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Longchamp

  • 14:25 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere 6f 211y

  • (Group 1 colts & fillies) €349,999 added 2yo 7 ran
  • Winner:
  • Going: Good to Soft
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 1m 18.40s
  • Off time: 14:34:06

Craftsman Flops Behind Naaqoos

Last Updated: 05/10/08 4:49pm

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Mastercraftsman - only fourth.

Mastercraftsman - only fourth.

Freddie Head saddled his fourth individual Group One winner of the season as Naaqoos powered to an impressive success in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Grand Criterium) at Longchamp.

Aidan O'Brien's Mastercraftsman was sent off the odds-on favourite having maintained an unbeaten record through the summer, but Johnny Murtagh's mount was beaten halfway down the straight as Naaqoos charged along at the head of affairs.

The 9-2 chance had broken well under Davy Bonilla and travelled powerfully before seeing off all-comers.

His superiority was reduced to a neck at the line as Milanais lunged late, with the pair two lengths clear of Intense Focus in third and Mastercraftsman back in fourth.

Coral pushed the latter out to 10-1 for the Stan James 2000 Guineas while trimming his stablemate Rip Van Winkle to 4-1 from 5s at the head of a market, a move mirrored by totesport who quote the winner at 14-1 for Classic glory.

Head's victory was a huge success for the home nation who last secured the seven-furlong event in 2003 with American Post, trained by Head's sister Criquette who had scored earlier in the afternoon with Proportional.

Naaqoos received lofty praise from five-time champion jockey Willie Carson, partner of the great Nashwan, as he said the son of Oasis Dream has a very similar and attractive action.

Head said: "I think he's a great horse, a real champion because he's a hell of a mover and he's very good in his head, very well balanced. He's got everything to be a good horse.

"He's an extraordinary mover and a very good intelligent horse, very clever.

"That's the first time this year that he's got out of the stalls. He shot out and then Davy was right. Instead of fighting him, he let him lead, they were not going very fast and he won very well the other day on the same course.

"We'll talk with Sheikh Hamdan about which 2000 Guineas to go for, but he could be the right horse for Newmarket."

However, Sheikh Hamdan's racing manager Angus Gold said: "He is trained in France and obviously I am not saying Sheikh Hamdan wouldn't want to run in the English Guineas, but I am sure he would be happy to run in the French Guineas - we will just have to see how he winters."

Intense Focus ran a big race for Jim Bolger, who said: "He ran very well. We'll have to see how he comes out of the race but there is the possibility we could run him in the Dewhurst."

O'Brien put up Mastercraftsman's hard race against Mark Johnston's Shaweel last time as a possible reason for his lacklustre display.

The trainer, responsible for the Lagardere winner five times since the turn of the century, said: "It was probably one race too many for him as he had a hard effort on soft ground."

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