With the first week of French racing now coming to an end, David Jennings picks out three eyecatchers which are worth tracking over the coming weeks and months.
Ocean Atlantique (Andre Fabre)
Although he was unable to deal with Pao Alto in the Prix la Force at Longchamp on Thursday, Ocean Atlantique struck me as the most likely winner of the French Derby, the Prix du Jockey Club, next month. He is as big as 10-1 for that and those odds certainly underestimate his prospects.
Victor Ludorum is favourite for the race, but I thought there was more promise shown by Ocean Atlantique who looked badly in need of his first run since last October. It is worth noting that the Fabre runners have all looked undercooked over the last week, which is completely understandable.
Despite being the first to come under pressure early in the home straight on Thursday, Ocean Atlantique kept finding and was only beaten a length and a half at the line. He is already crying out for a stiffer test of stamina, so the Prix du Jockey Club looks sure to play to his strengths.
Queen (Mme Pia Brandt)
Grand Glory was a decisive winner of the Listed Prix Zarkava at Longchamp on Thursday, but it would be foolish to write off the fourth-placed Queen for the rest of the season.
After coming out of stall one, she was trapped on the inside when the race began in earnest and, by the time daylight appeared, Grand Glory already had the race sewn up. Theo Bachelot was not hard on Queen and she stayed on nicely to be beaten five lengths.
It was Queen’s first outing since October, and she looks the type to improve considerably for the blowout. She can make a name for herself in Group races over 1m2f once again this season.
San Fabrizio (Fabrice Chappet)
The Prix Pimpim at Lyon Parilly on Friday saw a dominant front-running display from San Fabrizio, whose long stride gobbled up the home straight.
Pierre-Charles Boudot took up the running early, knowing he was a stout stayer over a mile, and the further he went the better he looked. He had two and a half lengths to spare over French Aseel at the line. It could have been more.
The son of Siyouni ought to relish the step up to 1m2f later in the season and might even get 1m4f too. Keep an eye out for where he appears next. He is a Group horse in the making for sure.
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