As the sun begins to set on the first turf meeting of the calendar year at the spectacular Cagnes-sur-Mer, attentions in France now turn towards some of the warm Parisian maidens and conditions events. With the stakes set so high for the Classic events in May and June, it is understandable that some trainers will give their charges an easier time of it – particularly if they have pretensions come the first weekend of October.

Philippe Sogorb

Most of us remember 11 May 2020 as merely the day we could stop betting on Sha Tin and Gulfstream – Longchamp was back after the grim Covid lockdown! Provincial trainer Sogorb, best know for his 2013 Cheveley Park Stakes winner Vorda, sent out Batwan to win the first race – a Group Three, after a year off competition and a gelding operation. Impressive. He then sent out a double that same evening at Toulouse, which included a daughter of Vorda in the Listed Prix Caravelle.

Perhaps he is underappreciated because he hasn’t had a three-year-old capture our imagination over the classic distances, but Sogorb has time on his side and his immense son of Wootton Bassett, Ninth Titan, a Pau maiden winner this week, could be star of his spring in the prestigious colours of the Niarchos Family.

Fabrice Chappet

Regular Top 10 trainer Chappet has improved his owners in recent years and as a result his raw materials. In May 2020, Chappet ran maiden Gold Trip in a conditions event to finish 2nd to Port Guillame at 22/1 – he would go on to finish fourth in Sottsass’ Prix de l’Arc.

Other smart horses included Dream Works, Light In The Dark and San Huberto.

Names to look out for this spring are Gagarin’s Moon, Watch Him and Omnia Munda Mundis.

Francis Graffard

Graffard (pictured) is quite simply mustard in the second quarter, evidenced not only by fair results for limited horses like Simona, Wasmya and Moon A Lisa in May last year, but also using the month to score wins with Wooded, In Swoop, Bois D’Argent and so on.

Longchamp closed for a two-year refurb and when re-opening on Sunday 8 April 2018, Graffard bagged a treble with Borderforce, Foveros and Do Re Mi Fa Sol. Graffard obviously forms a dynamite pairing with Pierre-Charles Boudot, but Ronan Thomas and Stephane Pasquier have acceptable strike-rates too with the Chantilly trainer.