The resumption of racing in France has only been going a matter of days so it is premature to making hard and fast conclusions. However, with 2 winners from 25 runners during the last four days, it is reasonable to suggest Andre Fabre's string haven't struck fever pitch thus far. Despite only finishing runner-up on his reappearance in the Group 3 Prix La Force at Longchamp on Thursday, the lightly raced Ocean Atlantique looks a colt with a bright future. A son of American Pharoah, who cost €1,100,000, he travelled strongly but had to sit and suffer for a few strides while the winner Pao Alto got first run on the outside and built up a substantial advantage. Once in the clear, he stayed on well but was denied by a length and a half. It is worth recalling the last two winners of the Prix du Jockey Club, namely Study of Man (2nd) and Sottsass (5th), were both beaten in the nine furlongs event before going on to Classic glory at Chantilly. Ocean Atlantique pulled three lengths clear of the third and will be a different proposition over an extra furlong. Indeed, I suspect he will stay a mile and a half, if necessary, and I would be confident of him turning the tables on the Christophe Ferland trained winner.
Simeen looked a smart filly for Jean-Claude Rouget at Chantilly on Wednesday and stablemate Raabihah looked of a similar ilk in the Listed event which opened the card at Longchamp twenty four hours later. A daughter of Sea The Stars, she had won on her debut on the all-weather at Cagnes-Sur-Mer in January. Stepped up in class here, she galloped on powerfully inside the final furlong to win hard held by four lengths. Her trainer suggested afterwards that the Prix de Diane (5th July) is her main target, although she will have one more race beforehand, possibly the Group 1 Saint-Alary at Longchamp (14th June). Rouget also passed on news regarding his stable star Sottsass, who only finished fourth in the Group 3 Prix d'Harcourt at Longchamp on Monday. He remains on course for the Group 1 Prix Ganay (14th June) at the same track.
All orders received the last twenty four hours for Ahead On The Flat have been posted out. The BHA announced provisional plans for a scheduled start in early June, which includes a tremendous line up of races at Newmarket. More on that tomorrow. In the meantime, please head to the Publications section of site to order your copy of AOTF.
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