Once again an interesting weekend’s racing across Italy with jumping fans catered for in Treviso on Friday(Our amici on www.hurdleandchase.it as usual have an expert preview),with the flat taking centre stage in Milan and Siracusa on Saturday,Rome and Pisa on Sunday and Villacidro and Naples on Monday.
San Siro on Saturday features the Premio Chiusura previously group 2 the traditional closing highlight of the Milan season.The Chiusura over 1400 metres has a winners list that includes champions such as Nearco Ortello, Marguerite Vernaut, Astolfina and Nogara. Aria Importante brilliant winner of the race celebrating that great mare returns to her optimum trip after mixed results over a mile. In the Roman summer she was a terrific winner of the Carlo Vittadini(G3) but on the heavy ground in the Vittorio Di Capua(G2) she was finished after six furlongs. Bruno Grizzetti tried Cima Emergency over the Premio Roma’s 2000 metres last week but last years champion miler and Parioli winner(G3) quickly returns to a more suitable distance.Last year’s two year old kingpin Vis a Vis winner of the Gran Criterium(G2) so disappointing in the spring has been apparently back to his best in the Autumn but over 1600 and 1700 metres. Bull Fighter is in the best form of his life but is stepping up in class and from Hungary two challengers El Prado’s Joy and the Frankel horse Blazing Comet bred by Flaxman Stables a half brother to Prix De L’Arc winner Bago and Prix Du Moulin hero Maxios. A truly intriguing race with three top class contenders all with doubts about going or distance. Vis A Vis might have less against him than Cima Emergency or Aria Importante especially as the filly has to concede two kilos. One interesting sideshow here is Claudio Colombi is riding Aria Importante whilst Fabio Branca is on Cima Emergency the first time the two have met in a big race since the brawl from which Branca was given a forty day suspension. Speculation is rife that the Sardinian jockey may face further sanction which could well jeopardise his job with Bruno Grizzetti. Whatever about the merits of the case Branca is a wonderfully stylish jockey who is a very sympathetic pilot of young horses and Colombi is amongst the best in the country.
The Premio Dormelletto for juveniles over 1800 metres has five runners all unbeaten on their only starts. Cime Tempestose (Gleneagles bred by Turlough Boylan) a 21,000 guineas yearling was an eleven lengths winner on his debut over 2100 metres at Varese. Che Tempesta (Territories bred by Mount Coote stud) also a 21,000 guineas yearling was a comfortable winner over course and distance three weeks ago. Lord Sakay (Holy Roman Emperor bred by Macha bloodstock) a 45,000 guineas yearling was a six length winner from subsequent scorer Havana Jam. The other two runners Have A Cigar and Parco Sempione both Italian bred are also winners on their only start.
The Premio Castello Sforzesco(HPB) over 1600 metres is one of the seasons best nurseries.This years version attracts a good field with half a dozen Irish breds with chances.Lady Harmony is a daughter of Gleneagles and Lady Dutch a brilliant racemare a multiple stakes winner in Italy and Britain. Grizzetti’s filly was a comfortable winner in Varese over 1500 metres and only carries 52.5kgs.Lagomago( Belardo bred by Littlejohn bloodstock Mullingar) has loads of talent but is a difficult ride however here has the assistance of Branca which will be a big help. Another light weight Sopran Pulcinella (Galileo Gold bred by Moygaddy Stud) is a daughter of an 1000 guineas (Regina Elena) runner up. Both the Tullpark bred Ravens Love and the Ringfort stud bred Soprano Vienna will have their supporters in a very competitive race.
Sunday sees two listed two year old races in Rome as well as a handicap principale and in Pisa the winter season really begins with two traditional handicap principales the Regoli and Galileo Galilei as well as two interesting two year old debutante races.
The Premio Rumon for males over 1500 metres attracts two of the also rans in the Gran Criterium Baghed third and Il Sindacalista fifth.I believe the one hundred metre shorter trip will suit both colts. Vincenzo Fazio’s son of Twilight Son will once again have the assistance of Cristian Demuro and what a model of consistency he has been. Winner of his opening two starts then a five length second to Windstormblack in the Primi Passi(G3) before being runner up again in the Robert Papin(G2) at Chantilly. Despite being victim of all sorts of interference he was less than two and a half lengths off the winner in the Prix Morny(G1). All of those races were over six furlongs and then Baghed was stepped up to the mile in the Gran Criterium(G2) where he was a credible third behind Don Chicco and Some Respect. Il Sindacalista bred in Dublin by Anthony Byrne also won his first two races before losing his way a little. He led the way in The Gran Criterium for 1400 metres before giving way. The Joe O Leary bred Bahja Del Sol also won his first two races before being third to Some Respect and Don Chicco in the Vittorio Riva. Alduino Botti’s colt will be ridden by British champion apprentice Marco Ghianni who has been home for the past number of weeks. Sardinian form will be represented by Thor De Sa Matta (bred by Joseph Reid) twice a winner in Sassari.The Falling Man (bred by Vanessa Teehan in Carrick on Suir) is yet another offspring of El Kabeir looking for a big race victory in Italy. He was a comfortable winner in Capannelle on his only start over 1400 metres. Bruno Grizzetti will be represented by the 82,000 guineas foal Sopran Dublino (Caravaggio bred by W.Evans) who was third to the Oasis Drean colt In Piu on his second start. Other Irish bred contenders include Keniote (Sherbourne Lodge) a three time winner, Little Prince (Ronan Tynan) runner up on his debut. Dario Vargiu riding Wings of War has to be taken seriously as the Free Eagle colt was a good winner in Florence over 1500 metres before apparently not staying in the Campobello when third to Arrival.One big imponderable is the heavy ground that will prevail on Sunday.
The fillies equivalent the Criterium Femminile will see Grizzetti’s Tower Of Silence first past the post in the Coolmore start favourite with Branca in the saddle. Cirano’s full sister is a consistent sort and will be a worthy favourite but maybe vulnerable to a promising type such as the Austin Curran Dungarvan bred Prichi (Awtaad-Naseej) trained by Endo Botti and with Cristian Demuro in the saddle. The Waterford bred filly was a comfortable winner on her debut but this is a big step up. Danielina (Bred by Conor Mcnamara) represents Sardinian form while My Sweetie represents the Sicilian juveniles. Marco Ghiani will be on board the Hungarian filly Different Illusion a winner in Budapest but never rule out the Alduino Botti and Dario Vargiu team represented by Insomma third to the champion juvenile filly Atamisque on her debut and then a winner at Pisa. Miami Of Delano (El Kabeir bred by Ciaran Carville and Thomas Mulholland) and Macasai (Buratino bred by Con Marnane) are two other Irish bred contenders.
The San Rossore track in Pisa will bring us a lot of entertainment over the winter on both flat and over jumps.The Tuscan venue in many ways is the heart of Italian Galoppo and Sunday with two excellent Handicap Principales is an auspicious start. The Federico Regoli over 1500 metres attracts a really good field with the probability that Mooney Love’s half brother Ranger In Paradise will start favourite despite carrying top weight. Two interesting Irish bred challengers will be the Michael Ryan bred Mutaimaiezah and City Of Stars bred by the Kennedy family in Down. The latter is a wonderful veteran of fourteen wins and over 165k in prizemoney. His half brother Storm Shelter won the Premio Carlo Porta last weekend in Milan of course trained by Marco Gasparini.
The Boland-Harley bred Thunder Panther fresh from winning the Premio Madonnina in Rome over 1800 metres will be a strong candidate for Agostino Affe and Colombi in the Galileo Galilei over 2200 metres where Va Tutto Bene(Sean Murphy) and Lexington Quest(Manister House) cannot be overlooked.
A tremendous weekend ahead. Enjoy it all live here on www.italianhorseracing.com
VIDEO: Windstormblack a brilliant winner of the Primi Passi from Baghed