10/15/2006 11:00PM

Darley takes pair of Italian Group 1's


Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum landed a Group 1 double at San Siro in Milan on Sunday as Laverock won the 1 1/2-mile Gran Premio del Jockey Club & Coppa d'Oro, while Kirklees took the one-mile Gran Criterium for juveniles.

Both horses were running in the sheikh's maroon and white Darley colors, the same sported by the Breeders' Cup Classic favorite, Bernardini. Trained by Carlos Laffon-Parias, Laverock, who was making his first start for Sheikh Mohammed, held off the late run of Fair Nashwan to take the $400,000 Jockey Club by a head, getting the 12 furlongs on good ground in 2:29.90. It was 1 1/2 lengths farther back to Cherry Mix, who formed a 4-5 coupled entry with the winner. Sweet Stream, owned by Team Valor, faded to finish fifth of eight, beaten by just two lengths.

The winner of the 1 1/8-mile Group 1 Prix d'Ispahan in May, Laverock, who had previously run in the colors of the late Maktoum al-Maktoum's Gainsborough Stud, could go next in the Japan Cup on Nov. 26.

The Mark Johnston-trained Kirklees beat another colt owned by Sheikh Mohammed, the Michael Jarvis-trained Strobilius, by a short head in the $450,000 Gran Criterium. The 3-5 winner, an Irish-bred son of Jade Robbery who was third in the one-mile Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes at Ascot on Sept. 23, covered the mile in 1:39.90.