An event in Sicily this week shows to what extent Italian racing is a shop window for the USA,Japan and Hong Kong despite its present problems.Filly of Malta a two year old daughter of the National Stud stallion National Defense(his first winner)and Amusing Plan was bred by the Hyland family of Oghill House Stud in Monasterevin.The filly was sold at Tattersalls for 2,500 gns to Mark Cuschieri a Maltese businessman whose horses are trained by Antonino Cannella in Siracusa.On May 8 She made her debut in the Premio Alceo in Siracusa over six furlongs and despite being the stable outsider she won very easily.Within days Signor Cuschieri was approached by an agent working for a Japanese client and the filly was sold for 150,000 Euro.Not bad profit in eight months.We will do the full story next week.
On the Derby front we will do a full preview on Saturday morning but there have been changes to both runners and riders.Ralph Beckett has booked Ioritz Mendizabal winner of the French 2000 last Sunday on St Marks Basilica to ride the Frankel colt Fabilis while the BGA informed Frankie Dettori and Andrea Atzeni they would miss the Epsom Derby and their commitments if they went to Rome.Alduino Botti has replaced Dettori with Mario Sanna on Flag’s Up but pulled Vento Di Passioni out of the race deeming that the inexperienced but talented colt needed a steady hand.Fabio Branca has chosen to ride Tomiz with Silvano Mulas on Sopran Posseidone.
This weekends racing is of the highest quality and the Milan card on Saturday deserves attention.Four listed races and runners from Italy,Germany, Hungary and Switzerland will be in competition.The highlight of the card for me is the Premio Nogara named after perhaps the most important mare in the history of the sport, the dam of the great Nearco and a fine racemare in her own right.Sixteen three year old fillies will try and win the seven furlong event including many of the principles from the Regina Elena.The shrewd German trainer Peter Schiergen sends Liberty Island ridden by their champion jockey the Kazakh Bauyrzhan Murzabayef.The Maxios filly has already won in France this year and will make an impact.The two Endo Botti fillies Mutamaiezah and Sphere Of Fire who disappointed in the guineas get a chance to redeem themselves.Stable jockey Antonio Fresu this time rides the Waterford bred but Frenchman Gerard Mosse has been booked for the Liam and Noreen O Donovan bred filly.There is also Al Siq so impressive in the Mantovani last year.Bruno Grizzetti sent her to Longchamp for the Marcel Boussac but she unfortunately got injured and hasn’t run since.Expect a big improvement from both Endo Botti fillies but I think the distance will be perfect for Aria Importante so brilliant at two but unable to contain Wakanaka in the guineas.
The Premio Bereguardo for the older brigade over a mile is at least Group 3 standard.The Hungarian and Swiss champion milers Cirfandli and Thalissa will challenge Fulminix(OR109)and the Italian champion miler of 2019 and 2020 Out Of Time(top rated 115) who has been far from his best this year.Throw in Pensiore D’Amore and Biederman from Dormello and what a race.The heart says Out Of Time but the head says Fulminix is the safer bet.
The Premio Mezzanotte over eleven furlongs on the tough Milanese course will have a premium on stamina.We therefore have four German invaders and one from Switzerland. the Roland Dzubasz trained Stex in 2020 won the Group 2 Federico Tesio and the group 3 Premio Giubileo and is an obvious favourite.The home brigade will be led by Raffaele Biondi’s Elisa Again and Endo Botti’s Wonderful World.The latter is a very interesting filly and might just surprise Stex and the rest of the Teutonic invasion.
Last but by no means least is the principle Oaks trial the Mario Incisa Della Rocchetta named after Ribot’s owner.No Irish breeder has had the consistent success enjoyed by Aidan Sexton in Italy. He has bred well over 130 winners in the Peninsula and two of the favourites here originated in the Sweep Lane Stud in Nurney Co.Kildare. Ginger Beer ran a tremendous race when winning the nine furlong Premio Altaguardia last time out while Sopran Basilea ran well in the Alberto Chantre when second to Zelandia.Raffaele Biondi is in top form and the latter might hold off the two Sexton bred fillies.
Friday in Rome will see Windstormblack back in action after his sensational 56.2 second win in Rome on his debut.The Premio Mondoturf.net is over an extra furlong but I expect the Sebastiano Guerrieri trained colt to book his place in the Primo Passi Italy’s Phoenix stakes.