Colour Vision vindicated Frankie Dettori's decision to ride him with a game display in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.
Raised eyebrows greeted the news that Dettori was to ride Colour Vision ahead of Godolphin's more established stayer Opinion Poll but the grey proved the jockey right in passing the post half a length ahead of his rejected rival.
However, the claxon to announce a stewards' inquiry soon sounded as head-on replays revealed that Dettori's mount twice bumped the second in the closing stages but the placings remained unaltered.
The first half of the two and a half mile Group One was run at a very steady gallop with several runners failing to settle behind the pace being set by Gulf Of Naples.
Silvestre de Sousa began to wind the tempo up as the field moved into the final mile and the runners began to stretch out behind.
Jamie Spencer was towards the rear aboard the odds-on favourite Fame And Glory but still appeared to be travelling comfortably as they turned into the straight.
However, last year's winner failed to pick up as expected in the straight and could never land a blow as the two Godolphin owned runners fought out the finish.
Saeed Bin Suroor's runner was headed by his older rival, trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni, but fought back to record a popular victory with Saddler's Rock just a further neck back in third.
Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Godolphin operation, was delighted to claim a one-two.
He said: "Whatever happened, they are two very good horses that finished first and second and that's a good thing.
"You have to wait a year to prepare your horse to come here and even the second horse ran a great race."
Of Dettori and Barzalona, he said: "They are two good jockeys. Frankie is great and Mickael is coming up this year."
Dettori, who has been the subject of much speculation in recent weeks with the big rides now shared around the Godolphin team, was delighted to get a big-race win on the board.
He said: "It was great. This was my best chance of the week.
"I had to make a very hard decision (to ride Colour Vision over Opinion Poll. They are both great horses and warriors and I finished up the best, but only by a short margin.
"I'm delighted for the team and myself as well. It's been a very hard week and I'm glad this one came up.
"It was great, we have a great team, and first and second is a great result."
Much has been made of Barzalona's rise to prominence with Godolphin.
However, Dettori insisted there was no extra joy in beating his fellow Godolphin rider in the finish.
"It's always enjoyable winning," he said.
"Me and Mickael are good friends but when you are out there, you are by yourself and you want to win for yourself. It doesn't matter who is in the finish, you always try to win."
Asked if he felt the victory re-established his seniority within the Godolphin riding ranks, Dettori said with a smile: "No. We'll have to prove it in the next one - you only remember the last one."
When asked if he had read any of the speculation about Dettori, Sheikh Mohammed said: "I don't care, I have my own ideas.
"I know how good Frankie is and we do need more than one jockey for Godolphin."
Simon Crisford, Godolphin racing manager, said: "Frankie gave the horse a magnificent ride.
"Sheikh Mohammed gave him a choice of which horse to ride, and he made a judgement call based on the fact Colour Vision would stay better than Opinion Poll. He is such a gritty little stayer."
On the closeness of the finish, Crisford said: "Frankie wasn't going to let Barzalona beat him today, there's no doubt about that."
Now a five-time Gold Cup-winning trainer, Bin Suroor last won the race with Papineau in 2004 and was thrilled to claim the prize again, particularly with Dettori in the saddle.
Bin Suroor said: "After Frankie rode the horse last time, he knew it would be hard to choose between the two but when he picked our horse, he thought he'd picked the best one.
"He's improving all the time.
"I've won the Gold Cup before but it's very special to win it again.
"We know now that he can run in all the best staying races and it's great to see Frankie winning it again."
Al Zarooni said of Opinion Poll: "He ran very well, no excuses today. They are two nice horses, it doesn't matter as we are one team. As for future plans we will see what Simon (Crisford, racing manager) and Sheikh Mohammed want to do."
Oxx said of Saddler's Rock: "The race was a bit of farce for him, unfortunately, as they went too slow early on, which meant he pulled for the first mile or so and then it was a sprint for the last mile and he couldn't quicken on the soft ground.
"He got a bit unbalanced, Johnny (Murtagh) said, and he was struggling, but then he finally got going when it was too late.
"There are a lot of options for him, probably starting off with the Goodwood Cup, and we'll look at similar races.
"He needs good to firm ground and a good pace to be at his best, but unfortunately we haven't got a pacemaker."
Johnston, whose Gulf Of Naples cut out much of the early running before finishing fourth, said: "Gulf Of Naples ran a fantastic race.
"I said a year ago that horse (Colour Vision) would win the Gold Cup and he has done."
O'Brien reported Fame And Glory to have returned unscathed following his eclipse and offered no excuse for his defeat.
He said: "He has come back fine and seems to be fine after the race. It was an interesting race."