Friday, 29th May 2020
The French 2000 Guineas is one of two Group 1 Classics at Deauville on Monday (14:50) with Ecrivain worth chancing.
Although the Andre Fabre yard has a strong hand in this three-year-olds only mile contest, the Wertheimer Brothers send this Lope De Vega colt in search of glory.
Trained by Carlos Laffon Parias, Ecrivain is a course winner who followed-up with Group 3 success at Longchamp last season. His juvenile campaign ended with a far from disgraced length fourth to Victor Ludorum.
Ecrivain has since reversed that form when staying on into second in the Group 3 Prix de Fontainebleau on reappearance. He and other rivals gave the runaway winner, The Summit, too much rope.
It won’t be allowed to happen again. There is only 1 3/4 lengths for Ecrivain to find on that form, and the French 2000 Guineas should be run on a sounder surface.
That should suit him based on his two wins. The Summit, meanwhile, has to back up what he did in the Fontainebleau. Siding with Ecrivain, who has been pretty consistent throughout his four previous races, makes sense.
Fabre has trained seven previous winners of the French 2000 Guineas and is triple-handed in his bid to enhance that record. Victor Ludorum remains favourite with bookmakers despite defeat in the Fontainebleau.
That gives the Godolphin owned colt something to prove. On previous form, Victor Ludorum went three races unbeaten in his juvenile campaign.
They included rapid progress and a classy victory in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Arc weekend. If turning up in the same shape as that ready success, then this son of Shamardal will take some beating.
There is doubt, however. Victor Ludorum didn’t pick up as expected in the Fontainebleau. Fabre’s yard wasn’t in great form at the time, but has since turned the corner.
Victor Ludorum may also have needed the run after 218 days off the track. It’s also not about winning Classic trials, but landing the French 2000 Guineas itself.
As defeat in the Fontainebleau may just have been a blip, Victor Ludorum could be well worth forgiving that run given connections. He is feared and opposed on price alone.
Fabre now has Alson – runner-up to Victor Ludorum on Arc weekend last season – in his string. There is both speed and stamina in this colt’s pedigree, so that makes him an obvious each-way candidate.
Although headed 100 yards from the line, Alson kept on to make sure of second in the Lagardere. He has since confirmed form in a match with the third home, Armory, in the Group 1 Criterium International.
Alson destroyed the Irish raider by 20 lengths, but something was clearly amiss with his old rival. The fact he has joined Fabre, however, suggests big things are expected.
This French 2000 Guineas renewal may be more open than the betting suggests. Alson appeals for a place while you can get your money back, but – if shortened up by the bookies – punters may need to look elsewhere.
The third Fabre horse, Arapaho is unexposed in this company, so could be anything. Also by Lope De Vega, this colt is three wins from four previous starts.
Arapaho has never tried the mile trip of the French 2000 Guineas, so has stamina to prove. Jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot continues to ride his mounts well, however.
Of those at bigger odds, Kenway was denied a clear run when fourth in the Fontainebleau. He stayed on for trainer Frederic Rossi in the final furlong, but all chance had gone.
Previous form suggests Kenway has something to find with Victor Ludorum, Alson and Ecrivain, but he took a couple of runs to win last term.
A mile on good-to-soft ground may suit him. Kenway is one to consider outrunning his odds and maybe sneaking a place if one or other of the market principals don’t deliver.