Monday, 11th May 2020
Tropbeau cemented her status as favourite for the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches with victory in the Group 3 Prix de la Grotte on French Guineas Trials Day at Longchamp.
On an otherwise difficult day for trainer Andre Fabre, Lady Bamford’s filly raced prominently and tracked the leaders through the first three-quarters of the mile contest.
When asked by jockey Mickael Barzalona, Tropbeau kept on well and only needed riding out for a half-length victory over Dream And Do.
That pair are now the first two in the betting for the Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas). Fabre stable companion Tickle Me Green was a further head behind in third on very soft going in Paris.
Freddy Head and Hamdam Al Maktoum’s Khayzaraan was the big disappointment of the race. She set an early pace but couldn’t keep it up after impressive victories in minor contests.
Tropbeau is now a best-price 2/1 for the Pouliches with Dream And Do trading at around 7/1 with most bookmakers. Tickle Me Green is 8/1 for the French 1000 Guineas with double figure prices for the remainder.
Fabre’s main fancy on this Longchamp card was the unbeaten Victor Ludroum, but he ran a poor race in the Group 3 Prix de Fontainebleau. A previous Group 1 winner at the end of his juvenile campaign, the Godolphin colt ran third when sent off odds-on after pulling hard at times.
Victory went to 28/1 chance The Summit under an enterprising, front-running ride from Pierre-Charles Boudot. Ecrivain reversed previous course and distance form with Victor Ludorum and came second.
Earthlight, who missed French Guineas Trials Day with a minor setback, remains the bookies’ favourite for the Poule d’Essai des Poulians on 1 June at a top-price 4/1.
Victor Ludorum could come on for that run, however, and is 9/2 best to take the French 2000 Guineas. The Summit earns a 10/1 quote for that Classic contest.
These trials were just three weeks before the French Guineas themselves take place at Longchamp. There are still other races to come between now and then that could provide punters with Classic clues.
In the feature contest, the 1m 2f Group 2 Prix d’Harcourt for older horses, Shaman turned over odds-on favourite and old rival Sottsass after making most of the running.
Carlos Laffon-Parais’s charge goes well fresh and proved that again here on his try over the trip. That is in stark contrast to last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe third Sottsass who has needed his first run in each of the last two seasons.
That didn’t stop bookmakers siding with Prix du Jockey Club hero Sottsass, however, but he could only finish fourth and beaten a couple of lengths.
There is definitely more to come from the French Derby winner, but this day belonged to Shaman. Thorough stayer Way To Paris, running over way short of his optimum trip, was second with in-form filly Simona in third.
Whether Shaman can now develop into a Champions Stakes type horse remains to be seen. Sottsass is now out to 25/1 for the Arc.