Victor Ludorum lost his unbeaten record at Longchamp on Monday after Pierre-Charles Boudot produced a fine front-running ride on the Henri-Alex Pantall-trained The Summit in the Group 3 Prix de Fontainebleau.
All eyes were on the Godolphin homebred, whose two-year-old season culminated in victory in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, as racing returned to France for the first time since mid-March following the coronavirus outbreak.
Keen in the early stages, Mickael Barzalona was unable to find cover on Victor Ludorum as The Summit dictated the race before pushing for home two furlongs out. The response from The Summit was immediate and he sealed victory by one and a quarter lengths.
Pantall said: “He has strengthened up over the winter and he ran very well on his comeback at Saint-Cloud when Pierre-Charles wasn’t too hard on him and he was only beaten a whisker. I knew he would come on for that.
“He is a very straightforward ride and I told Pierre-Charles to do what he felt was right. He relaxed out in the lead and did it very well.”
Bred by Sarl Jedburgh Stud, The Summit is by Haras d’Etreham’s Wootton Bassett and is out of the Acatenango mare Acola. He is a half-brother to the winning and Listed runner-up One One One.
Offered at the 2018 edition of Arqana’s October Yearling Sale, The Summit was sourced by bloodstock agent Paul Nataf for just €16,000.
While there was disappointment for Andre Fabre with Victor Ludorum, the trainer looks to have a promising filly on his hands in the shape of Group 3 Prix de la Grotte heroine Tropbeau.
The daughter of Showcasing, who is owned by Lady Bamford and was bred by Lord Margadale, had last been seen finishing an encouraging third behind Jessica Harrington’s highly regarded Millisle in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket in September.
Last year’s French Derby hero Sottsass was another who failed to sparkle on French racing’s return as he could only manage fourth behind Shaman in the Group 2 Prix d’Harcourt.
Having finished third behind Waldgeist and Enable in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on his final start of 2019, Sottsass looked to be travelling well turning for home on his comeback run, only for his challenge to falter when pressed by jockey Cristian Demuro.
Shaman, who was stepping up to a mile and a quarter for the first time, led from the outset and never looked in any danger as Way To Paris and Simona gave vain pursuit.
Partnered by Maxime Guyon, Shaman’s success was part of a treble on the day for the French jockey having also guided Batwan to success in the Group 3 Prix de Saint-Georges and scored on the Pia Brandt-trained Miss Extra in the Prix de Fleurus.
Elsewhere on Longchamp’s bumper card, the Listed Prix Maurice Zilber went the way of the Pascal Bary-trained Spinning Memories.