Persian King saw off the raiding party to provide trainer Andre Fabre with a record seventh victory in the Prix du Moulin at ParisLongchamp.
A small but select field of six runners went to post for the Group One feature, with Charlie Appleby’s Pinatubo the 5-4 favourite to strike gold over a mile for the first time.
He was joined on the trip across the Channel by a trio of Irish challengers in the Ger Lyons-trained Irish 2,000 Guineas hero Siskin and last year’s one-two Circus Maximus and Romanised, trained by Aidan O’Brien and Ken Condon respectively.
Both Pinatubo and Siskin were none too keen to enter the starting stalls and ended up with plenty to do from an early stage as Circus Maximus and Ryan Moore set a strong gallop in front, with 6-1 chance Persian King his nearest pursuer.
Circus Maximus faltered early in the home straight, which left Persian King nicely clear of his rivals under Pierre-Charles Boudot – and that advantage may well have proved crucial.
Once asked to go about his business by James Doyle, Pinatubo displayed the rapid acceleration that was the hallmark of his brilliant juvenile campaign, but it was all too late, with Persian King still holding a clear lead at the line.
Circus Maximus boxed on to finish third, with Siskin fourth, the winner’s stablemate Victor Ludorum fifth and Romanised a long last.
Fabre said: “I don’t think it was because of strategy – the best horse on the day won.”
Considering future targets, Fabre added: “We have different options, one is the Champion Stakes at Ascot and another is the Arc. I think he can step back up in distance and we will see closer to the time which way we go.”
Pinatubo could now switch down to seven furlongs back at ParisLongchamp on Arc weekend, before heading to America.
Appleby told www.godolphin.com: “Pinatubo has run another solid race and seen the mile out.
“We will see how he comes out of the race and discuss it with connections, but I think the plan will be to come back to Longchamp for the Prix de la Foret and then hopefully on to the Breeders’ Cup Mile.”