Kentucky-Bred Arakan Takes Criterion Stakes

Kentucky-bred Arakan returned to form with a determined victory in the Criterion Stakes (Eng-III) at Newmarket on Saturday.

The Niarchos Family's 4-year-old colt by Nureyev–Far Across (byCommon Grounds) held off Godolphin's Desert Destiny by three-quarters of a length in the seven-furlong Criterion with Kieren Fallon in the saddle.

Bred by Flaxman Holdings Ltd. and trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Arakan had disappointed in the Queen Anne (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot last week.

The drop in class paid off for the 7-4 favorite in the field of eight.

"He has a lot of talent and has been a bit unlucky over a mile," Stoute told the Racing Post. "It's taken him time to win a group race, but it's not been his fault. He's versatile and this gives us some options."

Arakan, who completed the seven furlongs on good to firm going in 1:25.04, stayed in touch behind a middling pace established by Naahy before Fallon pushed him along to challenge with more than a furlong left. He edged to the front 100 yards from the line and finished strongly to hold Desert Destiny safely at bay. Defending Criterion winner Trade Fair was two lengths farther back in third, edging Court Masterpiece by a neck.