Trainer Aidan O'Brien won his eighth Investec Coronation Cup with Highland Reel, who made most of the running and held off a determined challenge from second-placed Frontiersman.
The 9/4 favourite, who won by a length and three-quarters, was taking his fifth Group One race across three continents. He was ridden by Ryan Moore.
O'Brien's horses arrived very late at the track, having been held up on the runway in Ireland because the plane's fuel cap was missing and fuel was spilling out over the wing.
"I'm delighted with Highland Reel. They [the Ballydoyle runners] obviously went through a lot today and were here just before the race.
"Things weren't going smoothly but everyone was doing their best and did a great job. Thanks to everybody involved.
"Highland Reel is an amazing horse. Tactically, he has speed and he stays. He's very versatile. He could run in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot if he needs it and maybe then on to the King George."
Asked if he was worried the day's travel problems would affect Highland Reel, O'Brien replied: "He never showed any softness in his life. He's been travelling since 4am this morning and has only been here an hour. He didn't have a lot of time to do anything - he had his piddle, got washed off and then came into the paddock. And he hasn't run since Dubai, which was a good while ago [March 25].
"David was delighted with him at home along with Andrew and Davy, and Ryan gave him a great ride."
O'Brien is the winning most trainer ever in the Investec Coronation Cup.
Investec Coronation Cup
£400,000 added, 4yo plus, 1m 4f 10y, Class 1 10 ran
Highland Reel (IRE) 9/4f
R L Moore
A P O'Brien
Hawkbill (USA) 11/2
A M Balding
J H M Gosden
Idaho (IRE) 11/1
J A Heffernan
A P O'Brien
Red Verdon (USA) 33/1
P J Smullen
E A L Dunlop
Air Pilot 25/1
F M Berry
R M Beckett
Prize Money 10/1
S bin Suroor
US Army Ranger (IRE) 8/1
A P O'Brien
Trainer Charlie Appleby was delighted with the performance of his Godolphin-owned duo Frontiersman (9/1) and Hawkbill (11/2), who finished second and third.
Frontiersman, ridden by James Doyle, was supplemented for the race at a cost of £25,000 and showed that to be a shrewd move as he stayed on well from the back of the field to finish a length and three-quarters behind the winner in second.
Hawkbill, partnered by William Buick, challenged the winner in the home straight but faded in the closing stages to finish a further three and a half-lengths behind his stable companion.
Appleby said: "I'm delighted with the pair of them. Frontiersman finishing second there was a big step-up from his handicap win at Newmarket on his latest start.
"His homework had been so good and he has a pedigree to die for this horse. I'm not saying that makes him a great racehorse but he showed us all the right signs at home and he is a typical Dubawi who is getting better with age.
"We weren't coming in here confident but we paid the £25,000 supplementary fee for a reason as we thought he deserved to have a crack at it.
"James [Doyle, jockey] thought his inexperience has just caught him out round there. We did ask James to just give him a chance round here as we knew the pace was going to be generous up front.
"He saw it out well and he galloped it out strongly. We might look at the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot with him as that looks the most logical step forward and he will justifiably deserve to be there in the line up. All being well, he comes out of this fit and well and we will then head to Royal Ascot."
Regarding Hawkbill, Appleby was quick to highlight the four-year-old son of Kitten's Joy appreciation of softer ground.
He continued: "I was delighted with the run and I'm not going to keep boring people with the same story, but he needs soft ground.
"It wouldn't worry me coming back in trip either and William [Buick, jockey] said he's got a gear there but the winner [Highland Reel] is a good horse. William said he went to go and have a battle with the winner and he found again.
"What this horse does do is quicken on soft ground and that catches a few of the others out, he can't do the same on this ground."
Andrew Balding was delighted with the performance of Elberth (33/1) who finished fourth. He remarked: "We're really pleased with her. We will have some fun travelling with her in the autumn.
"Everything is possible with her as she travels well and she has the class and ability to run well at this level which is good to know. She also goes on any ground which is also a benefit when you are travelling further afield.
"She's finished fourth in a high-quality Coronation Cup so full credit must go to her."
The Coronation Cup was first run in 1902 to commemorate the coronation of a new British monarch, King Edward VII. Epsom had previously staged a similar race, the Epsom Gold Cup, which was open to horses aged three or older. The Coronation Cup was temporarily switched to alternative venues during wartime periods, with runnings at Newmarket (1915–16, 1943–45) and Newbury (1941).
The race is presently contested on the opening day of Epsom's two-day Derby Festival meeting. Its distance is the same as that of both the Derby and the Oaks, and it often features horses which competed in those events in the preceding seasons.
The Group One mile and a half contest for older horses boasts an outstanding roll of honour, featuring greats such at Mill Reef, Rainbow Quest, Triptych, Daylami, Yeats and more recently St Nicholas Abbey, who made the race his own.