Francois Doumen, fresh from sending out two winners at the Cheltenham Festival, has a bright chance of lifting France’s first Group Two race of the season with Samando at Longchamp on Sunday.
The Prix d’Harcourt, a stepping stone to the Group One Prix Ganay later in the month, looks an ideal opportunity for Samando, who is returning to the scene of his finest moment, when victorous in the Prix de Royallieu on Arc weekend last October.
He went through the ring at Goffs France’s Arc Sale hours after that success, only to be bought back for €480,000, and he duly repaid that faith when capturing the Group Three Prix Exbury at Saint-Cloud last month.
The five-year-old son of Hernando proved a head too strong for Lord Du Sud that day, and the runner-up reopposes, with French champion Ioritz Mendizabal in the saddle.
Pont D’Or and Levitski, respectively third and fourth in the Exbury, and unplaced Short Pause, representing Andre Fabre and Christophe Soumillon, are also aiming to take revenge on Samando.
While there are no British or Irish runners in the 10-furlong affair, German hopes are carried by Lyonels Glory.
Sunday’s meeting is the first of France Galop’s ‘Sunday at the races’ free entry days which last year proved a major success with the notoriously lethargic Paris punters and helped produce a record 57,000 crowd at the Arc.