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Preview: Critérium International

23 October 2021

The final juvenile Group One of the season in Europe, the G1 Critérium International (1600m) takes place on Saturday. As part of a two-year trial, the distance has been extended to 1600m instead of the original 1400m to enhance the juvenile programme in France... 

Toimy Son    

A consistent colt by Twilight Son who has placed twice and won on two occasions from six starts in his career. Highlights so far have included winning a Deauville 1200m Class Two event in July before a creditable fifth in the G3 Prix de Cabourg (1200m) at the aforementioned track the start of August. He was a midfield eighth in the G1 Prix Morny (1200m) later that month and has only one attempt at this longer journey which resulted in a second at Lyon-Parilly four weeks ago. Needs to be at best and others could be stronger chances.    

Angel Bleu   

A progressive son of Dark Angel is the leading UK raider as he bids for a hat-trick after success in the G2 Vintage Stakes (1408m) at Goodwood (UK) the end of July and the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (1400m) at Longchamp on “Arc” day just under three weeks ago beating the re-opposing Ancient Rome. Upped to 1600m for the first time with Frankie Dettori on board again. Makes plenty of appeal.     


One of two runners for top Irish trainer, Aiden O'Brien and this son of Galileo looks the stable’s second string but is still likely to play a role. He ran with promise on debut at Cork (Ireland) when runner-up before winning at his second start at Listowel (Ireland) in maiden company over 1408m at the track’s big weeklong festival. Aikhal then took a significant step forward last time to be a solid fourth in the G3 Autumn Stakes (1609m) at Newmarket (UK) (Rowley Mile course) a fortnight ago. Upped in grade again and a likely pacesetter.   


Another lightly raced contender from the Aiden O'Brien yard who made a winning debut at The Curragh (Ireland) in April. This son of Kodiac had a break and returned two weeks ago when sixth of eight in the G1 Dewhurst Stakes (1408m) at Newmarket (UK) (Rowley Mile course). The colt then bounced back attempting an easier task only last week with a half-length victory at Leopardstown (Ireland) in the G3 Killavullan Stakes (1408m). Backing up again, he looks promising, but the concern is facing a third run in as many weeks. In the mix.   

Ancient Rome   

This War Front colt is likely to be invovled at the finish with solid and consistent performances during his first campaign. He ran well on debut when second at Compiegne where the form worked out well with the first three all winning subsequently. The Andre Fabre trained two-year-old has progressed through the ranks including a Deauville maiden and a Class Two success prior to a two-length victory in the G3 Prix des Chenes (1600m) at Longchamp six weeks back. His last-time effort was a solid one and half-length third behind Angel Bleu in the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on “Arc” day. Ancient Rome continues to mature and is the leading French hope.    


An interesting Cédric Rossi trained filly who has won or placed on six out of seven attempts so far in her career. Despite this consistency she has a fair step up in grade to contend with after making all to score by four lengths in Class Two company at Longchamp over 1600m at the start of this month. Proven at this trip which may help though this level could be too strong. Others appeal as stronger chances.   


A consistent Galileo Gold filly who comes into this event in solid form with an overall profile of five placings and three victories from nine starts. She has continued to progress from a low level start all the way to the elite when last time contesting and finishing an excellent third in the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac - Criterium des Pouliches (1600m) on “Arc” day at Longchamp three weeks ago. Her best achievement alongside this latest placing would be her triumph in the G3 Prix Six Perfections (1400m) at Deauville at the start of August when cleverly ridden setting the pace. She will need to be at her best and it has been a long season, however her trainer, George Boughey has maintained an exceptional strike rate this year with two-year-olds. Not dismissed.   


WIN – Angel Bleu   

DARK HORSE - Oscula