Mount Nelson made a dramatic leap from maiden winner to Group 1 victor in just seven days when winning the Criterium International (Fr-I) at Saint-Cloud on Sunday.
With the impressive victory, the 2-year-old bay colt by Rock of Gibraltar became his sire's first Group 1 winner. He also set a course record with the win, running the mile over good to soft turf in 1:41.3.
As expected, favorite Spirit One shot straight to the front at the start. The colt set a decent pace, ahead of Makaan and Teslin, as jockey Seamus Heffernan had Mount Nelson going along comfortably mid-pack.
Mount Nelson came with a strong run two furlongs out to hit the front with just one furlong left. Spirit One didn't give in, however, and the pair battled to the wire.
Mount Nelson held on for a hard-fought head victory over Spirit One. Yellowstone, a stablemate of the winner, and also sired by Rock of Gibraltar, closed swiftly to finish third, just 1 ½ lengths back in third.
Winning trainer Aidan O'Brien told reporters after the race: "Our decision to run Mount Nelson twice in the period of a week was justified, but it was a big risk. He's a lovely horse who will be even better next year when he should stay further."