Murtagh Takes Group I Swan Song for Coolmore

Recital captured the Criterium de Saint-Cloud (Fr-I) by five lengths Nov. 13.

Jockey Johnny Murtagh partnered Recital to an easy five-length victory in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud (Fr-I) Nov. 13, putting an exclamation point on what may be the final group I win in his longtime partnership with trainer Aidan O’Brien and Coolmore Stud.

Murtagh announced earlier this week that he was stepping down as the retained jockey for the Ballydoyle yard, ending a successful three-year run with O’Brien that saw them team up for 39 group I victories.  

Recital was one of three colts in the race for O’Brien, who has now captured the Criterium four times in the last nine years.  Recital, a son of Montjeu, entered the race off of a one-mile maiden win at Navan Oct. 20.  He was sent off as the 3-1 second choice in the field of 10, with favoritism going to the Elie Lellouche-trained Prairie Star, winner of the Prix de Conde (Fr-III) in his last start.

Breaking slowly from the gate, Recital was held up at the back of the pack by Murtagh as Exodus and Quinindo went to the lead. That pair was quickly joined by Rigolleto, with Prairie Star sitting just off the pace in fourth. Kreem and Bubble Chic ran in mid-pack, with a gap of several lengths back to Recital, who led a group of three trailing the early leaders.

The field began to bunch together at the halfway point of the 10-furlong contest and by the time the runners entered the home straight, Murtagh had Recital in a perfect challenging position. With two furlongs left to run, Murtagh set Recital down for the drive, and the colt responded by blowing past Quinindo to take the lead.

Recital continued to draw away from the field in the final furlong, crossing the wire five lengths in front.  Bubble Chic got up for second, with Prairie Star another two lengths further back in third.

Final time for the 10 furlongs was 2:24.80 over the heavy going.

O’Brien said of his colt afterwards, “We were delighted and he's made a lot of progress since his last run. You would have to say that at this stage he looks like a Derby sort, but he also has loads of speed.”

Recital, who is out of the Kendor mare Dibenoise, is a full brother to Prix Ganay (Fr-I) winner Corre Caminos, and a half-brother to multiple stakes winner Racinger. Recital was bred in France by Renee Geffoy and Caragh Bloodstock, and is owned by the partnership of Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, et al.