Telescope was beaten into second by David Livingston in the Group Three Betfred Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock.
The Michael Stoute-trained colt was sent off the 4-9 favourite on the back of his thoroughly impressive performance in a conditions heat at Leicester last month and Ryan Moore had him in a prime position throughout.
Settled in fourth as Area Fifty One made the early running, Moore began to make his challenge over two furlongs out as Johnny Murtagh also pushed for home aboard the Mike de Kock-trained winner.
While Moore tried to kick on aboard the favourite, David Livingston found plenty for pressure and kept battling before edging in front and eventually going a length clear at the line.
Noble Mission made late progress in a bid for second, but Telescope just held on for the minor honours by a head.
David Livingston was a Group Two winner as a juvenile when trained by Aidan O'Brien but he left the Ballydoyle team to join De Kock after failing to sparkle as a three-year-old in 2012.
Murtagh said: "He was very progressive as a two-year-old and Mike seems to have sorted him out now.
"When I got after him, he really didn't want to lose and he's won well in the end.
"It's obviously very busy for me combining training and riding but it's great to still come over here for the big days."
De Kock's assistant trainer Steve Jell said: "He's really maturing now. Last year I don't think the ground helped him and he was quite immature.
"Johnny thinks he could step up in trip again. He's entered for a race in Turkey but we won't throw him in at the deep end.
"That will have been great for his confidence."
Connections of Telescope felt their colt had not shown his best on the day,.
Harry Herbert, racing manager for owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, said: "Ryan said he felt a bit lethargic today.
"There was no gear change, he just stayed on. He lacked the zip that he shows us in a morning.
"When you look at this horse, you can see that he's still changing and is not the finished article.
"He hasn't run a bad race but when you come here with his reputation, it was always going to be difficult if he got beat.
"We'll possibly see about stepping him up in trip but we will just let the dust settle. He could have just had an off day.
"We will regroup, but with this horse we are always thinking of next year."