see he had difficulty navigating. I asked my horse to go and he went very quickly."