Frankie Dettori and John Gosden were convinced Emily Upjohn’s slip when coming out of the stalls cost her a Classic victory in the Cazoo Oaks.
Sent off the 6-4 favourite, the Musidora winner completely lost her footing as the stalls opened and Dettori found himself at the rear of the field.
After a furlong she was back on an even keel and with the main group, with Dettori having Ryan Moore on eventual winner Tuesday in sights, but he had to come widest of all, and as the winning distance was just a short head, connections felt the mishap was the difference between defeat and victory.
“She slipped coming out of the stalls, that’s what happened. The race was gone then, I was too far back behind a lot of bad horses,” said Dettori.
“I found myself last and I had to pass the whole field. Ryan had the rail, I wish I’d have come up the rail but I didn’t, I had to make my run up the other side.
“She had to make up a lot of ground and she was an unlucky loser.
“I looked down on coming out of the stalls just to check if she’d lost a shoe but she hadn’t – listen, it’s one of those things.
“You’ve seen how good she is, she’s a good one. It’s a shame, she didn’t get beat fair and square. She should have won, it’s as simple as that.”
Bookmakers seemed to agree, with Ladbrokes making Emily Upjohn 6-1 favourite for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Tuesday a 12-1 chance.
Gosden, who also saddled the third home, Nashwa, who was just over three lengths away under Hollie Doyle, said: “Frankie said she grabbed at the ground and slipped and the next thing she’s last.
“They went a nice pace, the one in front (Thoughts Of June) tried to win it for herself, but she had to circle the whole field and that has cost her. That’s life.
“You can’t afford to give that ground away in a Classic. She handled the track, she did everything right, it was just lost at the start. How she got as close as she did, I don’t know.
“She’s got a lot of ability to come from last and get there, it was a hell of a run but you can’t spot a field that much, it’s not her style of racing.
“The plan was to sit third or fourth but, as so often happens, the plan went out of the window.
“She was in front everywhere but the line. I think if she’d had a clean break and not lost her legs it might have been a different result, but that’s horse racing.
“Nashwa has run a superb race, she just ran out of stamina in the last 50 yards. She’ll be better back in trip.”
Doyle, who just came up short in her quest to be the first woman to ride a British Classic winner, said: “She settled well, travelled into it as good as the winner really, but I just felt in the last furlong she got outstayed.
“I got a really nice split and I was just trying to get there with a bit of reserve in the tank as we weren’t sure about her over this trip.
“She’s run a really solid race.”