11/07/2002 12:00AM

O'Brien has four in Criterium


The Criterium de Saint-Cloud - the 1 1/4-mile Group 1 race for 2-year-olds that trainer Aidan O'Brien swept last year with Ballingarry, Castle Gandolfo, and Black Sam Bellamy - has drawn a competitive field of 11 for Saturday's $151,000 renewal.

O'Brien will saddle four in this year's race. Delacroix, a full brother to Thunder Gulch who won a one-mile maiden first time out, is the most intriguing of them, but Michael Kinane has opted to ride Alberto Giacometti, a Sadler's Wells colt who was a seven-furlong maiden winner in his debut. The other O'Brien runners are the Sadler's Wells maiden Cougar and The Great Gatsby, who has won once in four tries.

O'Brien's quartet will be coupled in the parimutuel wagering, but the favorite could be the more experienced Graikos, an Andre Fabre-trained son of Rainbow Quest who won the 1 1/8-mile Group 3 Prix de Conde at Longchamp on Oct. 20.

Excelsius is the best of three British invaders. A Dr Devious colt trained by John Dunlop, he improved off his seven-length maiden score in Milan to finish third behind Spartacus in the one-mile Group 1 Gran Criterium last time out.