Watching Saturday evening’s 194th Corsa Dell’Arno the great historic handicap of Florence and the extraordinary dominance of the Botti family(first five home trained either by Endo or Alduino), it appeared that their dominance of Italian racing was at least the equal of the O Brien’s in Ireland or the Arab Sheikh’s in Britain.Don’t get me wrong nothing against the Botti family but competition is the life blood of all Sports. However it only took twenty four hours to realise that there are young Italian trainers who are determined to succeed at the highest level and Bruno Grizzetti is not the only trainer with the ability to compete with the Botti clan for the biggest prizes.
Diego Dettori bought a filly by Power -Storyline(Kodiac) at Goffs for a mere 3,500 guineas in 2019.In 2020 the Jean Brennan bred filly was a delight to watch in her races winning four from six with Niccola Pinna on board including three listed races.Only Aria Importante could reign the Limerick bred filly in.Most people didn’t believe that either filly would be so effective at a mile but not Diego Dettori who produced Wakanaka for the Cesare Dell Occhi over the mile and after her startling performance it was obvious that she was a serious candidate for the Regina Elena.Aria Importante was just as impressive in the Premio Seregno and when Telepatic Glances was diverted to Longchamp the stage was set for round three in the star fillies private battle.
Just as with the O Briens the Botti horses run on their merits and Silvano Mulas on Havana Love for Alduino and Tore Sulas on Mutamaiezah for Endo were determined to find any stamina chinks in the two favourites.The pace on the soft ground was blistering the race run almost a second faster than the colts in the Parioli.Wakanaka was slightly boxed in until two furlongs out but near the leaders just as Pierre Charles Boudot came to win his race on Aria Importante who for a few strides might have passed Havana Love but then Luca Maniezzi unleashed Wakanaka and whoosh the race was over in a few strides.Havana Love to her credit battled to the line and Memo De L’Alguer finishing like a train deprived Aria Importante of third.Gabriele Candi on UNIRE tv described Wakanaka’s performance as truly devastating and how right he was.Italy’s Loss will be New York’s gain as the filly was sold to Team Valor before the race for reputedly well over one hundred times what she cost as a yearling.Wakanaka will be trained by the Legendary Bill Mott and it will be very interesting to see how she gets on.Jean Brennan meanwhile has her half sister by Footstepsinthesand and I imagine a lot of interest for her especially from Milan and Rome.The Kilmallock lady has now emulated the achievement of her Father Joe O Regan who bred the 1984 winner Honey(see our article Kilmallock and Tuscany)
Aria Importante didn’t have the good ground she needed to see out the mile but on any ground Wakanaka would have won yesterday but the Twilight Son filly will still have a big future but perhaps at shorter distances.Havana Love is a terrific honest filly who gave her all but the sensation of the race was the Sandra Russell bred Memo de l’Alguer who was flying at the finish.Moment of Truth her Dam is a half sister to Zafisio winner of the Criterium International(G1)and the Hessen Pokal(G3)over ten furlongs, and to Gold Trail a very good winner over a mile and a half so Francesco Oppes must be considering a tilt at the Oaks D’Italia.The big disappointment of the race was Sphere Of Fire who unlike her previous starts was held up yesterday.She seemed to be fighting with Antonio Fresu early on and was eased from a long way out.With more experience she will have other chances.
Unlike the Regina Elena the trials for the Parioli were inconclusive, a series of close finishes and form being reversed.I like others felt that Vis a Vis now at level weights would prove his class but how wrong I was as the ultra game Fayathaan(Mehmas-Beauty Of The Sea(Elusive Quality)saw off all challengers especially Cirano with the inexperienced Wopart two lengths back in third closely followed by the dead heaters Lord Bay and Convivio.
Roberto Biondi bought the Ann/John Foley(Bruff) and Tally Ho bred colt at a horses in training sale for 85,000 guineas with the Parioli in mind. The Mehmas colt was after winning twice in January on the all weather and Biondi and owner Luigi Roveda felt with the confused form it could prove a good investment.Fayathaan’s first Italian race was hardly promising finishing fifth in the Gardone behind Bjorn,Mordimi and Vis a Vis getting eight pounds from the latter.Biondi however believed in the colt and booked Alberto Sanna just back from a successful spell in the Middle East. Sanna a member of the great Sardinian jockey clan is a top top jockey and showed it yesterday with a spectacularly forceful ride.Always close to the moderate pace he hit the front two furlongs out but Cirano quickly loomed up on the outside and 100 metres from the post was a good neck ahead but with a mixture of forceful riding and typical Mehmas bravery Fayathaan was a short neck in front at the line.A brilliant success for the Foley’s in Bruff and Tally Ho in Mullingar and indeed for Irish breeding in Italy.I imagine Biondi willl give the winner a break and prepare him for an autumn campaign but perhaps the Carlo Vittadini on Oaks day could be a temptation.Fayathaan’s dam Beauty of the Sea was as we said by Elusive Quality out of Raymi Coya making her a half sister to Make Fast dam of the 2020 July stakes (G2)winner Tactical.
Regarding Derby contenders perhaps Convivio(Casamento-Cralegre(Montalegre)who dead heated for fourth with Lord Bay will be a candidate.Montalegre twice won the Coppa d’Oro over a mile and seven furlongs so he should have no stamina issues.
With the classics taking up so much space we will review all the other weekends activity in another article tomorrow and a lot of it there was including a big Derby trial,a serious Oaks candidate and some top class national hunt in Milan