Cirrus Des Aigles had to settle for second place as he made his seasonal bow in the Prix Meydan Hotel on the new all-weather track at Chantilly.
Winner of the Champion Stakes last term, trainer Corine Barande-Barbe is eager to send the six-year-old to the Dubai World Cup meeting for one of the valuable turf races at the end of this month.
However, Cirrus Des Aigles did not show quite his usual sparkle in the hands of Christophe Soumillon as he had to settle for second, two lengths adrift of the Olivier Peslier-ridden Zazou.
Stan James left Cirrus Des Aigles unchanged at 6-1 for the Dubai World Cup following his defeat while they have introduced Zazou at 10-1 for the same race.
"On his last two starts, Zazou won a Group One in Italy and ran an excellent third in the Hong Kong Cup in December so his win today was not as surprising as it may have appeared, given he looks a horse on the upgrade," said spokesman Joseph Burke.