An Incredible few days entertainment with no less than ten black type races, horses coming from nine countries, and two brothers riding classic winners 10,000 kilometres apart makes the 2021 Italian Derby weekend the most cosmopolitan in the World. It was wonderful to see spectators back in Capannelle not just enjoying the racing but the delightful atmosphere in a very pleasant if windy 23 degrees.
From a purely Italian point of view it was all very positive with the foreign raiders kept at bay in all of the races except in the Derby itself and even then its favourite son won his fifth Derby in seven years on board Tokyo Gold trained in France by a Japanese trainer who is a self confessed lover of Italy. Mirco Demuro started the ball rolling for the family winning the Japanese Oaks on Uberleben twelve hours before Demuro Junior as he is known dominated Capannelle, riding only a double but displaying all the talent that makes him so popular in his native land. Mirco the elder brother now forty one was five times Italian champion before moving to France and later Japan while Cristian twenty nine has been three times Champion in Italy before moving to Japan and then France.These eight Frustino D’Oro titles are part of the reason for the popularity the brothers enjoy in Italy whilst other great Italian jockeys abroad don’t feel the same love in their homeland.
That this generation of Italian three year old colts are poor in comparison to the fillies was demonstrated once more on Sunday when the nearest to glory was Rio Natal in fifth.The Ringfort stud bred son of Sir Prancealot finished very well after a bad start and surely will win good races. Demuro kept Tokyo Gold in the pack until three furlongs out and despite being still a little green he put the race to bed very quickly. Trained in Chantilly by the Japanese born Satoshi Kobayashi who is well on his way to his best ever season in Europe,Tokyo Gold is a son of the French miler Kendargent out of Biancarosa a daughter of Dalakhani and the Italian mare Rosa Di Brema whose son Agiato ran poorly in the Tudini half an hour later. Rosa Di Brema also produced Folega who won the Oaks D’Italia for Alduino and Stefano Botti. Kendargent is a stallion now coming into his own with this success and Skaletti who has won the Prix D’Harcourt(G2) this year and previously the Premio Roma (G2) and Prix Dollar (G2) and finishing second in the Champion Stakes. Tokyo Gold a listed winner at two had finished a three and a quarter length fourth in the Prix Noailles (G3) behind two of the favourites for the Prix Du Jockey Club. Kobayashi’s charge is the first French trained winner since Andre Fabre’s Gentlewave in 2006. That form looks even better today, Mythico eight in the Noailles has just won the German 2000 guineas in Cologne. If Cheshire Academy and Pretty Tiger run well in the Jockey Club it will certainly help put the Derby Italiano back in the mainstream.Juan De Montalban did Ballylinch stud proud and they can look forward to seeing the Lope De Vega Colt enjoy good days in the peninsula or further afield (Raffaele Biondi thinking of the King Edward seventh stakes). Ballylinch manager John O Connor bred a winner on the day as Infinity Focus won the amateur handicap over eight and a half furlongs.
- Demuro dedicated the win to his Father who passed away last September and he was very emotional on Italian TV afterwards. Giovanni Battista the Father was a fine jockey himself. When Mirco was in his teens the family left Sardinia for Rome and Cristian literally grew up in Capannelle where despite his commitments in France he invariably returns for the big race days and holidays on the beautiful Mediterranean island which is the home of so many fine horsemen. Cristian showed all of his class in the Premio Carlo D’Alessio on Baptism. He controlled the race from start to finish on the son of Sea The Stars who will now be aimed at the Gran Premio Di Milano on June 27. He used all of his experience of French racing and blunted the stamina of German favourite Nubius. Seamie Heffernan for one believes these tactics are more and more common. Baptism trained by Alduino Botti was bred by Tullpark Ltd and Gerard and Eileen Kennedy.
- Fabio Branca had more problems with Attimo Fuggente before the race than in the Presidente Della Repubblica as the Son of Exceed and Excel and Vague Nouvelle winner of the 2014 Regina Elena put in the best performance by a male Italian horse in 2021.Branca led from coast to coast, despite Demuro’s best efforts on last years winner Thunderman, Attimo Fuggente cruised home. The Premio Roma over ten furlongs or the Vittorio Di Capua at a mile are possible autumn targets for this delicate and temperamental four year old but Botti must also be thinking of bringing the lightly raced chestnut to France for a group 1 prize.
- Cirano gave the Parioli form a boost of sorts with a brave win in the Premio Sbariggia but Strawberry Souce the only filly in the race was less than three lengths behind the Arcano colt compared to the nine behind Wakanaka in the Regina Elena. Aria Importante unable to match Wakanaka over the Rome mile was imperious in the Premio Nogara over Milan’s seven furlongs on Saturday.She simply destroyed the opposition as the tv commentator called it DEVASTANTE.The daughter of Twilight Son and Aria Di Festa was followed home by three very good Irish bred fillies, Sphere Of Fire (Noreen and Liam Donovan) Mutaimaiezah(Michael Ryan) and Chipie D’Irlande (Ringfort Stud)
- We raved about The Conqueror in our weekend preview but he ran badly fifth behind the three year old Collinsbay in the Premio Tudini. Drawn wide the son of Excelebration used too much energy to get to the rails and in the final furlong there was nothing left in the tank as Luciano Vitabile’s tough son of Cable Bay comfortably kept the Hungarian sprint champion Crushing Power at bay with the Mcenery bred Royal Mehmas an excellent third.
- Bruno Grizzetti had a very disappointing weekend the one bright spot being in the Oaks trial the Mario Incisa Della Rocchetta when Sopran Basilea was brought by Fabio Branca with a steady run to comfortably beat Zelandia and La Gualtierra.The race was run in an excellent 2.02.8 and must give the Varese trainer a big chance in the Oaks in two weeks time when he can also call on the Sea The Stars filly Cima Star. On a line through La Gualtierra there is very little between Grizzetti’s two fillies.Aidan Sexton has bred a huge amount of winners in Italy but Sopran Basilea is potentially the best of the lot.
- Racing this week:
- Monday Merano (NH)
- Tuesday Rome
- Wednesday Follonica and Milan
- Thursday Florence
- Friday Chilivani and Rome
- Saturday Milan
- Sunday Rome Milan and Merano(NH)
- Remember you can see all of the races live on www.italianhorseracing.com