Five aces sitting in the pack for France’s glittering comeback on Monday

French racing is back with a bang on Monday at Longchamp, with a host of high-class operators set to advertise their credentials for the season ahead across four Group races.

Here I’ve picked out five of the standout names that could be on show…

Prix d’Harcourt

Last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe was all about Waldgeist lowering the gallant Enable’s colours, but don’t forget about the tremendous effort from French Derby scorer Sottsass in third, considering the testing ground blunted his finishing kick.

Jean-Claude Rouget’s top-notch four-year-old looks set to make his seasonal debut in the Prix d’Harcourt, won last year by the ultra-talented Ghaiyyath, and surely will take all the beating if sharp enough first time up.

Prix d’Harcourt

The biggest danger to Sottsass could well be Carlos Laffon-Parias’s gritty French 2,000 Guineas and Prix Jacques le Marois runner-up Shaman.

Last seen finishing third in the Prix Daniel Wildenstein, the son of Shamardal was generally campaigned over a mile last season but looks as though he should be suited to the extra couple of furlongs.

Victor Ludorum
Prix de Fontainebleau

One of the most exciting three-year-olds in Europe, Andre Fabre’s unbeaten Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere hero looks poised to make his seasonal reappearance in the race won by the same trainer’s Persian King 12 months ago.

With star stablemate Earthlight reported to be on the easy list after spraining a fetlock on Tuesday, expect Victor Ludorum to step forward and grab Monday’s headlines by becoming Fabre’s 11th Prix de Fontainebleau winner.

Prix de la Grotte

It would be intriguing to see Andre Fabre take the wraps off his Group 2/Group 3 winner in the Prix de la Grotte, with the race last year won by subsequent French 1,000 Guineas scorer Castle Lady.

Tropbeau impressed in winning three consecutive starts before finishing an admirable third to Millisle and Raffle Prize in the Cheveley Park Stakes last season and now looks set to make her first start over a mile, which is very much an unknown for the daughter of Showcasing.

Prix de la Grotte

In contrast to her main challenger Tropbeau, there are no stamina concerns for exciting Kingman filly Khayzaraan, who couldn’t have won more impressively on her last two starts of 2019 at Deauville and Chantilly.

Monday’s Prix de la Grotte is undoubtedly the biggest test that Freddy Head’s filly has faced yet, but she has all the credentials to be a genuine Group class performer this season at the very least.

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