Sad tidings reached all racing fans on Christmas night when the news broke of the sad passing of Luciano D’Auria one of the finest trainers of his era and who will be eternally associated with the truly great Falbrav. D’Auria had a short period as a jockey but weight problems cut his career short and he set up as a trainer just North of Milan. Born in 1934, by the late eighties he was among the leading trainers in Italy. Cunizza Da Romano was a top class middle distance filly winning the Group 3 Ambrosiano and only Lester Piggott on Lady Bentley deprived her of victory in the 1987 Oaks D’Italia (G1). Classic glory would not have to wait long for D’Auria however in the shape of the Be My Guest colt Pelder who was champion two year old in Italy in 1992 winning the Gran Criterium (G1) at the expense of the Richard Hannon trained Right Win who himself would be a top class three year old. Pelder duly won the the 1993 Parioli (G1 2000 guineas) and proved a top class animal also winning the Prix Ganay and was runner up in both the Prix Harcourt and D’Isapahan.Two years earlier the Milanese based trainer had won the Jockey Club (G1) with Erdilistan who would later win the Federico Tesio and the Furstenberg Rennen in Baden Baden. However his masterpiece would have to wait another decade in arriving in the form of the incomparable Falbrav a son of Fairy King. A good but not outstanding two year old Falbrav improved at three being runner up in the Derby Italiano to Morshdi who followed up being second to Galileo in the Irish Derby before winning the Grosser Preis Von Baden Baden.It was at four that the Scuderia Rencati owned horse began to come into his own winning three group 1 races the Presidente Della Repubblica (2000m), the Gran Premio Di Milano (2400m) both under Dario Vargiu and famously the Japan Cup (2200m) with Frankie Dettori. Italian champion in 2002,European champion in 2003 Falbrav was World number 1 in 2004 but now with Luca Cumani after his owner sold a half share in the horse after which a row ensued between owners and trainer which ended with the removal of Falbrav from Milan. Falbrav would win five more group 1 races with Cumani but the bulk of his career had been with D’Auria. Now seventy it was a bittersweet end to a career of many high class horses and some glorious days not just with Falbrav, Pelder and Erdilistan.
At Pisa on Sunday the public enjoyed a superb days racing with the highlight being the Premio Piazza Dei Miracoli (LR 2250M) where Alduino Botti and Sergio Urru teamed up to bring the well backed Lyrical(4F Poets Voice – Reaching Ahead) a comfortable winner from the ever consistent Unique Diamond and Clarenzio Fan with the German invader No Waltz fourth. Mooney Love easy in the market made no show nor did the other three year old hope Tiaspettofuori).The best performance of the day in my humble opinion came in the sixty third running of the Premio San Rossore (HPB 1600m) when the Endo Botti trained three year old filly Deadline lumped 63 kilos to victory from Stablemate Stella Di Mantova(55kgs) with Amyntas (54kgs) third.The first three home were all Italian bred with Silver Mission (Yeomanstown) fourth. Deadline already a group 3 winner in the Premio Cumani will be expected to bring more black type for the Botti/Brivio team in 2022. The Pisa based outfit completed a big race double in the Premio Camici (HPB 1200) where champion Dario Vargiu rode the Footstepsinthesand three year old You Make Me Shever to a head victory from the Sheridan/Fitzgerald bred Storm Part. Danny Ocean (David Allen) was third. Storm Part’s defeat summed up a luckless season for Niccolo Simondi who certainly was not favoured by good fortune in 2021. The two year old Premio Goldoni(HPC 1600) was won by Tore Sulas on the Havana Gold filly Insomma who was a head too good for Dormello’s Vecello. Vecello a son of Helmet is still very immature and is one for the 2022 notebook.The Arcano colt Parco Sempione giving away ten pounds to the winner was third ahead of the Browne Bros bred Miracle Of Life.
Not much luck for the Irish breds in Pisa but a different story in Siracusa where five of the race were won by horses carrying the IRE prefix.The highlight in Sicily was the Premio Gaetano Francicanava (HPC 2100m) where the Robert Ng bred Antonino Cannella trained Canoeing was the winner in a sensational finish with a neck and a nose seperating the first four. Canoeing is a four year old by Le Havre who was winning his third handicap here. The other Irish bred winners on the day were Nicole’s Song (Golden Vale Stud) Live On Stage (Tara Stud),Charlies Jamboree (WT Whittle) and Russalka (D Boyle)
Racing continues Monday in Naples, Wednesday in Livorno with the long awaited Coppa Del Mare (HPB),Thursday in Chilivani when the Sardinian track will be celebrating 100 years of existence and the last meeting of 2021 Friday in Rome. Saturday January 1st will see us back in Pisa with Livorno celebrating another meeting on Sunday. Remember you can see all the action live on www.italianhorseracing.com.
Dario Vargiu has wrapped up the jockeys title and Alduino Botti the trainers.Champion sire will be Arcano whilst El Kabeir will be leading sire of juveniles.All the statistics we will have for you in the new year.
If you miss a race the videos are available in the results section.
After a hectic first nine months we are going to take a break until January 4 and would like to wish everybody a very happy new year and hope you have enjoyed our reports on Italian racing. In the first weeks of the new year we will give our middle distance ratings and then we will look at Italy’s best juveniles of 2021 with a special focus on Irish breds with hopes of classic glory.
We look forward to your continued support in 2022 with a special word to our sponsors Denckerman, Brembo and UFI. Great credit to Ally Kennedy for all her technical skills in publishing all the articles including photographs and videos.
VIDEO: Falbrav wins the 2002 Japan Cup for Luciano D’Auria and Frankie Dettori