11/12/2005 12:00AM

Linda's Lad wins year's last Group 1

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Linda's Lad justified his odds-on favoritism Saturday in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud, the last Group 1 race of the European season, but he had to work for it.

Customary led the five-runner field in the 10-furlong race, with Linda's Lad poised nicely in second under Christophe Soumillon. Linda's Lad took up the running 1 1/2 furlongs from home, and the race looked in his control. Soumillon had to start driving Linda's Lad along, though, as Certainly Fauvelia, a 13-1 outsider, challenged at the furlong pole. But Linda's Lad found more and finished a length ahead of Certainly Fauvelia.

German raider Flasing Numbers finished third, and Salsalava edged Customary for fourth.

Linda's Lad, trained by Andre Fabre, gave Irish owner Sean Mulryan his first Group 1 winner on the flat. Mulryan, who runs a highly successful building empire, has invested heavily in French racing, both over the jumps and on the flat in recent years.