El Bodegon gifts Ferguson a first Group One success

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Trainer James Ferguson celebrated his first career Group One success as El Bodegon made all to win the Criterium de Saint-Cloud in France.

Ferguson’s two-year-old, starting at odds of 17/2, went from the front under jockey loritz Mendizabal and was never passed over the one-mile-and-two-furlong trip at Saint-Cloud.

Having won a seven-furlong novice event at Sandown on his second start in July, the son of Kodiac stepped up to a mile-and-one-furlong to win the Group Three Prix de Conde at Chantilly last month.

He seemed to relish the soft conditions once more in France, as well as the extra distance, as Charlie Appleby’s market favourite Goldspur, ridden by William Buick, was unable to keep up, fading eventually into third.

Aidan O’Brien’s Stone Age finished second, with Oisin Murphy on Buckaroo in fourth.

Ferguson told Sky Sports Racing: “We love the horse and we planned this after his last win but to be in front with over a furlong to go wasn’t really part of my planning. I thought he’d have to work very hard.

“He’s obviously improved with every run, mentally as well he takes travelling very well.

“I thought he was given a great ride and relaxed very well out in front.

“This horse is not overly big but there’s a lot of presence about him and it’s very exciting to wonder what we might have next year.”

Asked if Classics would be in the picture next year, Ferguson added: “He’s going to carry that Group One penalty now so you have to aim high. We’ll speak to the owners and tread his career carefully.”