Kiram cruises to classy Criterium success
Report: France, Saturday
Maisons-Laffitte: Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte (Group 2) 6f, 2yo
KIRAM kicked off a big-race double for Jean-Claude Rouget and Christophe Soumillon in making it three wins from four starts, while the twin Anglo-Irish assault came up short on truly punishing ground
Wearing the emerald green silks of the Aga Khan, for whom he officially resumes business as first jockey on January 1, Soumillon was content to sit on the outside of runners before Kiram cruised through to pick-off Hidden Oasis and Fran Berry.
"He'd already proved he had the quality but he had to go and do it on that ground which is tough," said Rouget. "I hope he'll stay further next year - there's stamina on the dam's side and I expect we'll try him up in trip."
This Time and Passing Burg filled out the places, as the David Wachman-trained Hidden Oasis faded back into sixth.
The son of Lawman had endured a lengthy return trip to Wachman's base in County Tipperary, following the abandonment of the original fixture, a factor which Berry felt may have cost his mount in the closing stages.
"He travelled really well into the race and going to the furlong pole I thought I'd take some catching but, he just came under pressure and struggled the last 100 metres," said Berry. "He was only home for three days and that might have taken the edge off him but I'm sure there'll be plenty of good days with him next season."
Ollie Pears was far from downhearted by the effort of No Leaf Clover, who finished one place further back on ground well beyond his optimum.
Pears said: "I've never seen ground that deep. We actually discussed whether we should be running but we gave it a shot and he's only been beaten five lengths."
Also on Saturday
Maisons-Laffitte: Prix Miesque (Group 3) 7f, 2yo fillies
Lacarolina got the better of a desperate battle with Xcellence as Soumillon added win number 220 for the season, just six shy of his own French record.
Lacarolina appeared not quite to get home over a mile in the Prix d'Aumale but showed plenty of resolution to battle back after appearing to be headed.
"She didn't breathe at all throughout the race so she did really well to win," said Rouget. "I think from that point of view she'll be better going round a bend although there aren't a lot of options at that distance."
Francois Doumen was pleased and frustrated in equal measure after Xcellence just failed to add to her maiden win.
He said: "I can see her having a good career at three. Apart from one occasion when things didn't go well she keeps running well against very good horses."
Maisons-Laffitte: Prix dec Seine-et-Oise (Group 3) 6f, 3yo+
A Group race treble for Rouget and Soumillon was foiled in courageous style as the Mario Hofer-trained Kolonel held off the challenge of Wedge Trust.
Kolonel wasn't entered for the race on the original strike-hit card but Hofer was pleased to see the ground ease further in the intervening 11 days.
"He's won two Listed races in Germany, both on very soft ground so, these are the conditions he shows his best form in," said Hofer, who sent out Pastorius to win the opening Group 1 of the French season, the Prix Ganay.