Paco Boy is set to head to France for Sunday’s Prix du Moulin rather than tackle the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock 24 hours earlier.
Trainer Richard Hannon had been toying with the two options for the five-year-old, who has proved capable over sprint trips as well as a mile.
However, the Wiltshire handler has opted to stay at a mile rather than drop back to six furlongs at the Merseyside track.
“We have weighed up the options and, while we don’t have to declare until tomorrow, it now looks almost certain that we are going to give the Sprint Cup a miss and wait for the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp,” said Hannon.
“I have always favoured France, but I have spoken to part-owner Derek Lucy-Smith and he agrees the Moulin is probably the right race for him.
“My worry about Haydock is that it could develop into a messy race as there will be a big field and they will most certainly split into two groups, so if you are drawn in the wrong place you could be in trouble.
“They will also go off very fast and while Richard Hughes makes the point that Paco Boy was quick enough to finish best of all in the July Cup at Newmarket last year, Equiano and Starspangledbanner are likely to go five-furlong pace at Haydock and we won’t be able to ride a race on our fellow.
“In contrast, there will be a single figure field for the Moulin. There is no Goldikova and while Makfi could run, the ground will be vastly different to the very soft conditions he revelled in when beating us in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville, so we must have a chance of turning that form around.
“Paco Boy finished a close third to Goldikova in the Moulin two years ago, and there is no doubt that he is a much better horse now, so we have to go there feeling upbeat,” he told www.richardhannonracing.tv.
One horse who is on course for the Haydock Group One is the Michael Stoute-trained Kingsgate Native.
The five-year-old won the Temple Stakes at the Merseyside track back in May but needs to bounce back to form after disappointing in the Nunthorpe at York.
Chris Richardson, managing director of the owners Cheveley Park Stud, said: “I think the plan is for him to go to Haydock and he has been in good form since York.
“We were obviously a bit disappointed with him there, but the race wasn’t really run to suit.
“They just went a bit too quick for him but he wasn’t given a hard time and came out of the race well, so we just hope that he gets a bit of luck in running next time.
“We’re certainly hoping for a better performance. The ground should be right for him, he’s won at Haydock this year and I think nowadays six furlongs is more his ideal trip than five.
“We’ll just have to see how he gets on.”