Hot favourite Nostrum trailed home last of six runners as Spirit Dancer completed his hat-trick in the Sky Bet And Symphony Group Strensall Stakes at York.
Considered a Classic contender at the start of the year before injury intervened, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Nostrum made a spectacular reappearance at Newmarket in July before finding Epictetus too strong in a Group Three at Goodwood.
Back on a sounder surface, the son of Kingman was widely expected to get back on the winning trail, but the 5-6 shot checked out quickly halfway up the straight and was virtually pulled up by Ryan Moore.
Flight Plan took the field along for much of the nine-furlong contest and a daring move by Danny Tudhope to plough a lone furrow on the far side of the track after turning for home briefly looked like it might pay dividends.
But the 6-1 chance Spirit Dancer, stepping up in class in the colours of part-owner Sir Alex Ferguson following handicap wins at York and Windsor, came home strongest on the opposite side of the track to get up and score by a length from El Drama under Oisin Orr.
“He’s enjoying life and I’m enjoying watching him – he’s done well,” said Fahey.
“I was a little bit worried they wouldn’t go much of a gallop but there was plenty of pace to aim at and we get the trip well so we were keen to head for home soon enough.
“In the back of my mind, before today, I was thinking about the Bahrain Trophy, the million dollar race there in November time. That’s more or less confirmed, we’ll go there if they invite us. I’m sure he’s earned his ticket there.”
Following the race Moore reported to the stewards that his mount never felt comfortable. The vets examined Nostrum post-race and found him to be lame on his left-hind leg.