There is a time in late spring when the previous year's top horses emerge from winter quarters, often sweeping aside contemporaries who have been making hay in their absence.
The beginning of July might be considered late in the season to be worrying about such a phenomenon, but in the two market principals for the July 3 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (G1), we are being asked to consider horses who enjoyed a fabulous 2021 but who are now late to the party in 2022.
Hurricane Lane enjoyed a fully-loaded middle of the campaign in 2021 and on the basis of his group 1 wins at the Curragh and Longchamp, the short turnaround is less of a concern than it might have been.
Charlie Appleby has the Arc as his main aim and has said this will be it until taking in a prep in the autumn, so it's likely the screws have been tightened considerably from Ascot.
"They've got a bit of rain forecast and the ground should be on the slower side of good, which is most certainly a positive for Hurricane Lane," Appleby said. "He's certainly tightened up for the run (in the Hardwicke). William (Buick) was very pleased with the way he traveled and then stayed on at the pace we all saw. What we've seen since he came out of the race is a sharper, tighter model.
"At 15 days some people might ask if we're giving him enough time between his runs, but it was always our plan to go to the Hardwicke and then follow up in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. Last year he thrived on his racing and backing him up in the Grand Prix de Paris (G1) was probably his most impressive performance."
Alpinista pulled off a group 1 hat-trick against the boys in Germany last season, form which was given a huge boost when her Berlin victim Torquator Tasso ran down Tarnawa and Hurricane Lane to land the Arc.
She has been slow to bloom this summer and Sir Mark Prescott has missed a couple of engagements in the quest to give her the time she needs.
Alpinista was meant to return at Epsom in the Dahlbury Coronation Cup (G1) but needed more time. If that is a concern, it is a race she also missed last year, when she was a non-runner due to a vet's certificate, and she reappeared this very weekend to land the bet365 Lancashire Oaks (G2).
Perhaps more of a worry is her trainer Sir Mark Prescott's assertion he would have liked still more time if it were on offer.
"She's been very slow to come to hand and get her coat," he said. "This race would be soon enough for her but her work has been good, she looks well. I just wish there was a little bit longer.
"She had a wonderful time last year; she was unbeaten in five and won three group 1s. It would have been an easier race to go to Haydock for the Lancashire Oaks, but she's done all of that and Miss Rausing quite rightly is keen to have a shot at the more glitzy group 1s.
"That's what's she's been kept in training to do. She's lucky enough to have won three of them and her job now is to try and win one of the really smart ones."
On home turf and with a couple of recent runs to bring him to concert pitch, Mare Australis looks a big danger.
Trainer Andre Fabre has long thought the 2021 Prix Ganay (G1) winner would thrive at a mile and a half and he landed the Grand Prix de Chantilly (G2) in fine style on his first try. Bubble Gift was second and came from an unpromising position in a race run at a moderate clip and ran the last three furlongs faster than the winner.
High Definition has been sent here in preference to the Coral-Eclipse and, although he was unable to back up his excellent run in the Tattersalls Gold Cup (G1) when turned out quickly in the Coronation Cup, he's beginning to look like a horse ready to live up to the tall reputation he had at three.