Tactics Help Prince Gibraltar in Criterium

Tactics Help Prince Gibraltar in Criterium
Photo: John Gilmore
Prince Gibraltar and Christophe Soumillon come through the rain to win the Criterium de Saint-Cloud.
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Under a clever ride by Christophe Soumillon, Prince Gibraltar romped to a stylish victory Nov. 9 in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud (Fr-I), Europe's final group I race of the season.
 
The Rock of Gibraltar colt was making a huge class leap following his maiden victory Sept. 26 at Maisons-Laffitte, but Soumillon brought him from last in a quagmire to an authoritative five-length victory at 3-1 odds. 
 
Entering the straight as 11 rivals stayed the normal course and toiled over the heavy ground, Soumillon slipped Prince Gibraltar across the track to better footing on the stands' side rail, where the colt cruised solo to the dominant victory in the 2,000-meter (about 1 1/4-mile) race for 2-year-olds.
 
"I think he'd have won whatever course he'd steered," trainer Jean-Claude Rouget told Racing Post about the colt, who was recently transferred from trainer Henri-Alex Pantall. "He has frightening acceleration and he clearly handles soft ground; it's a wonderful victory."
 
Bereni Ka, the only filly in the field, circled most of her rivals to take second in the closing stages, 1 3/4 lengths in front of third-place finisher Hartnell
 
Coolmore and partner's Irish stakes winner Mekong River, the 2-1 favorite, could not extend his four-race unbeaten record and finished fourth after setting the early pace.
 
French-bred Prince Gibraltar completed the distance in 2:26.25. His record improves to two wins and a third from three career starts for owner-breeder Jean-Francois Gribomont.
 
Prince Gibraltar is one of three winners from as many starters out of the winning Pennekemp mare Princess Sofia. Sire Rock of Gibraltar stands at Coolmore Stud in Ireland. With Prince Gibraltar's breakthrough stakes win, the 14-year-old son of Danehill is just five shy of 100 stakes winners. 

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