French racing season heating up

Once the dust has settled on a massive weekend of Australian racing, attention will squarely turn to France. The French galloping season is starting to heat up and OTI have runners engaged in stakes races at Chantilly (Sunday) and Maison-Laffitte (Monday).

Prinz Hlodowig made a tremendous impression in just four starts throughout his two-year-old season. Trained by Mikel Delzangles, the son of Rajsaman broke his maiden impressively at his second outing before a narrow, fast-finishing second in the Group 3 Prix De Conde at Chantilly. At his fourth, and last run before a winter break, he stepped up to Group 1 level in the Criterium De Saint Cloud and was far from disgraced when 6th.

Now a three-year-old, will have his first start of the season in Sunday night’s Prix De Force over 1800M at Chantilly. Traditionally run at Longchamp over 2000M, the race has shifted distance and tracks this year owing to renovations.

The Prix De Force is seen as a key lead-up race to the French Derby. OTI have a good association with the race having won it in 2014 with the subsequent Mackinnon Stakes winner, Gailo Chop.

Sunday’s race (Race 5 at 12.30AM AEST) is seen as a stepping stone toward the Derby in early-June and Delzangles is very happy with how Prinz Hlodowig is working ahead of his resumption. The Prix De Force has again attracted a strong field that will give a good guide as to where this horse sits amongst better quality 3YO’s in France.

At Maison-Laffitte on Monday OTI will saddle up two runners in the Listed Prix Jacques Laffitte over 1800M. Interestingly, the race is conducted on a straight track, one of the longest in Europe.

Le Juge is a 4YO son of Dansili having his second start of the season. Trained by Andre Fabre, he resumed on the all-weather track at Chantilly and got back to a conspicuous last early before rattling to the line. That run should bring Le Juge on in condition and a most competitive run is expected.

Instant De Reve is a recent OTI acquisition trained by Corrine Barbe at Chantilly. Barbe is most noted for having trained the champion galloper, Cirrus Des Aigles, and OTI are delighted to have this horse in her care.

Instant De Reve has been given a short break to recover from a slight issue sustained in the run at Cagnes-Sur-Mer. Barbe reports the horse is in terrific order ahead of Monday’s race and he should acquit himself very well.

It’s an exciting time for OTI and its many partners currently racing horses in France as the countdown to the major mid-year races continues. Wish wish all owners the very best of luck with the trio of runners.