With the St.Leger in England,The Champion stakes in Ireland and the Prix Vermeille in France the Autumn season is beginning to reach its zenith in those three countries. In Italy however the autumn season is in its infancy and we have some delightful racing to enjoy this weekend which will give us insights into the big prizes in October and November. Rome on friday features two listed races whcih were transferred from Milan due to the Popilla Japonica infestation.All the black type races scheduled for San Siro until October 3 will now take place at Capannelle whilst all the other races including handicap principales will be run at Le Bettole racetrack in Varese.
The Premio Pietro Bessero for fillies over a mile has a small but select field. The highest rated horse in the field Santa Rita (OR 107) has her best form over ten furlongs so I narrow this down to Agostino Affe’s Haven Park bred by Ashling Burke in Wicklow who won the Royal Mares(LR) over 1600 metres in Milan in April and Rose Secret winner of the Premio Tadolina (LR) over course and distance in May with Haven Park second. Whilst Iffrachy cant be ruled out all of her best form has been up to 1500 metres.
The Premio Ippolito Fassati over 1800 metres has attracted some of the best three year old milers such as the Gardone winner Bjorn (Acclamtion -Apace bred by the Irish National Stud) and the beaten Parioli favourite Mordimi (Morpheus – Miss Frangipane bred by Ann and John Foley in Limerick). Bruno Grizzetti’s Cantocorale (Helmet – Conservatoire) was an impressive winner of the Premio Estate(LR) in Milan at the end of June with Mordimi a good second. Midnight Season a big disappointment in the Derby is now back in trip with the inform Salvatore Sulas in the saddle while Luciano Bietolini’s Prince Appeal or Closer Look cant be discounted. Cantocorale looks like a horse on the upgrade and just might have too much for the rest here. The Premio Batavia over 1200 metres brings some high quality three year old sprinters to Capannelle including Royal Mehmas( bred by Paul and Billy Mcenery),Sphere Of Fire(bred by Noreen and Liam O Donovan) and Raifan( bred by Kildaragh Stud) whilst the two year old Premio Don Orazio sees the debut of the Alduino Botti trained Passatello (Gutaifan – Light Laugther) bred by Yeomanstown with Dario Vargiu in the saddle.
Sunday may have only one listed race on the card but its full of interesting contests with high quality horses preparing for the big Autumn prizes. The Eupili which in 2020 gave us those two fantastic fillies Aria Importante and Wakanaka has without doubt one of the most impressive two year old fillies we have seen so far in Island Of Love (Kodiac – Misham) a seven length winner on her debut over course and distance.She will face the Ciara Eglington Collegelands Stud bred Lollipop Girl winner of the Vittorio Crespi(LR) and previously runner up in the Alessandro Perrone(LR) behind Royal Ashirah very competitive in French black type races since. The all conquering Guerrieri/Cascione team run Queen Rouge two from two in Naples over 1500 metres and Filly Of Malta comes from France (bred by Oghill House Stud) after winning on her debut in Siracusa and being sold for 150,000 Euro. Sofy Bell a Kodiac filly ( bred by Deer Forest Stud) is another course and distance winner not without a chance. If there any chinks in Island Of Love’s armour Lollipop Girl will find them.
Last years Parioli winner Cima Emergency finally returns in the Premio Campidoglio over the classic course and distance. He will face fighting fit opposition in Biederman,Only Time,Tritta Saas and Win The Best but if near peak form he will win. The two SGA two year old races feature some very promising individuals. The opening colts race sees Botti’s The Gurkha colt Bahja Del Sol( bred by Joe O Leary) very smart on his only start in Merano, face Willy Wonka (Estighkaar – Ivy Batty bred by Gerald Colclough) equally good on his debut in Naples. The fillies equivalent sees the Helmet filly Freccia so brilliant on her debut and then so disappointing in the Mantovani (Lr) when third to the Little O Kelly return to action. Girilda a Highland Reel filly a good winner on her only start bred by Aston House Stud and the El Kabeir filly Is Arutas from Cascione/Guerrieri are not without hope.
The Premio Macrina D’Alba will see the Oaks fourth Sopran Basilea (bred by Aidan Sexton) face the Guineas third Memo De L’Alguer ( bred by Sandra Russell) meet over a mile with Chipie D’Iralande ( bred by Ringfort Stud),Happiness Therapy, Windy Dancer and Mutamaiezah( bred by Michael Ryan) thrown in for good company. A really good race which will give us good links for the big fillies races in the Autumn.
Sunday’s Merano card is the calm before the storm as in two weeks Italy’s great jumping festival will take place over the weekend of September 25 and 26. Nevertheless the South Tirol track has an interesting card as does Chilivani and Siracusa on Saturday. The Sicilian track has a very interesting two year old Premio Sebastiano Sortino over 1500 metres for debutants where the Mehmas filly Miss Samu(bred by Derek Smullen), The Zoffany colt Scivolascivola(bred by Prospect Stables) and the Fast Company Secret My Love(bred by Ollie Geraghty)make most interest.
VIDEO: Aria Importante winner of the 2020 Premio Eupili wins the Nogara