Following a nearly two-month suspension of racing in France due to Covid 19, many trainers were worried that their horses wouldn’t be ready when racing resumed behind closed doors on May 11th.
Trainer Henri-Alex Pantall, who hasn’t got a grass gallop at his private training centre of Beaupreau, often sees his horses improve during the season, yet he was not too surprised when The Summit stole the show in the Group 3 Prix de Fontainebleau, a trial race for the Poule d’Essai des Poulains.
Ridden by Pierre-Charles Boudot, the son of Wootton Bassett dictated the pace from the start and beat strong favourite and Group 1 winner Victor Ludorum, with Ecrivain splitting the pair of them.
“For us it was business as normal,” Henri-Alex Pantall said from his base in Beaupreau, which lies close to Nantes in the North West of France.
“My staff was happy to come in for work, in fact they positively wanted to come and work and while we obviously had to deal with a delay in getting started, lockdown didn’t change much apart from adhering to the protocol in place. As to The Summit, he had already run once in March, but I’m sure he’ll come on again.”
Pantall, who is one of the biggest trainers in France with a squad of over 200, is keen to get on with the show and has already had over 50 runners since racing resumed last Monday. The Summit is his classic prospect and apart from the two-year-olds, which still need some time, there are plenty of other horses to look forward to.
Here, he guides Liz Price of attheraces.com through the pick of his team.