After a short break, we’re back as France returns with a cracking card at Longchamp on Monday. Plenty of huge names, including Christophe Soumillon, Mickael Barzalona, Andre Fabre and Jean -Claude Rouget are all in action and here are our top French Racing Tips
SESTILIO JET (5f Group 3, 9.55 Longchamp)
The first five home in this race last year reappear and it’s worth backing Sestilio Jet to confirm that form this time around. He was ridden to victory by Frankie Dettori last year and a quick glance at the video reveals he clearly won on merit.
He went on to finish second at Group 2 level before getting no luck in running when fourth behind the Kevin Ryan-trained Glass Slippers in the Group 3 Petit Couvert in September.
A review of the Prix de L’Abbaye on Arc weekend, when he finished eighth, reveals an interesting Dettori ride, with the horse pulled back to last before being switched to the inside. That run can be upgraded and he looks good value to record a repeat success.
HELTER SKELTER (1m Group 3, 11.55 Longchamp)
The Andre Fabre-trained Victor Ludorum finished his juvenile season unbeaten and has a Group 1 win in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagadere under his belt. He is available to back at 20/1 for the 2,000 Guineas but he could struggle to confirm Lagadere form with the exciting Helter Skelter.
He was not given the best ride by Japanese jockey Yutaka Take (we’re sure we’ve heard that sentence before) on Arc weekend and was caught out when the pace quickened late on,, but he stayed on strongly and was doing all his best work in the closing stages.
Available to back at 11/2, Helter Skelter looks a cracking each-way bet against the likely odds-on favourite
QUIET TIMES (1m Group 3, 12.25 Longchamp)
Some really useful fillies are set to take each other on in this Prix de la Grotte with Tropbeau likely to head the market after landing Group 3 and Group 2 contests before having no luck in running when third in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket in September.
However, there are some stamina doubts over her and she is being challenged for favouritism by the Freddy Head-trained Khayzaraan, who looked seriously impressive in two wins at the backend of last season. She is worth following, especially given her outstanding pedigree.
At a bigger price, though, it could be worth chancing Quiet Times to outrun her double-figure price. She put in a storming late run on only her third start to win a Listed race at Chantilly last time. She deserves to take her chance and should backed each-way.
SHAMAN (1m2f Group 2, 1.05 Longchamp)
Charlie Appleby, Roger Charlton and Ralph Beckett have all landed the Group 2 Prix Hocquart in the last five years so French trainers are probably quite happy to have this race all to themselves with travel restrictions in place due to the coronavirus.
With the race contested by to just French-based runners, Sottsass will be long odds-on favourite to win this on his first start since finishing third in last year’s Arc. The French Derby winner is clearly the best horse in this race, but he could well be worth taking on, especially as he’s tasted defeat on his seasonal bow in the last two seasons.
Last year he finished fifth in his comeback run behind Shaman and that colt could again take advantage if Sottsass disappoints on his return. Shaman has run some fine races to finish second in the French Guineas, fifth in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and runner-up in the Group 1 Prix Jacques Le Marois last season.
He is a cracking each-way bet at around 5/1 bet and could even scoop the lot if the favourite underperforms.
ALZIRE (7f Listed, 1.35 Longchamp)
The last Pattern race of the day at Longchamp can go to the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Alzire, who beat the James Fanshawe-trained Audarya at this level at Saint-Cloud in September.
She got first run on that occasion and had previously pulled too hard and got no luck in when finishing fourth at Group 3 level over 1m2f in June. Lightly raced, this four-year-old is open to plenty of improvement and can take this before resuming her efforts at Group level.