Unbeaten in four outings and particularly impressive when winning the 1m1f Prix de Condé (Gr3), the Aga Khan homebred Malakoun (Bated Breath) gives the feeling of being able to aim higher now. And further, too, which is why the 1m2f trip of the Critérium de Saint-Cloud (Gr1) was chosen by his trainer Jean-Claude Rouget for this final outing of the season.
One flaw in his shining armour, though: Anasia, whom he beat by five lengths at Chantilly, was literally non-existent in the Prix des Reservoirs last Thursday at Deauville.
The handicappers judged in any case that this performance of Malakoun was 2lbs better than that of Tiger Tanaka (Clodovil) in the Prix Marcel Boussac (Gr1). However, the filly has a weight for sex allowance of three pounds. So, in theory, she’s one pound better off than her rival …
That said, they are seven at the start after the withdrawal of the English raider Belloccio, and the solution of this equation can always lie elsewhere, in particular with Aidan O’Brien’s Bolshoi Ballet (Galileo), Mark Johnston York Group 3 winner Gear Up (Teofilo), or the mandatory Godolphin/Fabre charge Botanik (Golden Horn), and a German raider, Best of Lips (The Gurkha), who was awarded a higher rating than that of Tiger Tanaka when winning a Cologne Gr3 last time out, while the astute trainer Francis Graffard supplemented the unexposed Sweet Lady (Lope de Vega) to complete the line-up …
- 1. MAKALOUN (c2, FRA by Bated Breath and Makana, by Dalakhani) Weight: 9-0 / Rating: 112lbs
Trained in Deauville by Jean-Claude Rouget, bred by his owner, he is undefeated in four outings and won very easily, by five lengths, his first Group, the Prix de Condé (Gr3), over 1m1f at Chantilly. It might have been a much more affordable bundle than this one, but there was a certain flair to the success.
- 2. BELLOCIO (Non-runner)
- 3. BOTANIK (c2, IRE by Golden Horn and Autumn Lily, by Street Cry) Weight: 9-0 / Rating: 100lbs
Trained in Chantilly by André Fabre, bred by his owners, he failed twice at Deauville in August before gaining his first success, recently and in leading the whole race, over one mile at Saint-Cloud.
- 4. BOLSHOI BALLET (c2, IRE by Galileo and Alta Anna, by Anabaa) Weight: 9-0 / Rating: –
Trained in Ireland by Aidan O’Brien, a good third on his Newmarket debut in the rain, he won very easily with the lead at Leopardstown. Who knows what he’s up to?
- 5. BEST OF LIPS (c2, IRE by The Gurkha and Beata, by Silver Frost) Weight: 9-0 / Rating: 111lbs
Trained in Germany by Andreas Suborics, bought £ 90,000 at the Newmarket sales, he won his last two races by more than three lengths, including a Group 3 most recently in Cologne.
- 6. GEAR UP (c2, IRE by Teofilo and Gearanai, by Toccet) Weight: 9-0 / Rating: 105lbs
Trained in England by Mark Johnston, bought € 52,000 at the Irish sales, he won his maiden race, then the Acomb Stakes (Gr3) at York before taking fourth place in the Royal Lodge Stakes (Gr2) over one mile at Newmarket.
- 7. TIGER TANAKA (f2, IRE by Clodovil and Miss Phillyjinks, by Zoffany) Weight: 55.5kg / Rating: 110lbs
Trained in Provence by Charley Rossi, bought € 6,500 at the Irish sales, she won the Prix François Boutin (Gr3) this summer in Deauville, then the Prix Marcel Boussac (Gr1) on the Arc weekend, showing she was far from done as the going went softer and the season longer.
Created in 1901 over 7 furlongs, the distance was raised to 10 furlongs between 1906 and 1913. Reduced to a mile between 1920 and 1923, it was restored to 10 furlongs in 1924. Not run from 1914 to 1919 or from 1939 to 1945, this race was held at Longchamp in 1954 and was a handicap until 1986, before being elevated to Group 1 status in 1987. The race was cancelled in 2017 due to a protest from a group of trainers.
The Critérium de Saint-Cloud was first held on 16 September 1901, the same year in which the racecourse was unveiled on 15 March. Before long, it would find a settled slot in the race calendar at the start of November. It was only after the First World War that the Critérium de Saint-Cloud would see some of its protagonists excel in the Classics. Winners that went onto greater things include Motrico (1927, Arc de Triomphe twice), Barneveldt (1930, Grand Prix de Paris), Tonnelle (1936, 2nd in the Arc de Triomphe), Canot (1937, 2nd in the Jockey Club and Grand Prix de Paris) and Tricaméron (1938, 2nd in the Grand Prix de Paris); runners-up include Kantara (1928, 2nd in the Poule d’Essai) and Casterari (1932, 2nd in the Arc de Triomphe); among the third-placed finishers number Frisky (1921, Poule d’Essai), Quoi ? (1922, Diane) and Gris Perle (1931, 3rd in the Jockey Club). The 1921 victor, Rocking Chair, tasted true glory at Auteuil by clinching the Grande Course de Haies as a 6-year-old in 1925.
After the Second World War, the importance of the Critérium de Saint-Cloud in determining the best thoroughbreds gradually increased and it was given Group I status in 1987. Its winners include Aquino (1950, Ascot Gold Cup), Sica Boy (1953, Arc de Triomphe), Le Loup Garou (1958, Cadran, 3rd in Arc de Triomphe), Le Fabuleux (1963, Jockey Club), Carvin (1964, 3rd in Jockey Club), Sea Hawk (1965, Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud), Saraca (1968, Vermeille, 2nd in Diane), Stintino (1969, Lupin, 3rd English Derby), Rheffic (1970, Jockey Club, Grand Prix de Paris), The Wonder (1980, Jacques Le Marois), Escaline (1982, Diane), Darshaan (1983, Jockey Club), Mouktar (1984, Jockey Club), Fast Topaze (1985, Poule d’Essai, Lupin), Pistolet Bleu (1990, Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, 3rd in Arc de Triomphe), Sunshack (1993, Coronation Cup, Royal Oak), Poliglotte (1994, 2nd in Jockey Club), Polaris Flight (1995, 2nd in Jockey Club), Goldamix (1999, 3rd in Diane), Sagacity (2000, 3rd in Arc de Triomphe) and Waldgeist (2019 Arc).
The runners-up include Oroso (1955, Arc de Triomphe), Currito (1957, Prix de la Forêt), Sanctus (1962, Jockey Club, Grand Prix de Paris), Toulon (1970, St Leger), Belgio (1979, Lupin), Hours After (1987, Jockey Club), Snurge (1989, St Leger), Ragmar (1995, Jockey Club), Daylami (1996, Poule d’Essai, Eclipse Stakes, Man O’War Stakes, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Irish Champion Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Turf), Ballingarry (2001, Canadian International Stakes, 3rd in Irish Derby), Voix du Nord (2003, Prix Lupin), Fame and Glory (2008, Irish Derby), Morandi (2012, 2nd Jockey Club) and Cloth of Stars (2015, Ganay, 2nd in Arc).
Four fillies only won the race in the last 20 years, that is Goldamix (1999), Paita (2004), Passage of Time (2006) and Wonderment (2018); three finished second (Fauvelia in 2005, Brocottes in 2011 and Bereni Ka in 2013); one finished third (Miss You Too in 2012).
9 Overseas winners so far. In 1995 through Polaris Flight, trained in England by P. W. Chapple-Hyam, in 2001 courtesy of Ballingarry and in 2002 with Alberto Giacometti, both of whom were trained in Ireland by Aidan O’Brien. In 2004, Paita returned home victorious to Germany with her trainer Mario Hofer. The Henry Cecil-trained Passage of Time crossed the line first in 2006, and in 2008 another Aiden O’Brien horse, Fame and Glory, was the victor. In 2009, one of Saeed Bin Suroor’s protégés, Passion for Gold, crossed the line first, and in 2010 Aiden O’Brian notched up a fourth win, this time with Récital. In 2015, Robin of Navan won for England, beating Cloth of Stars, a future winner of the Prix Ganay.
Another foreign horse was first passed the post in 1989, England’s Snurge having outpaced Intimiste by three lengths. But in winning the race he had made a somewhat reckless deviation from his course (which his jockey had failed to control), risking causing his opponent to fall. For this infringement, Snurge was demoted to second place despite the great ease of his victory, a decision that was upheld by the appeals committee requested by his trainer Paul Cole.
- Rivaud brothers (5 wins): Motrico (1927) for Max ; Cordial (1928) for Maurice ; Barneveldt (1930) & Skiff (1934) for Rivaud Associates, & El Lando (1933) for René.
- Susan Magnier/Michael Tabor/Derrick Smith & associés (4 wins): Ballingary (2001), Alberto Giacometti (2002), Fame and Glory (2008) & Récital (2010).
- Edouard de Rothschild (3 wins): Rocking Chair (1921), Tonnelle (1936) & Tricaméron (1938).
- François Dupré (3 wins): Telegram (1949), Bingo (1952) & Pas de Deux (1955).
- Mahmoud Fustok (3 wins): Tarek (1977), Bon Sang (1981) & Fast Topaze (1985).
- Khalid Abdullah (3 wins): Miserden (1988), Sunshack (1993) & Epicuris (2014).
- François Mathet (8 wins): Telegram (1949), Bingo (1952), Pas de Deux (1955), Upstart (1957), Le Français (1960), Saraca (1968), Rheffic (1970) & Simbir (1972).
- Maurice d’Okhuysen (6 wins): Motrico (1927), Barneveldt (1930), El Lando (1933), Skiff (1934), Rhétorius (1946) & Ahmose (1954).
- François Boutin (6 wins): Stintino (1969), Gay Saint (1971), Ribécourt (1973), Conglomérat (1976), Providential (1979).
- André Fabre (6 wins): Miserden (1988), Sunshack (1993), Sagacity (2000), Linda’s Lad (2005), Mandaean (2011) & Waldgeist (2016)
- Yves Saint-Martin (6 wins): Fire Crest (1967), Rheffic (1970), Ribécourt (1973), Tarek (1977), Darshaan (1983), Mouktar (1984).
- Dominique Bœuf (6 wins): Pistolet Bleu (1990), Glaieuil (1991), Marchand de Sable (1992), Spadoun (1998), Goldamix (1999), Voix du Nord (2003).