Saturday evening will see the Agnano track in Naples celebrate its biggest “Galoppo” meeting of the year.Trotting fans dont have to face the demands of the EPC and continue to enjoy group 1 races at Naples.Last weekends trotting version also called the Gran Premio Citta Di Napoli was worth €154,000. Unfortuntely the Gran Premio Citta Di Napoli over 1000 metres is now a Handicap Principale A worth a mere €31,900 in comparison to The Conqueror’s first of his hat trick of victories in 2019 being worth €50,600.Kathy Dream won in 2016 in a race worth €55,000 while in the early years of the century Naples most famous flat race was worth in excess of €80,000 with group 3 status.The EPC’s efforts over the years havent been very helpful at improving Italian racing or indeed the lot of the majority of breeders or owners around the continent.
Nevertheless the “Citta” will be as usual ultra competitive with a strong field led by Collinsbay winner of the 2021 Premio Tudini(G3).On his last run the son of Cable Bay was an excellent third in the listed Premio Certosa.This years Tudini saw the Kildaragh Stud bred Raifan finish second behind Agiato only to be placed third by the stewards.Both of these high class sprinters carry 61.5 kgs which although not an unstoppable burden gives some of the lesser known animals a chance.
Two of these are Naples course specialists trained by Barbara Matrullo. Hedgehog winner of ten races all over the course and distance and Astragalus who has won twelve times over Agnano’s minimum trip.The latter bred by G Donnelly and Ms C Clarke had his best day in the 2020 Premio Guido Ruffo which was won a year later by Hedgehog.
Live on Stage started his career with Team Botti winning the Criterium Ambrosiano before moving to Sicily where he also enjoyed some success.he has now joined Fabio Bocardelli and had his first run for his new stable when fifth behind Puerta Princesa and Hedhehog. Like Astragalus he carries the minimum 50 kgs and while I certainly would not rule out the DG Iceton bred I think Puerta Princesa with just a kilo more has a real chance of upsetting the top two.Trained by sprint specialist Sebastiano Guerrieri and bred by Patrick Ryan the Prince Of Lir filly was a high class two year old who disappointed a little in her second season before showing signs of her old self this year. Another Course and distance winner Django enjoyed an excellent success in the Premio Ricchi(HPC) at Rome.The Showcasing gelding Rooster has had good wins this year at Pisa and Milan while the Ronan Tynan bred Little Prince has gone close twice here in recent weeks.
A very hard race to call but Raifan even with joint top weight to show the value of his Tudini form with Puerta Princesa and Hedgehog to give him most to do.
The Premio Soragna(HPB 3+f 1800m) will see Happiness Therapy fourth in the Royal Mares behind Aria Importante and Telepatic Glances give five and a half kilos and upwards to the opposition.The Anna Giunta bred mare is the class horse of the race and has Dario Vargiu in the saddle but wont have it easy in a competitive race.Happiness Therapy’s two stablemates Dolce Napoli and Alma Mater are also serious contenders at the weights.The latter a daughter of Dragon Pulse bred at the National Stud in Kildare was a course and distance winner in January and last time out was fourth behind Sopran Kalypso at Milan.The latter certainly franked the form in last weeks Premio Benetti(HPC) at Varese. A very interesting runner is Salvatore Sulas mount Dolce Napoli winner of her first two races and then third behind the top class pair Nonna Ercolina and Atamisque in the Premio Tadolina.The Mujahid filly was then given a chance in an Oaks trial when she didnt stay before returning to this trip at Milan when runner up to Allison.The Paul Hancock bred Vendicari represents Sebastiano Guerrieri and is on a hat trick after wins at Rome and here over 1600.Interestingly however Carlo Fiocchi rides Francesco Santella’s Burattina a four time winner who made a rare successful French raid at Lyon earlier in the year. Alma Hera and Dolce Napoli to make the kilos count with the vote given to the four year old.
Dario Vargiu rides the Frankel colt Vento di Passsioni in the Premio Mergellina(HPC 2000m).Team Botti’s four year old promised a lot in his early career but has delivered little so far although he did show some promise last time out when fourth to Tomiz over this trip at Milan. Mr Gualano bred by Matt Duffy a multiple Handicap principale winner was third that day and there is no reason to suppose that Vento Di Passioni should reverse the form on similar terms.Flam winner of a similar contest in Rome last time out, Autre Etape winner of the Bruno Agriformi(HPB 2400m) and Casale Bottone attempting a four timer are all candidates.However one that might spring a surprise is the Rathasker stud bred Chiamami Boss who represents Luciano Bietolini.The five time winner is on a nice 54.5 kgs and ran well last time out over the course and distance when runner up to Redimaggio.
The Nastro D’Oro Di Sicilia(HPC 2100m) at Siracusa is a very competitive affair.Orange Suit bred by Barronstown stud a half brother to the St Leger heroine Simple Verse and the Ribblesdale winner Even Song has now won seven times at Siracusa including one over the course and distance.He is nicely weighed at 54.5 kgs and is an obvious candidate. Axcelerator(Excelebration) is the likely favourite for the Father and Son team of Giuseppe Cannarella senior and junior.The Sunderland Holdings bred Eastern Bound and Prisoner Of Love(Tally Ho) are two likely light weights but the one I fancy is Carobbio(Arcano – Cassina De Pomm) who was a very decent two year old for Team Botti and showed real promise when runner up to Vega Magic over the course and distance in June.On only 51.5 kgs and with the assistance of top light weight Federico Bossa he has to have a chance.If he shows anything like the form that saw him finish third in last years Premio Estate(LR) behind Cantocorale he has to be there or thereabouts.
VIDEO: Raifan goes close in the Premio Tudini(G3) will be among the favourites for the Gran Premio Citta Di Napoli