Stott strikes on rare French visit as Hello Youmzain comes out on top
Kevin Ryan scooped a second French two-year-old Group prize in eight days as Hello Youmzain took another step forward to take the Group 2 Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte.
Jockey Kevin Stott's only previous experience in France was riding Roseburg as pacemaker for Postponed in the 2015 Prix Foy, but lack of familiarity was no problem as Hello Youmzain burst to the front inside the final two furlongs and, despite wandering, pulled clear of Queen Of Bermuda and Legends Of War to score by two and a half lengths.
"It was a big jump into Group races but we got the soft ground we wanted," said Stott. "He's still a big baby and as you could see, as soon as I hit the front he wanted to go left.
"I’m really looking forward to riding him next year and think he could be a very good horse.
"He probably would get seven furlongs next year and maybe a mile. He still needs to learn more about how to race but Mr [Jaber] Abdullah has a very nice horse."
Another Ryan-trained juvenile, East, had won a Saint-Cloud Group 3 a week earlier.
El Astronaute could be flying to the stars at the Breeders' Cup
El Astronaute has been one of the unsung stars of the season and now has richly-deserved black type after powering clear of King Malpic to land the Listed Prix de Bonneval under Jason Hart.
John Quinn made the trip from Malton to supervise and with good reason, as there may be one more date in the calendar for El Astronaute this year.
"He'd run 11 times before today this year and he’s never been out of the money," said Quinn. "He's won two high-class handicaps at York and was placed in a race that threw up the winner of the Nunthorpe. He's so commendable."
El Astronaute didn't appear to be wholly in love with the soft ground late on, but Quinn is hoping that won't be a problem should he be given the chance to run one more time this season.
"Sprinters can all of a sudden start improving and this year he's been so good, and I’m hoping he’ll improve again," said Quinn. "If he got invited I’d love to take him to the Breeders' Cup over today's trip of five and a half furlongs. He needed to win today for that to be a possibility."
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