Dubai: Dubai-owned Godolphin stable are set to be a major presence as flat racing resumes in France on Monday (May 11) with a cracking card featuring four Group contests.
Unbeaten Emirates Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2,000 Guineas) favourite Victor Ludorum makes his highly anticipated seasonal bow in the Group 3 Prix De Fontainebleau, a highly reputed prep for the aforementioned race.
The Godolphin colt will also bid to win a third Poule d’Essai des Poulains for the stable following victories by Wootton in 2018 and Persian King last year.
A son of the late superstar stallion, Shamardal, Victor Ludrom is joined in the race by stable companion and no less a talent that Earthlight, the second favourite. Both colts represent French legend Andre Fabre whi has been the leading trainer in the race since 1952 with 10 wins.
Monday’s card will be the first race meeting on French soil since March 17 when the entire country went into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Victor Ludorum is a good hope for the Classic season,” Farbe said in the Racing Post. “He’s a very good-looking horse, a quality type with a beautiful action and I’m very fond of him.”
Commenting on the Godolphin colt’s position as Poulains favourite, Fabre said: “At this stage of the year, when nobody could run, why not? He won the Prix [Jean-Luc] Lagardere, he beat good French colts – it makes sense.”
Earthlight, who like Victor Ludorum is the unbeaten winner of the Prix Morny and Middle Park Stakes on the last two of his five starts at two, also figures prominently on betting for the English Classics at Newmarket.
“The plan was to give Earthlight a first run over seven furlongs and we’ll see what we’re going to do,” Fabre said.
“He’s done well but he was a precocious two-year-old and I want to see how he’s doing as a three-year-old – it’s always a bit of a concern.
“The 2,000 Guineas is an option for a horse of quality but we’ll have to discuss it with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and see how things are going in England.”
Fabre, 30-time champion trainer in France, said he was looking forward to the return of racing in France despite difficulties in regular training as a result of the coronavirus.
“It’s been good,” he said. “We could work normally, all the horses are ready to have their first race, France Galop has maintained the facilities really well so I’m happy.
“The horses look good and the extra month was not bad for young horses, it always tends to progress them a little bit.
Monday’s card at Longchamp also features the Group 3 Prix De Lal Grotte, a key trial for the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (French 1,000 Guineas) and the Group 2 Prix DHarcourt for older horses.
Godolphin’s Ghaiyyath won the latter last year. Arc third Sottsassin is the favourite this year.