Aidan O'BRIEN saddles three runners in his quest for an elusive Prix du Jockey Club victory tomorrow, with Ryan Moore unexpectedly declared to partner Cape Clear Island instead of Highland Reel.
Highland Reel was slightly disappointing in the French 2,000 Guineas at Longchamp, but he kept going to be sixth, so the step up to 10 furlongs for tomorrow's Group One has been generally expected to help his cause.
However, once Moore was confirmed for Cape Clear Island, the Galileo colt eased in the betting for the French equivalent of the Derby to 10/1 from as low as 6/1, with Cape Clear Island trimmed into 7/1 from 10/1.
Tomorrow, Cape Clear Island sports first-time blinkers, which, combined with the best draw of the Ballydoyle trio in stall seven, might have persuaded Moore to plump for him.
Joseph O'Brien falls in for the plum mount on Highland Reel, while Colm O'Donoghue is on War Envoy (40/1).
Andre Fabre's Poule d'Essai des Poulains runner-up New Bay is vying for favouritism with Alain de Royer-Dupre's hat-trick-seeking Karakter.
The 14-runner affair is as competitive as ever - a point with which O'Brien is all too familiar, given that Super Pistachio's 2009 third constitutes his best result.
Indeed, despite saddling 35 Group One winners in France, Chantilly has yet to contribute to his tally.
O'Brien isn't the only Irish handler chasing a breakthrough Classic victory tomorrow.
The Group Two German 1,000 Guineas is of an admittedly less prestigious variety, but Michael O'Callaghan knows the importance of placing his horses to good effect.
In the 3.40 at Dusseldorf, he will saddle Letters Of Note, which has been purchased by the Pearl Bloodstock arm of the influential Qatar Racing firm since last being seen winning at Dundalk in January.
Oisin Murphy, who secured his first Classic in the colts' edition on his employer's Karpino at Cologne on Monday, is booked to ride for his fellow Co Kerry native.
Curragh-based O'Callaghan, one of a number of ambitious young Irish practitioners making an impact in the game, lost his highly-regarded colt State Of Emergency at headquarters last weekend, so it would be a timely fillip should Letters Of Note show well.
Relative to O'Callaghan, we'll have to respectively refrain from referring to Ger Lyons as young, but he remains one of the sport's most ambitious handlers.
Disrupting the establishment here is no simple task, but Lyons was the first Irish handler to train for Sheikh Fahad Al Thani's Qatar and Pearl operations, and last year his Cappella Sansevero transferred to their ownership for a princely sum of £1.3m.
The English and German Guineas didn't go well for him, but Lyons says he will now drop him in class for the Ballycorus Stakes at Leopardstown. He also had an update on his Irish 2,000 Guineas runner-up Endless Drama.
"He came home grand," Lyons said of Cappella Sansevero. "It was a non-event and it was a long way to go to do that. He got wiped out at the start.
"That's two wipe-outs now so my plan is to drop back to the Ballycorus and try to get a win into him.
"Endless Drama was very tired after his run and gave his all. The St James's Palace is the obvious target, but if I'm not happy with him he won't go anywhere and he won't run on fast ground."
Lyons' Co Meath neighbour Eddie Lynam also issued an upbeat bulletin on Sole Power, which will bid for a hat-trick of wins in the King's Stand Stakes at the royal meeting following his reappearance defeat on Saturday.
"Richard (Hughes) was happy with him and we'll try to make history in trying to win the King's Stand for a third time," Lynam declared. "He's in very good form and we're keen to go."
Also on course for an unprecedented Group One treble is Treve, after the dual Arc heroine got her campaign under way with a facile Group Two triumph at Saint-Cloud yesterday. She is now as low as 5/2 to again triumph at Longchamp in the autumn.