Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 24 February 2018

O'Connor storms Saint-Cloud

Roderic O'Connor stepped up significantly on his maiden form when chasing home Frankel in the Dewhurst and he paid Henry Cecil's colt a huge compliment when readily winning the Group One Criterium International at Saint-Cloud.

O'Connor had to play second fiddle in the market to the unbeaten French Navy, but Maxime Guyon struggled to get Andre Fabre's unbeaten colt settled and he endured a horrid passage in the early stages and was shuffled back through the pack.

Johnny Murtagh, on the other hand, made smooth progress to hold a prominent position on the outside of the early leaders and was perfectly placed to quicken the pace as they went for home.

French Navy loomed up briefly, but his early exertions took their toll as O'Connor quickly opened a gap. He actually proved the biggest danger to himself as he threatened to throw the race away by hanging badly right allowing Salto to close.

Murtagh soon had him back on an even keel with a running rail to help and he rallied to win a shade cosily from Salto, with outsider Maiguri finishing strongly to deny the Barry Hills-trained Rerouted a place.

William Hills were sufficiently impressed to shorten his 2,000 Guineas odds to 10/1.

Irish Independent

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