The Queen's Reach For The Moon was denied a comeback victory in the Listed Coral Heron Stakes by fellow 7-4 joint-favourite My Prospero, who continued the red-hot form of trainer William Haggas.
Ruled out of next month's Derby after being deemed not ready following an injury setback last autumn, Reach For The Moon was rerouted here and ran an encouraging race under Frankie Dettori but was ultimately put in his place by the race-fit winner, who won on his return at Newbury last month.
Despite the reversal, connections of Reach For The Moon were delighted with the reappearance and will look at a choice of options at Royal Ascot next month.
"He ran a superb race and we're delighted," said joint-trainer John Gosden to Racing TV. "I told everyone he was 80 to 85 per cent and had only just got ready for a run and it was a great effort. He's always been playful but he got down to the starting gate and was professional.
"Frankie was very clear the step up in trip was what he needs and we'll look towards Ascot. There are two races to look at – the King Edward VII [over 1m4f] but also the Hampton Court over a mile and a quarter and we'll see how he is in the next few days."
My Prospero, a half-brother Group 3 winner My Oberon for the same connections, has an entry at the royal meeting in the St James's Palace Stakes, for which he was cut to 16-1 (from 33) with bet365.
Winning rider Tom Marquand said: "He's a gorgeous horse who is learning on the job and certainly looking like he's going the right way.
"I thought Frankie had me in some trouble turning in but he knuckled down really well to run down the runner-up in the last furlong."
On a possible crack at the St James's Palace, Marquand added: "In the long run hopefully he'll be up to that level but whether that's what William decides to do, I'm not sure because of how green he still was today."
The Queen had received a boost before the race when winning the 1m6f handicap on the card with the Andrew Balding-trained Duty Bound.
My Prospero runs down Reach For The Moon to deny a Royal double!— Sandown Park (@Sandownpark) May 19, 2022
The William Haggas team is in sensational form and they seem to have another top notcher who was well ridden by Tom Marquand 🔥@TomMarquand @Coral pic.twitter.com/3Ayd0rZOk9