Most Italian attention was focused on London this weekend with the footballers becoming European Champions and Matteo Berrettini going down with honour in the Mens Final at Wimbledon. Italian interest was also widespread in Racing as Derby Italiano winner Tokyo Gold was a good second to Bolshoi Ballet in the Belmont Derby(G1 2000m) in New York and Royal Ashirah third in the Prix Yacolef over one thousand metres in Chantilly. Tokyo Gold ran very well and could be even better over a slightly longer trip. The Guerrieri filly also ran well as the soft ground she encountered in Deauville was very different to what she experienced in her two wins in Capannelle. The Michael Downey and Peter Kavanagh bred filly has been sold and will continue her career in Maisons Laffitte with Gianluca Bietolini son of Roman trainer Luciano who of course trained Tuscan Gaze to the Derby Italiano in 2020. Gianluca is becoming a big beneficiary of The Italian agriculture ministries unwillingness or inability to pay its debts on any sort of a reasonable timescale. These people are apparently totally oblivious to the harm they are doing to an important Italian industry which is leading to the flight of many top professionals jockeys, trainers and owners. A consequence of their stupidity is that five Italian flat training operations Bietolini, Alessandro Botti, Maurizio Guarnieri Simone Broggi and Mario Baratti in the first few months of the season in France have won over fifty races worth in excess of 1,5 million Euro. Unless the Draghi government quickly reform the sector this haemorrhage is likely to continue and recent green shoots will quickly disappear.
None of this stopped the Neapolitan Racing public enjoying a terrific evenings entertainment on Saturday. The Conqueror (Excelebration-March Madness (Noverre) both sire and dam trained by Alduino and Stefano Botti is not just a top class sprinter but a model of consistency. Twenty Eight starts Eighteen wins including ten at either group or listed level speaks for itself. In Agnano on Saturday the six year old won his third Premio Citta Di Napoli equalling his own course record of 55.5 seconds in the process. Even more impressive was that Tore Sulas never once resorted to the whip as the Champion toyed with the opposition. I suspect the only thing stopping Team Botti sending The Conqueror to France or England is the type of soft ground prevalent at Deauville yesterday. The Conqueror won both the Omenoni and Certosa on a soft terrain but he is clearly happier on the kind of surface he gets in Rome or Naples. He is officially rated 112 on his best run this year but on a quick surface and a decent draw he would mix it with the very best. Puerto Princesa in second ran the race of her life, the Patrick Ryan bred filly is yet another Guerrieri/Cascione trained sprinter on her best form right now. Royal Mehmas in third ran well without ever threatening to win while Sphere Of Fire is probably best suited to a longer trip.
Antonio Fresu must have thought he had the Premio Soragna (HPB 3+F 1800m) wrapped up as he saw off the challenge of Sulas on Sugar Beat but champion jockey Dario Vargiu appeared out of nowhere on Come To Run (Holy Roman Emperor-Twice Certain(Lawman) to win by a head on the line.To rub salt into the wound Dame De Coeur was disqualified for interfering with the third. Come to Run bred by O Connor International in Clonmel won her first three starts as a two year old but seemed to have lost her way in 2021 but Vargiu certainly got a tune out of her in Agnano. Twice Certain the dam is a sister to the Prix Vanteaux (G3) winner and Prix Saint Alary(G1) runner up Epic Love.
Only Time and Frozen Juke had dead heated for second in the Premio Signorino behind Attimo Fuggente and finished third and fourth behind the same horse in the G2 Premio Presidente della Repubblica so we knew there would be little between the two old rivals in the Premio Partenopei over 1700 metres. Two of the best milers in Italy battled it out over the last two furlongs with a very good Biederman in third. Only Time just held off the Michael Mcglynn bred son of Frozen Power but was disqualified for Sulas dangerous use of the whip. Naples are working at upgrading this race to listed status which is very much a possibility as this years running was of a group three level.
A very international weekend and we will finish with Red Beer a ten length winner over 1750 metres in Corridonia on Thursday. Bred by Mount Coote Stud in Kilmallock trained by Luis Alberto Acuna an Argentine now thirty years in Italy the son of Fountain Of Youth led from start to finish and won in an absolute canter. Red beer had been running over sprint distances but the step up to almost nine furlongs seems to give the colt a new dimension. Senor Acuna tells us he will be aimed at the Premio Scuderia Daytona over the course and distance in two weeks.
Racing this week will be Tuesday in Varese (17.00),Naples on Wednesday (16.35) Corridonia on Thursday, Sassari and Follonica on Friday, Varese on Saturday with Siracusa,Tagliacozzo and Merano all on Sunday. The highlights will be at Ippodromo Mediterraneo on Sunday with the Premio Citta Di Siracusa a handicap Principale B over a mile and the Criterium Aretuseo a Handicap Principale C over ten furlongs but a lot of eyes will be turned to Chantilly to watch the Prix Robert Papin and Windstormblack and to Longchamp on Wednesday to see Oaks D’Italia runner up Cima Star in the Prix De Malleret(G2) over 2400 metres.