Rio de La Plata Gobbles Up Ground to Take 'Criterium'

Rio de La Plata registered a decisive victory in the group I Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Grand Criterium) for 2-year-olds at Longchamp Oct. 7.

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In putting his own Classic aspirations in the shop window, the decisive success by Rio de La Plata in the group I Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Grand Criterium) for 2-year-olds at Longchamp Oct. 7 paid a huge compliment to New Approach.

Rio de La Plata, owned by Godolphin and bred in the United States by Jose De Camargo, Robert Clay, Gainsborough Farm, and Peter Bance, was a well-held second to New Approach in the seven-furlong National Stakes (Ire-I) at the Curragh last month. New Approach is 3-1 favorite for next year’s Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I), and Rio de La Plata is now a 4-1 chance.

Rio de La Plata, by Rahyout of the Ahmad mare Express Way, was keen to get on with things early on, but jockey Frankie Dettori restrained the colt behind pace-setting Greatwallofchina. Inside the final quarter-mile, Dettori asked Rio de La Plata to go and win his race and, though he took six or seven strides to respond, he ate up the ground and galloped into a clear lead a furlong out to win in the style of a good horse.

Rio de La Plata, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, covered the seven furlongs on good-to-soft turn in 1:21.50. Godolphin representative Simon Crisford said the colt would definitely stay 10 furlongs next year, and believes 12 furlongs could be a possibility because there is stamina on his dam’s side.

Peter Chapple-Hyam-trained Declaration of War ran the race of his life to take second, 2 1/2 lengths behind the winner. He could race next in the Racing Post Trophy (Eng-I), won last year by his stablemate, Authorized.

Third-place finisher Shediak gets credit because the fast-finishing colt was pulling out rider Christophe Soumillon’s arms for much of the race, so his final-furlong thrust was admirable.