Brown Panther found the Group 1 penalty he carried in to the Yorkshire Cup just too much as he was edged out of the Group 2 race in a titanic tussle with Snow Sky.
For the final 600 metres of this 2,800-metre contest Snow Sky and Brown Panther locked horns down the Knavesmire straight, but the extra weight proved the difference and the Dubai Gold Cup winner was a length adrift at the line.
Romsdal, the Godolphin representative, lost out to Havana Beat for third.
The Brown Panther team were beaten but not unbowed, and they head to Royal Ascot next month for a second attempt at the Gold Cup, in which their stable flagbearer finished third last year.
“We’re disappointed but not sickened, as he’s run a great race,” owner Michael Owen said.
Snow Sky finished third in last season’s English St Leger in September, and had not been seen since he ran seventh in the Hong Kong Vase.
He has grown stronger over the winter, and after the trip to Asia illustrated that he could be campaigned internationally trainer Sir Michael Stoute was eyeing the richest staying prize in the world.
“I think I’d like to finish up in Melbourne Cup,” Stoute said. “I think it would be worth throwing a dart at.”
Brown Panther’s fine run brings about the possibility that Qatari star Dubday can further bolster the Dubai Gold Cup form at Newbury when he takes his chance in the Listed Al Rayyan Stakes today.
Dubday, who was fifth at Meydan on World Cup night, takes on Godolphin’s well-regarded Elite Army and Royal Ascot winner Telescope in the extended 2,400-metre contest.
Also at Newbury there is a strong UAE representation in the Lockinge Stakes, headed by Godolphin’s Night Of Thunder in what is a record entry for the Group 1 race.
Night of Thunder faces 17 rivals, among which include Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid’s Aljamaaheer and Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa’s Moohaarib.
Follow us on twitter at @NatSportUAE