03/14/2008 11:00PM

Spirit One, Hattan sharp victors in France, England


A pair of Group 3 races, one in France and one in England, kicked the European turf season up a notch on Saturday. At Saint-Cloud in France, Spirit One won the Prix Exbury in style, while over the channel, Hattan was a good winner in the Winter Derby on the Polytrack at Lingfield Park.

Spirit One was winless in his 3-year-old campaign following a good juvenile season, but now looks backs in good form. Sent off the even-money favorite under Christophe Soumillon, he took up the running soon after entering the straight, and quickened clear.

A son of Anabaa Blue, Spirit One won by an unchallenged three lengths over Balius. Spirit One is expected to have the the Prix Hocquart and Prix Ganay as his next starts.

At Lingfield, Hattan won the Winter Derby by two lengths, quickening up well from mid-pack to take the lead at the eighth pole. He was well placed throughout the race by Seb Sanders, which was important in a race that attracted a maximum field of 14, and where space was at a premium.

This was in stark contrast to the favorite, Silver Pivotal, who was flying at the finish under Jamie Spencer to take second. Silver Pivotal had been held back early and was left with plenty to do in the Lingfield straight, which measures about 1 1/2 furlongs.