Emirates French 2,000 Guineas: Victor Ludorum at his best

1 June 2020

Emirates French 2,000 Guineas: Victor Ludorum at his best

Photo : scoopdyga.com

Monday, June 1, 2020, Deauville. - Favourite of the race after his encouraging return in the Prix de Fontainebleau (Gr3) at Paris Longchamp, Victor Ludorum (Shamardal) made a clear difference in the last furlong of the Emirates Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2,000 Guineas, Gr1).
At the end of the straight mile in this the first classic of the French season, the Godolphin representative left the second-placed The Summit (Wootton Bassett), who had beaten him in the Prix de Fontainebleau, at a length and a half, only a neck ahead of Alson (Areion), who hadn't run this season.
The total time is 1’34’’14, more than two seconds better than that of the previous two 2,000 Guineas run at Deauville in 2016 and 2017.

Bred by his owner, Victor Ludorum had won easily his first two races at ParisLongchamp then Chantilly before confirming brilliantly in the Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère (Gr1). Heavily favoured in the Prix de Fontainebleau (Gr3) for his comeback this season on May 11, he tracked the leaders on outside, was ridden under 2 out, chased the clear leader but lost the 2nd place to Ecrivain (Lope de Vega), who was very disappointing at Deauville. 

Victor Ludorum is the fifth foal out of Antiquities (Kaldounevees), also trained by André Fabre for Sheikh Mohammed and second in the Prix Cléopâtre (Gr3) on her second outing.

The colt is entered in the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby, Gr1) and the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris (Gr1).

Winning rider Mickaël Barzalona said on Equidia: "He has never cantered so well going down to the start and it is a 1,600-meter straight canter! I was willing to lead but he felt differently. He can be complicated before the start but he is very easy going throughout the race. He got into his bubble and did his thing. He came easily because he always accelerates with ease. He is a very skilful and straightforward colt. What he did today was pretty good."


Mickaël Barzalona, jockey to Victor Ludorum (1st)

"His last race did him a lot of good that is now behind him. He cantered down to the start beautifully, even though we had to go the full mile! He can be difficult in the preliminaries before the race, but once the stalls open, he is a complete professional. He was very switched off during the race. I wanted to ride him the way that suited him. Initially, I had intended to go forward, but he was in his rhythm and progressed in his own time. He never wins by huge distances, but I had plenty left in hand. He moved easily, and with great action. He knows how to gallop!"

Lisa-Jane Graffard, French representative to Godolphin, owner of Victor Ludorum (1st)

"I thought he showed real class! Just like he did when he was a 2-year-old… The team has done a fantastic job, those watching from home who are so involved are foremost in my thoughts. Mickaël Barzalona said that the colt showed a really good mentality. Before the race, the plan was always the Prix du Jockey Club. That being said, he has shown a lot of class today over the mile, which could open up other options for him. We won’t make a plan now but wait to see how he comes out of the race. André Fabre will then discuss the options with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum. It’s really fantastic: we had been dreaming of this all through the winter, so when he ran first time out it was a sharp return to reality! However, in the Fontainebleau it was his first start and he needed to blow off some steam after this unique situation we were in. André Fabre knows how to prepare a horse perfectly for the main target."

Henri-Alex Pantall, trainer of The Summit (2nd)

"The Summit ran really well. When he was 300 meters from the post, he looked to have flattened but he managed to fight back. But then the winner came, and he was out of contention. We have been beaten by the best of them today. With reasonable budgets, Monsieur Cygler has had great success. Nearly every year, he has a horse that is above the ordinary. This is fantastic. Paul Nataf has done a perfect job. For his future programme, I don’t think he will run over much further than 1,600 meters."