Who is going to depose L’Estran from his crown in the Gran Premio Di Merano (G1 5000m €250,000) on September 25? The great champion of Scuderia Aichner and Pepe Vana effortlessly strode to victory in the Premio Creme Anglaise(LR 3800m) from the high class Czech challenger First Of All with the seven time group 1 winner Notti Magiche a distant third. The son of Linda’s Lad and Lesoquera next run will be in Italy’s greatest steeplechase and barring accidents it will take a great champion to stop the four in a row.
JP Mcmanus owns his six year old half brother L’Impertinent a two time winner earlier in the year. Enda Bolger’s charge however hasnt shown anything so far to suggest he in L’Estran’s class.
Nothing so clear cut in the “Siepi” equivalent the Premio Ristorante Roessl over 3300 metres.This despite Zanini being four lengths clear of Mauricius with the third O Juke a distance back and the Polish challenger Noble Eagle fourth. Zanini is an ultra consistent nine year old who fully deserved his victory. Runner up last September in the Gran Corsa Siepi Di Merano(G1) over an extra seven hundred metres and that perhaps is the key. Todays trip perfect for Zanini but runner up Mauricius already the winner of the Gran Corsa Siepi Nazionale(G1) and the Gran Corsa Siepi Di Milano(G1) both over the longer trip will love the extra distance in September.The third O Juke although a long way back was only having his second race over hurdles and will improve a lot from todays contest. We must remember Rafa Romano’s son of Jukebox Jury was the winner of the 2018 St Leger on the flat as well as the Regione Toscana so the extra distance will also probably be in his favour.
The Premio EBF Terme Di Merano(LR 3+F 2200m) was a tremendous race with Ralf Rohne’s Norge just getting the better of Team Botti’s Lyrical by a short head with 2021 Oaks runner up Cima Star running her best race since in third just ahead of Accola. Norge fresh from winning the Premio Del Giubileo (G3) at San Siro went for her race two furlongs down taking over from the front running Lyrical who however fought back like a lioness and it was only on the nod that Dario Di Tocco’s mount got the verdict. Lyrical winner of the listed Mezzanotte from Norge I believe now needs 2400 metres as does the Sea The Stars Filly Cima Star who after recent disappointments may bring Grizzetti Galoppo some Autumnal joy.
The fourth Accola filled the same position on her most recent start the Grosser Preis Der Magdeburg(G3).
Norge is by Dylan Thomas out of Nazbanou winner of this race in 2016 and whose year younger colt Narik (Ruler Of The World) was runner up in Sundays Grosser Preis Von Berlin(G1). She is sister to a GP Von Berlin winner Nymphea and the Deutsches Derby winner Nutan.
Lyrical’s jockey Sergio Urru got quick compensation in the Premio Delle Alpi (HPC 1600m) when arriving late on Irish Girl to deprive Botti’s Bell Imbusto of what looked an assured victory.
Alduino and Stefano Botti didnt enjoy a very good day and stable star Atzeco was well below his best in the Premio Merano(LR 2400m). We suspected that the Fastnet Rock colt would find the trip on the sharp side and it was surprising that Dario Vargiu allowed Antonio Fresu set the pace on Halimi. Two furlongs out Andreas Wohler’s son of Camelot, Panjari swept by and only the French horse Jacksun offered any opposition. The winner is out of Path Wind runner up in the 2013 Premio Lydia Tesio (G1). Beautifully bred but clearly a handful if Panjari can settle there could be more big days to come.
Sunday night at the Ippodromo Caprilli at Livorno was a huge success with a sold out crowd enjoying beautiful weather and good racing. The famous Coppa Del Mare (HPB 2250m) was won in great style by the Gavino Sanna ridden Caterpillar (Arakan-Cenere) who cruised home from two of Team Botti’s contenders top weight Midnight Season and Fambrus. Caterpillar owned and bred by Francesca Turri and trained by Marco Gasparini was winning for the tenth time. Winner of the 2021 Premio Citta Di Varese I imagine that will be his next target in two weeks.
Alduino and Stefano did however enjoy success with three juveniles over the weekend. Sweet Lord made it two from two in the Criterium Labronico over 1500 metres at Livorno whilst two newcomers were good winners at Merano on Sunday.
Plotter(Pounced) just got better of stablemate Caeman over 1600 metres while in the Fillies equivalent Dark Chocolate made a very interesting debut. She is by Albert Dock who has had a mere fourteen runners so far in 2022 eleven of whom have won, with three black types. Albert Dock’s other juvenile runner so far Love Tear has also won her only start.
This week has shown at Corridonia on Thursday,Livorno on Sunday and Merano on Monday that the crowds will flock to Italian racetracks if the package is right. The cosmopolitan nature of the racing is another attribute. Over the weekend runners arrived from Germany,France, The Czech Republic, Poland and Switzerland to challenge the locals.
Tagliacozzu concluded their fourteen meeting 2022 programme on Sunday and like some of the other smaller tracks they are getting good local support and larger fields.
Racing this week at Corridonia on Thursday,Naples on Friday,Varese, Merano and Follonica on Saturday when the Tuscan track will celebrate its big day featuring the Premio Citta Di Follonica (HPB 1650m) and on Sunday Livorno and Merano with another excellent mixed card will race.
VIDEO: Mondays full programme at Merano