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The Critériums at Saint-Cloud: A feast of Group Ones in Paris

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

There won't be many wishing fortunes had been reversed, should Oisin Murphy have denied Frankie Dettori a perfect UK send off in the G1 British Champion Stakes. Few, though, won't have revelled in Murphy's success a day later, across the Channel at Saint-Cloud. Taking the G1 Critérium International for David Menuisier, he delivered that trainer's first G1 success for three years, going on to score in the G3 Prix Belle de Nuit with Caius Chorister, for the same trainer and an almost overzelous owner in the form of Clive Washbourn.

"Vive la République!" cried Washbourn. But among victories for the smaller yards, the Ballydoyle bludgeon was out in full force. Another promising victory for an Aidan O'Brien two-year-old preceded Menuisier's first success of the day (with Sunway). Christophe Soumillon aboard, Los Angeles pushed stablemate Illinois (Ryan Moore) to third in the G1 Critérium de Saint-Cloud. The G3 Prix Perth, meanwhile, went to André Fabre's Belbek, and our opening G3 Prix de Flore to the Jessie Harrington trained Village Voice.

Sunday also saw a moment of applause for Aurélien Lemaitre and Christopher Head, returning home with - albeit metaphorically - the trophy of Ascot's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes under their arms. Christian Demuro, too, Village Voice's mount, was still coming down from victory in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe three weeks earlier. The Friday before the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, a collection of Racing Breaks guests had been here in the cool, calm, cleansing atmosphere of an uncrowded, leafy Saint-Cloud.

A racecourse commute of minutes, walking from their hotel on the sprint start, it was the starting gun to their action packed racing weekend in the French capital. That morning, they'd been bused from Gare du Nord to the Renaissance Saint-Cloud hotel. This weekend, the drive of the Renaissance Saint-Cloud was chock full of black Landrovers: property of the New Zealand rugby team. Sporting stars - equine and human - in close proximity. In October, and over Arc weekend in September.


For 2024


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