Kompany strikes in Papin
Richard Hannon's crack juvenile Kool Kompany landed a narrow success in the Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte.
The two-year-old has now won five of his last six starts, with his only defeat coming at Royal Ascot when he was held up in the Coventry Stakes.
He already had a Listed and Group Two win to his name from successful forays to Ireland and obviously has no problem with travelling.
Jockey Richard Hughes could not grab the rail position he wanted as the speedy Goken showed more initial toe, but once he failed to put distance between himself and the Hannon horse, the Irishman looked more confident.
The 9/4 favourite hit the front inside the final furlong of the five and a half trip, and despite Lehaim challenging wide it was Charlie Hills' Strath Burn, having just his second ever run, who closed into second.
It was tight as they hit the winning line but the son of Jeremy just held on to record a half length victory.
The Prix Robert Papin has been won by such luminaries as Arazi (1991), Natagora (2007), Special Duty (2009) and Clive Cox's Reckless Abandon two years ago.
The decision to travel to France was made after a sparkling piece of work on Hannon's gallops on Wednesday morning, when Hughes felt Kool Kompany had improved physically since his win in the Railway Stakes at the Curragh.
He is another success story for owners Middleham Park Racing, who paid just £40,000 for the son of Jeremy.
Middleham racing manager Tim Palin explained the winner's options boil down to potentially two races from three, with a deserved crack at a Group One the plan.
"He's as tough as old boots and has talent to go with it," said Palin.
"Hughesie said that if Goken wanted to go on he would let him and it looks like as he was so determined to make it he's gone too fast and not got home over the extra distance.
"He also said that he'd have no trouble staying seven so we should be thinking of the National Stakes.
"I can't think of another dual Group Two-winning juvenile so he's leading the way again for us in Europe after Toormore did last year.
"The obvious route is Group One now, so there's the Morny, the Phoenix Stakes, which he'd need to be supplemented for, or the National Stakes. We can supplement with his winnings.
"We said we'd give him a break after his last win, yet 22 days later he's won another Group Two. He looked as well as he ever has today.
"The drop in trip nearly caught him out. Richard jnr thinks we've probably got the beating of the Irish horses so going back there is a strong possibility, although Cappella Sansevero could bounce back and you never know what Aidan O'Brien has got up his sleeve."