11/15/2010 3:14PM

Recital gives Coolmore Criterium de Saint-Cloud victory


Johnny Murtagh and Aidan O’Brien may be parting company at the end of the year, but they are going out with a bang as the duo landed the Group 1, $340,000 Criterium de Saint-Cloud on Saturday with Recital. In just the second start of his career, the 2-year-old son of Montjeu came from well out of it to defeat Bubble Chic by five lengths as he took to the very heavy going as if it were second nature.

The 5-2 Prairie Star, recent winner of the 1 1/8-mile, Group 3 Prix de Conde, was along for third, two lengths behind Bubble Chic, who had been second in the Conde. Sent off as the 1.90-1 favorite as part of a three-pronged Coolmore entry, Recital covered the 1 1/4 miles on the testing turf course in 2:24.80.

The 1 1/4-length winner of a 17-runner, one-mile Navan maiden on Oct. 20, Recital is a half-brother to 1 5/16-mile, Group 1 Prix Ganay winner Corre Caminos, as well as to Racinger, the winner of the one-mile, Group 2 Prix du Muguet and three other Group 3 miles in France.

Recital was providing O’Brien with his fourth victory in the world’s longest juvenile group race, which is also the final Group 1 race of the year in Europe. So impressive was he that William Hill has installed him at 14-1 for next year’s Epsom Derby, for which Frankel remains the general 5-1 favorite.

Last Monday Murtagh announced that he would not be renewing his contract with Coolmore as its contract rider next year. That move came just days after the 40-year-old Irishman had won Saint-Cloud’s one-mile, Group 1 Criterium International aboard the O’Brien-trained Roderic O’Connor, who is 10-1 with William Hill for the Epsom Derby. Murtagh could have one more big race ride for Coolmore if its Canadian International winner Joshua Tree goes in the Japan Cup on Nov. 28.