Roger Varian capped a magnificent 2014 season with Group 1 glory in the Criterium International over a mile on soft ground at Saint-Cloud.
Master Apprentice took the field along and still held the advantage swinging into the straight, where the 9 runners elected to corner wide and race down the stand side.
A host of horses were in with chances but it was Vert De Grece, under Umberto Rispoli, who seized the race in the final furlong, surging clear of their rivals for a decisive victory. John Gosden’s colt Johnny Barnes finished second to secure a one-two for Newmarket trainers, with Sherlock back in third place.
Vert De Grece is a son of Verglas, who had finished ½ a length second to Convergence at Leopardstown on debut, a race in which he had Gleneagles, Parish Boy and Toscanini behind. He was trained by John Murphy at the time and in early August on his second start, landed a Leopardstown maiden by ½ a length from Hail The Hero.
His last start before joining Varian saw him ruin another fine race when ¾ of a length second to Gleneagles in the Group 2 Futurity Stakes at the Curragh in late August. He looks an exciting prospect for 2015.