Of all the surprises that this strange Flat season has produced so far, the idea that the seven-year-old 'stayer' Way To Paris would be sent off favourite for the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud might take pretty high rank.
But such has been the form of Way To Paris that he not only deserved the respect of punters but then proceeded to win in the manner his odds suggested.
Waited with by Pierre-Charles Boudot on a day that plenty of front-runners were not for catching, Way To Paris ran down a pair of decent international yardsticks in Nagano Gold and Ziyad, while the Charlie Appleby-trained Old Persian faded to be last of the five runners.
"I have so much confidence in this horse, when he's in good form he can beat anything," said trainer Andrea Marcialis, who was tasting Group 1 success for the first time. "He is quite particular and if he's not in form he could easily be fifth in a Listed race. Even in winning a Group 1 he saves a little for himself, like many good horses.
"He has run three times in thirty days and that's not easy. He'll have a break now and if he is still in good form come the autumn, the Arc will be the aim."
Paddy Power gave Way To Paris a 40-1 quote for the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, a race he did not contest last year in favour of the Prix du Cadran over two and a half miles.
Since the first day of the delayed season the son of Champs Elysees has been kept busy in the best company, finishing second in the Prix d'Harcourt before running away with the rerouted Grand Prix de Chantilly at Deauville.
Just a fortnight ago he pushed Sottsass all the way in the Prix Ganay over an extended mile and a quarter, a result unthinkable when he was running over almost twice that trip last autumn.
Marcialis also paid tribute to the jockeys who have got the best out of his "complicated" stable star.
"He needs a jockey who understands him and Cristian Demuro did a good job with him. I knew he had Sottsass so he wouldn't be available all the time. Pierre-Charles is excellent on him too."
While Way To Paris has been busy, Nagano Gold ran a fine race on his first start since last season's Arc and was only denied by a neck.
Ziyad led deep into the final furlong and was a further head away in third, having gone down by a short neck to Coronet in this race 12 months ago.
"It's a relief because he was sick when he ran at Deauville and was 10 lengths behind [Way To Paris]," said Carlos Laffon-Parias. "The horses are beginning to come back into form but you don't really know until you get them to the track."
There can be no Arc for the gelded Ziyad.
Laffon-Parias said: "In principle he will go back to Deauville and then he will be on his travels again."
At seven years-old, and on his 26th start, popular grey Way To Paris finally achieved that elusive Group 1 win, with @PCBOUDOT guiding @teammarcialis's charge to glory in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud...— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) June 28, 2020