After two winless efforts at the top level, Pearl Flute will bid for success in the category in his third try in the one-mile (1,600-meter) race.
Pearl Flute is a veteran stakes competitor, making in all six of his career starts for black type while performing consistently for trainer Francis-Henri Graffard. He has finished in the top three five times, including two wins, both on soft turf: a 2 1/2-length triumph in the listed Prix Yacowlef for first-time starters on June 28 at Deauville and a three-quarter-length win in the one-mile Prix des Chenes (Fr-III) over favorite Visiyani and Us Law on Sept. 22 at Longchamp when stretching out to a mile for the first time.
Those races bookended a disappointing seventh-place finish behind Reckless Abandon in the Darley Prix Morny (Fr-I), a six-furlong (1,200-meter) test on firm turf Aug. 19 at Deauville. The Piccolo colt, who was briefly considered a candidate for the $1-million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) on Nov. 3, comes into the Criterium International having finished third, a length behind winner Law Enforcement, in the Gran Criterium (It-I) on Oct. 13 at San Siro Racecourse in Milan.
Pearl Flute is campaigned in the name of Pearl Bloodstock by Sheikh Fahad al Thani of Qatar’s royal family. He was offered at the Arqana Arc sale in October but failed to meet his reserve on a final bid of 380,000 euros ($495,368).
Pearl Bloodstock also will be represented in the race by Anna’s Pearl, a Pivotal colt trained by Ralph Beckett. The colt has two runner-up finishes from three lifetime starts.
Following the Prix des Chenes, Us Law won the Prix Thomas Byron (Fr-III) on Oct. 11 at Saint-Cloud from runner-up Kenhope, a homebred Kendargent filly owned by Guy Pariente, who returns in the Criterium International, and third-place finisher Visiyani.
A Lawman colt trained by Pascal Bary for Ecurie Jean-Louis Bouchard, Us Law will make his group I debut in the Criterium International. He has two wins and a third from four career starts, including a three-length victory going a mile at Longchamp to break his maiden on Sept. 6 in his second start.
Other entrants include Loch Garman, a maiden winner by Teofilo trained in Ireland by owner Jim Bolger and Team Valor’s Triple Threat, a maiden winner by Monsun trained in France by Andre Fabre.