Always a force to be reckoned with, the French arm of the Godolphin operation had a memorable 2020 in spite of the disruption brought about by the pandemic, winning both Guineas with Castle Lady and Victor Ludorum, as well as two Group Ones with Persian King.
Speaking to Race Sharp on the eve of the Meydan Trials card at Chantilly, Godolphin’s France representative Lisa-Jane Graffard kindly profiled some of the leading older horses in the care of the maestro Andre Fabre for our readers.
Her words have been paraphrased.
Magny Cours (6yo gelding)
Raised a few eyebrows beating Persian King in a Listed last June, he then built on that by winning the Listed Gala Stakes at Sandown Park over a mile in July, with Aspetar and Fox Chairman going on to frank the form in the Group Two York Stakes.
Not seen since, he had a long break so will not necessarily be at concert pitch for the Prix Darshaan tomorrow. He unfortunately suffered a recurrence of an old injury last August, so was given plenty of time off. He came back into training in December and may not be as ready for this race as he has been for past reappearances.
He has been invited to run in the Dubai Turf and that would be where Andre would love to run him if he comes through tomorrow ok.
He has so much in hand on ratings, but this meeting can throw up funny results. Sometimes the races are won more by those on a good run of early season form, rather than the top rated.
Everyone has done a great job looking after him and he’s become a real old favourite. He really is a proper Group performer, so it’s been a bit frustrating as he hasn’t really had the opportunities to show it.
As an aside, the local newspaper from Nevers, home to the Magny Cours motor racing track, follow him and quite often tweet about him!
Victor Ludorum (4yo colt)
Headline act. Winner of the Lagadere at 2, the Poulains at 3, he will be a force to be reckoned with in the top contests for older milers this summer.
He only came back into training a couple of weeks ago. He’s done really well for having had a break. The goal is obviously to win another Group One this year, but there are no particular objectives. Highly unlikely to run before middle to late May, we will be patient and see how he gets on. He’s very athletic and won’t take a lot of getting fit.
He was clearly over the top in the Moulin and really needed the time off to freshen up. Andre said that he felt that he would be a miler, but we have not discussed it again.
Telemaque (4yo colt)
Turned a corner last year to finish his campaign in November with a Listed third at Saint-Cloud over a mile. Always considered an impressive individual, and versatile on different surfaces, he could surprise tomorrow on the polytrack in the Prix Montjeu.
As a two-year-old, he was almost pulled up with sore shins. When you look at him now, he is the most physically impressive in our stable. He’s an absolute beast!
We’re hoping, but don’t know for sure, that he’s going to carry on going the right way following his big leap last autumn.
Algiers (4yo colt)
Winless at 2, Algiers progressed last year to win a 12-furlong Listed event at Saint Cloud on good ground last September.
Algiers hasn’t got any early season targets mapped out for 2021. He’s very impressive and has grown over the winter. We hope he can step up to Group level this year.
Race Sharp verdict: Another strong hand for Fabre and Godolphin with these leading older horses. There will be plenty of eyes on Victor Ludorum when he returns, and for good reason, but both Algiers and Magny Cours could also take high order this summer. Chantilly tomorrow is only the beginning and you can be sure that Fabre will bring these along carefully.