Alkaased, with an impressive move up the rail under Frankie Dettori, surprised Policy Maker and favored Bago in the $481,000 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (Fr-I) on Sunday.
The Luca Cumani-trained 5-year-old was hardly extended while overtaking the pacesetter Imago Mundi in mid-straight, winning by two lengths over multiple group II winner Policy Maker, who stayed on best while beating the Arc hero Bago for second by another two lengths. Australian star Elvstroem was just nipped for third.
The victory in the 1 1/2-mile fixture makes Alkaased one of the favorites for the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (Eng-I) July 23 at Newbury, but Cumani remained non-committed.
"We are already thinking about the Arc de Triomphe with a run before in the Prix Foy," the trainer told Racing Post
. "We will have to think about the King George now and I will be speaking with the owner but he is a horse that must have good or firmer ground to show his best."
Alkaasad ran second to Yeats in the Coronation Cup (Eng-I) at Epsom June 3. Yeats finished ninth Sunday.
Dettori noted, "Alkaased has always been a good horse in his own right and he's never had the credit he deserves. I was surprised that nobody really wanted the rail which gave us all the gaps we needed. Once we caught the leader I knew the race was over."
Bago, the 4-year-old son of Nashwan, is headed for Newbury, although there was some concern in the French champion's camp. Bago was beaten by Grey Swallow at The Curragh in the Tattersalls Gold Cup (Ire-I) on May 22 and was listless Sunday in his first try at 12 furlongs since winning the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) Oct. 3.
"He's seems fine after the race which he never really got into from the start. We were a little disappointed but he's still on target for the King George," said Niarchos family racing manager Alan Cooper.
Jockey Thierry Gillet added, "I was disappointed to be beaten in a truly run race and Bago wasn't the horse I know on this occasion."