Batwan swooped late to land the Prix de Saint-Georges at ParisLongchamp as French racing resumed on Monday following the coronavirus shutdown.
The sport had been hold since March and despite a last-minute threat to the action on Friday, the authorities gave the go-ahead for France Galop to restart racing behind closed doors.
Strict social distancing and hygiene measures are in place on track, with all jockeys wearing masks to race along with the limited personnel on track.
Racing was kicking off 24 hours after what should have been French Guineas weekend, but Olivier Delloye, chief executive of France Galop, was delighted to see the sport resume.
He tweeted: “Certainly we run behind closed doors. Certainly we are competing in Fontainebleau the day after the Poules… But what satisfaction to see this first race finally arriving. Thank you to the great teams of France Galop for their incredible work and thank you to all of you for supporting us.”
As for the race itself, Sestilio Jet was bidding to defend his title in the Group Three heat, but he was under pressure some way out as Batwan, who finished second last year, was settled in third through the early stages.
Maxime Guyon’s mount hit the front inside the final furlong, edging in front at the line to win on his first outing in an exactly a year.
Shinning Ocean put up a fine front-running performance to run out a cosy winner of the Prix d’Escoville.
Trained by Christophe Ferland, Shinning Ocean got a well-judged ride from Christophe Soumillion, setting the early fractions before kicking for home in the straight.
Shinning Ocean found plenty when asked and Soumillon was able to ease down before the line in the mile heat.