Roderic O'Connor provided trainer Aidan O’Brien with consecutive wins in the Criterium International (Fr-I) when he held off Salto to claim the Saint-Cloud contest by 1 1/2 lengths Oct. 31.
The 2-year-old son of Galileo entered the Criterium off of a strong second-place finish to the undefeated Frankel in the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes (Eng-I) two weeks ago. Prior to that race, Roderic O’Connor had been off for four months, after having broken his maiden going seven furlongs at the Curragh.
Breaking alertly from the outside post in the field of 10, Roderic O’Connor was forwardly placed by Johnny Murtagh as the early lead was disputed by Pisco Sour and Private Jet. Roderic O’Connor advanced alongside the front pair and was full of run while moving effortlessly under Murtagh.
By the time the field reached the turn into the home straight, Roderic O’Connor had the lead and he opened up by a couple of lengths on the field. The colt continued to increase his advantage under strong urging by Murtagh, before drifting sharply to his right when Murtagh hit him left-handed. Murtagh switched back to a right-handed whip and was able to get his colt back on a straight course while losing several lengths in the process.
Under continued urging by Murtagh, Roderic O’Connor re-rallied and had enough left in the tank to hold off the late challenge of Salto for the victory. Longshot Maiguri closed strongly to finish third, another five lengths behind Salto.
Final time for the mile was 1:45.70 over the heavy going.
Roderic O’Connor is out of the stakes-winning Danehill mare Secret Garden, and hails from the female family of champions/group I winners Durtal, Detroit, and Carnegie. Roderic O’Connor was bred in Ireland by Swettenham Stud, and is raced by the partnership of Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and the Sangster family.
O'Brien won the last year's Criterium International, a race introduced in 2001, with Jan Vermeer for Magnier, Smith and Tabor. The combination also produced a victory in 2006 with Mount Nelson.