11/08/2003 1:00AM

Voix du Nord wins at St.-Cloud


Trainer David Smaga celebrated his first Group 1 victory in 9 1/2 years when Voix du Nord revealed great reserves of stamina to win the Criterium de Saint-Cloud in France on Saturday.

The Criterium de Saint-Cloud is the only Group 1 juvenile race of the European season to be run over the extreme distance of 1 1/4 miles, and, once English challenger Top Seed set a strong pace, it was apparent that the winner would have to be a very strong stayer.

Top Seed was three lengths in the lead with two furlongs to run but began to tire soon after. He was passed just after the eighth pole by the favorite, Simplex, but Simplex was in turn quickly passed by the 5-1 Voix du Nord, who ran on well under jockey Dominique Boeuf to register a 1 1/2-length victory. The winning time on turf that was officially "good to soft" but was described by the riders as "sticky" was 2:16.00.

Voix du Nord will now be aimed at next May's Prix du Jockey-Club (French Derby).