Cirrus Des Aigles could still race on Dubai World Cup night despite suffering defeat in his seasonal bow at Chantilly Racecourse yesterday.
The French gelding finished second to the Waldemar Hickst-trained Zazou, who sealed the 1,900-metre contest with a devastating burst of speed on the new artificial racing surface outside Paris.
Ridden by Frenchman Olivier Peslier, the five year old came from last place to overwhelm his four rivals in two minutes, 04.40secs, while Cirrus Des Aigles held on for second, two lengths back.
Corine Barande-Barbe, trainer of the runner-up, was phlegmatic afterwards and maintained that while the Dubai World Cup, run on Tapeta, was now out of the equation her gelding could still appear at Meydan Racecourse on March 31.
"I'm not disappointed, it was his comeback," she said. "He was less explosive off the surface than he is on grass, so if he's OK after the race we'll look at one of the two turf races in Dubai," she told The Racing Post.
Cirrus Des Aigles has been entered in the Dubai Sheema Classic over 2,410m and the Dubai Duty Free over 1,800m.
The six year old's effectiveness over both trips must be questionable, however, with nine of his 13 victories coming over the World Cup distance of 2,000m.
As for Zazou it was the second time in three months that he beat Cirrus Des Aigles, having finished two places ahead in third when the pair clashed in the Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin.
It was a poignant success for connections yesterday as Zazou's sire, Shamardal, won the French Derby at Chantilly in 2005. Zazou is entered for the world's richest race, as well as the Duty Free, and is trained in Germany by Hickst, who is a former jockey.