Progressive Armory bids to give O'Brien another Criterium International victory
Criterium International (Group 1) | 7f | 2yo colts and fillies | Sky
Wet weekend weather denied a mob-handed Aidan O'Brien a chance to claim the Vertem Futurity at Doncaster on Saturday, but he'll hope to put that right in France with Armory, after stablemate Wichita was announced as a non-runner on Sunday morning.
Surprisingly, the master of Ballydoyle has yet to win a Group 1 with a two-year-old colt this season, but he bids to add to his four victories in this 7f contest, the most recent of which came with Johannes Vermeer in 2015.
Armory has had a consistent season. He has shaped well at the top level on his last two starts, finishing second to the brilliant Pinatubo in the National Stakes, before a close third in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere.
the last season when Aidan O'Brien did not have a Group 1-winning juvenile colt
O'Brien said: "Armory is in good form and we think he has progressed since his last outing, which was a slowly run affair. However, heavy ground will be far from ideal."
Alson finished one place ahead of Armory in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere and Frankie Dettori is booked to ride again for Jean-Pierre Carvalho. He had won his previous two starts before finishing behind Victor Ludorum on Arc weekend.
Carvalho said: "We kept him fresh for the autumn and he seems in good form. I don't see the drop back in distance as a negative – it's not always easy coming back in trip, but the 1,400m at Longchamp with the long straight to the second winning post takes some getting."
The Joseph O'Brien-trainer Lady Penelope completes the field. She was fourth in a Group 2 at Maisons-Laffitte last time and makes her first start since being purchased by Phoenix Thoroughbreds.
Her trainer said: "The trip is a bit of a concern but the ground shouldn't be a problem."
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