THE recent paucity of fast and precocious two-year-olds trained in France reached a new nadir at Chantilly last Sunday when three visitors routed four domestic opponents in the Group 2 Darley Prix Robert Papin.

This six-furlong event, the biggest early-season juvenile race on the calendar, has now not been successfully defended from foreign annexation since 2013. The easy all-the-way winner, Kevin Ryan’s Prix du Bois hero, Atomic Force, was returned as the red hot 1/2 favourite and may turn out to be one of Europe’s best.