Incredibly only a head covered Legal Eagle and previously unbeaten favourite Rainbow Bridge who finished fourth, with Undercover Agent and Do It Again sandwiched in between.
There was no early pace and Legal Eagle was briefly in front, before Undercover Agent took it up around 1100m out, and set some middling fractions.
Rainbow Bridge was pulling hard early on, but still raced in touch, along with Do It Again.
They settled down to commence battle with 400m to go, as Legal Eagle moved up to challenge, while Do It Again started to look menacing on the inside rail.
Rainbow Bridge came home down the centre, but seemed to be briefly caught flat footed.
Legal Eagle had the upper hand, but Undercover Agent rallied back gamely, and Do It Again wasn’t going away.
Meanwhile Rainbow Bridge was hitting top stride and motoring home wider out.
They hit the line as one, but the photo showed that serial winner Legal Eagle had put his nose down at the right time to take it by a short head.
Undercover Agent was adjudged second, followed by Do It Again and Rainbow Bridge, with the margin an absolute whisker in each case.
A quite amazing finish to what was always going to be the race of the season so far, but surpassed all expectations.
Roll on the L’Ormarins Queens Plate, where these four superstars will be joined by Snowdance and Buffalo Bill Cody, among others.
“What can I say – I enjoyed his sprint win, but this was a bit nerve wracking” said Sean Tarry, the master of understatement.
“Anton Marcus is an absolute champion – there’s not much between him and Legal Eagle” concluded a delighted former champion trainer, who currently holds a healthy advantage at the top of this season’s standings.
This was Legal Eagles tenth win over 1600m, and fifteenth in all, for stakes of just over R11.5 million.
Just over half an hour earlier Yvette Bremner again showed her ability to win features outside of Port Elizabeth when Princess Rebel blitzed the opposition in the Grade 2 Southern Cross Stakes.
The diminutive Rebel King filly has regularly run her local sprint competitors off their feet, but went off at what with hindsight was an exceedingly generous 9-1, as she now seemed to be facing far stronger.
It made no difference though as she quickly went a couple of lengths clear and kept daylight between herself and the field throughout to win by 2.25 lengths.
Nous Voila chased in vain throughout, while Freedom Charter ran on well for third.
Favourite Magical Wonderland never fired and was sixth beaten almost five lengths, but was reported as coughing post race.
Assistant trainer Carl Hewitson indicated afterwards that 1000m specialist Princess Rebel would now return to PE, but is likely to come back to take on the colts in the Grade 1 Cape Flying Championship on Sun Met day.
Making it a family affair, his son and current champion jockey Lyle rode the fleet footed filly.