Races have been suspended since March 17 amid the coronavirus pandemic, but after a few days of tense discussions with government officials, the final green light to resume has been officially obtained.
Four group events highlight the map of 10 races – with a lot of attention around the reappearance of André Fabre training Victor Ludorum in the Prix de Fontainebleu, in front of its main objective at the start of the season which will probably be the French Derby.
The foal belonging to Godolphin holds an unbeaten record of three races in the Group Three competition and was last seen winning the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère on this mile from ParisLongchamp in October.
Godolphin French representative Lisa-Jane Graffard told www.godolphin.com: “André Fabre is happy with Victor Ludorum and he has done really well in the past six weeks.
“There will be no hiding places this year, each race will be competitive, but it is a pleasure to be able to participate with a horse of its quality.
“This is the starting point for the year and we will know more about future plans later.”
Among the opposition to Victor Ludorum is the Carlos Laffon-Parias-driven Writer and Jean-Claude Rouget Helter Skelter, respectively fourth and fifth at Lagardère.
Les Rouget trained Sottsass is the flagship attraction of the Deux Prix d’Harcourt Group.
Foal Siyouni had a superb 2019 campaign, upsetting Persian King in the French Derby before winning the Prix Niel and finishing third ahead of Waldgeist and Enable in the Arc.
Shaman (Laffon-Parias) and Soudania (Freddy Head) promise to give the Rouget runner something to think about, as does the Syrtis, formed by Fabre and belonging to Godolphin, who is back on a trip after a race of more than six and a half years. all weather in Chantilly in March.
Graffard said: “Syrtis has the advantage of running this year, although it has been over two months now, on the all-weather at Chantilly. He ran well on his two previous starts at Longchamp, including a second in the Prix Noailles last year, and there have always been question marks about his best trip.
“He faces the best of three years of 2019 at Sottsass, who is clearly ahead of everything else here, but it is an interesting and competitive race for the rankings.
“It’s great to see that Sottsass hasn’t scared off too much opposition, as it’s important for racing fans to start getting a line in shape from last year and how the different generations stack up .
“I hope this will provide useful information for the rest of the season. “
A first-rate renewal of the Group Three Cave Prize sees a confrontation between Tropbeau and Khayzaraan.
Tropbeau de Fabre brings solid references to the table after his third Millisle and Raffle awards in the Cheveley Park Stakes in Newmarket, while Khayzaraan, trained by Freddy Head, created a real buzz by winning the last two of his three juvenile starts.
Kingman filly wears the colors of Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, whose race director Angus Gold said: “She is a potentially exciting filly and she flourished physically during the winter.
“She has really changed. We brought her back to Shadwell for a while during the break and she really lay down and strengthened.
“Among other things, we are against the filly Fabre and obviously she is a very good filly, but this filly looked rather exciting at the end of last year. We were hoping to make her run in a good run, but she just hit a joint and we couldn’t.
“She is going to need it because she has not run since September and I hope she will not be too enthusiastic because she can be a little bit, but I think she is potentially a high class filly. “
Head raised a slight question of endurance, Khayzaraan Tantheem’s sister being a winning Group sprinter.
Gold continued: “Even though she was from Teofilo, she was a sprinter, so there is a lot of speed in the pedigree, but she (Khayzaraan) has won twice a mile, as long as she settles and behaves, it will certainly stay the mile.
“It is potentially very exciting and if it proves that (1000 French Guineas) is what we would like to do. No one really knows where their horses are in physical fitness and so on, so let’s start again. “
The first race of the day is the Prix de Saint-Georges from Group Three, which features Gold Vibe by Pascal Bary, who was the first rider trained in France at home during the Prix de l’Abbaye last season.