With new dates set for the first four French Classics, beginning with the 2,000 Guineas and 1,000 Guineas in early June, here are a selection of those to watch for as racing resumes. With only a handful of French-trained two-year-olds making the top 40 European juveniles of 2019, they face a stiff task to be competitive, but they are always hard to beat on home soil.
Andre Fabre dominates the French representation amongst the top European two-year-olds from last year, indeed only Aidan O’Brien and Charlie Appleby had more juveniles in the top 40.
This Godolphin-owned son of Shamardal was unbeaten in five contests last season, beating the Mark Johnston-trained Raffle Prize on heavy ground in the Group 1 Prix Morny and adapting well to good ground when sent to Newmarket to contest the Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes in September.
He showed a good cruising speed and a good turn of foot at the business end to beat Golden Horde quite snugly by a neck. Only Pinatubo had a higher rating than Earthlight at the end of the season, albeit by 10lb, but despite never racing beyond 6f, he showed that a step up in trip should not bother him, and he should do well this season.
Another unbeaten son of the late Shamardal, this Godolphin-owned colt went three out of three last year. After winning a maiden at Longchamp and a conditions event at Chantilly, he was sent to Longchamp on Arc weekend to contest the Group 1 Prix Jean Luc Lagardere.
In a slowly-run race on ground that would not have been guaranteed to suit, he gradually picked up instead of quickening and ran to the line in beating Alson by three-quarters-of-a-length. Holes can be picked in the form and the race was very steadily run, but that and the ground were not guaranteed to suit him either, and he comes across as a horse that will keep improving as the season goes on.
This Showcasing filly won three of her five starts, seemed to progress as the season went on, and seems to handle most ground conditions.
She completed a hat-trick of successes in the Group 2 Prix du Calvados at Deauville in August over seven furlongs, before stepping up in class and back a furlong in trip for the Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket in September. A little outpaced early on, she gradually got into gear and was starting to run on strongly when she was stopped in her run inside the final furlong and that probably denied her second place behind winner Millisle. She will appreciate a mile and could be a very interesting participant in the good mile races for fillies this season.