A wonderful week in Royal Ascot with some memorable performances.Italian Racing may not be in its best moment right now but its jockeys are leading the World at home of course but also in France, Japan, Hong Kong, the Middle East and the US. In Ascot we enjoyed how the Italians in Britain are also leading the show. Frankie Dettori has now surpassed Pat Eddery as the jockey with most Royal Ascot winners a truly magnificent achievement for the Milanese Jockey of Sardinian backround. There is little we can add in terms of praise to a man who has enjoyed one of Racing’s greatest careers. Another son of the Mediterranean island twenty two year old Marco Ghiani had his first Royal Ascot win in the Royal Hunt Cup aboard Real World for Godolfin.The youngster from Oristano (Same town as Champion Jockey Dario Vargiu one of Ghiani’s mentors) is having a terrific season this his forty third winner in 2021. A third Italian jockey Andrea Atzeni (also a Sardinian from Nurri sixty kilometres from Cagliari) won the Wolverton Stakes on Juan Elcano and for many years has been one of the leading “Fantini” in Great Britain.
In the meantime in Italy two really nice meetings in Milan and Naples last Tuesday and no less than ten Irish bred winners on the day.(check out the Irish bred winners section). This weekend racing in Naples friday, Siracusa and a brilliant card in Milan on Saturday and Tagliacozzo and Merano on Sunday.
The Milan card on Saturday features seven races with 104 runners almost fifteen per race with some really interesting contests. The opening two year old Premio Stresa over seven furlongs has a number of promising individuals. Probable favourite Some Respect (Gleneagles-Sciolina) a 50,000 gns yearling at Milan was a good second last time to Baghed but faces a number of promising Irish breds in Nepente (Mehmas- Petite Cherie) bred by William Pilkington in Offaly, Like Cotai(Cotai Glory-Madame Macie) bred by Frozen Jukes breeder Michael Mcglynn in Meath and Good Magic (Magician-Good Chocolate) bred by Irelands leading breeder in Italy Aidan Sexton.
The best race on the card quality wise is probably the fillies mile handicap The Premio Karla Willer where another Mehmas trained by Bruno Grizzetti Virgin Isla will carry top weight. She has been mixing with some of the top fillies but may find the burden of conceding eleven pounds to her lightly raced stablemate Bonjour Tristesse beyond her. The Teofilo Filly bred by Thomastown Farm was last seen on St Patricks Day when third to Wakanaka and despite the long absence she may win but keep an eye on bottom weight Larmar (Fast Company-Tears In My Eyes) whose dam was trained by Evanne Mccutcheon she is a winner over course and distance in April and has to have a chance with only 50.5 kgs. The San Siro has been running a series of elimination races over sprint, mile and middle distances over the past months. Two of the finals are on Saturday attracting big fields. Needless to say both races will be difficult to find a winner in but like Irish and British punters they will attract plenty of gambles. In the Mile Dario Vargiu on Oakville for Marco Gonnelli might be one to watch whilst in the Classic over ten furlongs Total Euphoria could carry top weight to victory. On Sunday in Merano another interesting NH card but as in Milan preparations for a huge weekend next week will be at the back of everyone’s mind. The Premio Or Jack novice hurdle over 3,300 metres is the feature race where many of the main contenders have already met in the Premio Rigoureaux over a 300 metres shorter trip. Raffaele Romano’s Urban Hero bred by Patricia and Maurice Regan of Newtown Anner Stud in Clonmel had five lengths to spare over Brave Faisal bred by Lynn Lodge Stud in Killucan with Azonto third and Sea Sculpture and Bogogno further back.The Polish invader Kliff is a bit of an unknown quantity but Agus and Romano to continue their good form.
Saturday in Siracusa has a good card with a very interesting Premio Newton over seven furlongs.The Scuderia Cuschieri has the likely favourite in My Sweetie (Luck Of The Kitten-Marbella Girl) an impressive winner over six last time. Early Target (Due Diligence-Early Morning Rain) was an easy winner on her only start while Bright Fountain (Anjaal-Betty Fontaine) bred by the Rathasker Stud was also a winner over six. The Premio Mirosei over 2,300 metres features some of the best middle distance horses in Sicily. Big Rope now looking for four in a row after his win in the Premio Nastro D’Oro di Sicilia (HPC) over 2100 metres where he had Immortal Romance back in second. The Tally Ho Stud bred gelding is now twelve pounds better off for a quarter length beating so revenge may be in the offing but an eye too on Spirtual Son (Cuschieri/Cannella) bred by John Quigley.The Pour Moi colt once thought good enough to run in the Derby Italiano is an obvious candidate.
As We outlined last week if you excuse the pun we don’t rate the Racing Post ratings for Italian racing. Without proclaiming ourselves experts we do have a knowledge of the Italian scene and feel our ratings do more justice to what is actually happening in Italy. So This weekend we bring you our top twenty three year old mile horses and our top twenty older milers. The Middle distance ,sprinters and two year olds we will also give our opinions on but not until the big meetings over the next two weeks have unfolded. We felt able to give our half yearly view on the mile scene as apart from the listed Premio D’Estate for three year olds on June 30 all the principle mile races in the first half of the year have been run. The importance of this exercise is to offer in the English language a different view to the narrative that is currently out there. Next Sunday in San Siro one of Europe’s great traditional races takes place the Gran Premio Di Milano whose downgrading from Group 1 status by the European pattern committee is an absolute disgrace. Whatever about some of the other downgraded races this is unforgivable. The history of the Gran Premio Di Milano is of huge significance along with the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Gran Premio De Paris this was one of Europes great middle distance summer races. No other race outside of France has seen more horses go on to win the Arc than the Milanese race . Champions such as Falbrav and Electrocutionist this century and Snurge, Tony Bin, Diamond Shoal, Sirlad, Star Appeal, Epidendrum, Prince Royal, Ribot, Botticelli, Astolfina, Niccolo dell ‘Arca, Nearco, Crapom, Ortello, and Apelle in the last century decorate its glorious roll of honour. If the pattern committee want to be consistent both the Epsom and Irish Derbies after their appalling last four runnings in both classics could also be demoted to group two. Not for a moment am I suggesting this should happen but the comparison is valid as history matters and the Gran Premio Di Milano should always carry the Group 1 Status no matter what else happens. We must remember that not only have the thousands of professionals working in Italian racing suffered but hundreds of Irish British and French breeders have shared in the pain dished out by the pattern committee.
Enjoy this weekends racing and prepare to enjoy one of the best racing weeks in the World next weekend when not only will we have the GP Di Milano but also The Premio Primi Passi for two year olds, the Premio Giubileo the Grand Premio’s equivalent for fillies, the Coppa D’Oro for stayers the Premio Bersaglio for sprinters while in Merano they will enjoy two of the great traditional Italian jump Group 1’s the Gran Siepi D’italia (Hurdle) on Saturday and the Grande Steeplechase D’Europa on Sunday as well as the great cross country the Grande Steeplechase Di Roma.And then on the following Wednesday another top class card in Milan.