Siskin will take on Pinatubo in a “mouthwatering clash” for the Prix du Moulin at ParisLongchamp on Sunday.
Winner of the Irish 2,000 Guineas in early June, the Ger Lyons-trained Siskin has since lost his unbeaten record in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, but was far from disgraced in finishing third behind the now-retired Mohaather and crack older miler Circus Maximus.
Lyons was initially lukewarm on the idea of a trip to France for his stable star, but the prospect of drying ground in Paris has prompted a rethink and he is now set to take on the Aidan O’Brien-trained Circus Maximus again, as well as Charlie Appleby’s Pinatubo.
“This wasn’t our first option. In my head I was always worried about the ground in France being too soft, but the nearer we got to the race the more we realised we had a chance of getting nice ground,” Lyons told Sky Sports Racing.
“Thankfully he’s in good order. He’s done his last piece of work and we’re happy with him.”
Pinatubo was unbeaten in six starts during a stellar juvenile campaign – and while he was beaten in both the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and the St James’s Palace at Royal Ascot, he opened his three-year-old account in the Prix Jean Prat at Deauville in July.
Circus Maximus and Ken Condon’s Romanised are primed to join Siskin on the trip from Ireland, with the Andre Fabre-trained pair of Persian King and Victor Ludorum the two French-trained contenders ahead of Friday’s final declaration stage.
“There’s six runners declared and at this moment in time you’d be very happy that you’re one of the six,” Lyons added.
“It throws up a mouthwatering clash with another three-year-old in Pinatubo – it’s good to be in the position to take up a race like this.”
Following a change to Irish protocols in place to combat Covid-19, Colin Keane is set to travel to France for the ride without having to quarantine for two weeks on his return to his homeland, which he had to do after riding Siskin at Goodwood.
“Colin rides him. The restrictions have been lifted as of last night,” Lyons confirmed.
“Our jockeys can now ride in Group Ones, and he’ll take a test going out (to France) and take a test when he comes back, and he’ll be allowed to ride when he comes back – with the (Irish) Champions Weekend ahead.
“That’s been confirmed, so thankfully – no disrespect to any other jockey who was going to ride him – but I’m a huge fan of Colin, and I like having my own team around me.
“It just happened literally last night. Thanks to Brian Kavanagh (Horse Racing Ireland chief executive) – he worked his socks off recently.
“I think it was in conjunction with the international soccer matches that are happening this weekend.
“We always maintained that our jockeys are elite athletes as well, and there was no reason for them not to be able to go in and out – subject to tests being clear.”
Condon had booked veteran French jockey Olivier Peslier to partner Romanised, but Billy Lee will now travel for the ride following the change to quarantine restrictions.
“Billy is going to ride him and he’s very much looking forward to it,” said Condon.
“We had a super-sub lined up in Olivier Peslier, who obviously knows Longchamp like the back of his hand and has been a world-class rider for a long time and still is.
“But Billy obviously knows the horse inside out and this stage and it’s good for continuity that he is able to ride him.”