For what should have been an enjoyable reopening of San Siro on Wednesday turned into a disappointment which may have consequences even beyond September. The Japanese Beetle (Popilla Japonica) infestation of the main track led to the opening meet races being on the straight and circular courses but after two races they too were found to be dangerous and racing had to be abandoned. Saturdays card including three important listed or ex listed races has been posponed. It appears that during September all the black type races scheduled for Milan will now take place at Capannelle with the rest of the races shared between Florence and Varese. The San Siro owners hope to have the track ready in early October but with so many big contests coming up they are in a race against time.
Flat Racing this weekend will now be at Rome today Friday and Sunday with Florence and Siracusa on Saturday and Chilivani on Monday. Merano has a very good jumping programme on Sunday featuring two group 3 races and a listed. The Group 3 chase the Premio MIPAAF over 3,900 metres is the last big trial for Italy’s Gold Cup the Gran Premio Di Merano (G1) at the end of the month. Al Bustan the 2017 Gran Premio winner now 11 returns for probably a last assault on Merano after his fourth behind L’Estran and Northerly Wind in 2020. Favouritism is likely to rest between two Czech invaders and Raffaele Romano’s Enola Gay a good runner up to Northerly Wind over one hundred metres less in August. Previously he had been a winner at Auteuil over 3,700 metres in June. Quinze de la Rose represents Zdenek Semenka and is no stranger to Italy having won in Milan and Pisa as well as Merano.The Czech invader is in good form arriving from a win in Aix-Le-Bains over 4,300 metres last time out. Compatriot Lodgian Whistle fourth in the latest Pardubice trial was previously second in the Grande Steeplechase Di Milano and will have support. Neither Mensch or Kapjahr can be discounted but the winner will need to be impress to challenge the likes of L’Estran, Northerly Wind or Notti Magiche at the end of the month. The Premio Ettore Tagliabue(G3) 3300 metres for three year olds is the last trial for the juvenile championship the Gran Crirerium D’Autunno(G1) over the course and distance.The three year olds look a good group this year and Sept 26 is shaping up brilliantly. King Power runner up behind the hugely impressive Isatis De L’Ecu and Callistemon represent Romano while Paolo Favero will have Arsa and Attlee as contenders but the Polish invader Ocean Life and the Czech Boule De Neige are contenders.
The Listed Azzienda Di Soggiorno features Live Your Life winner of the Gran Corsa Siepi D’Italia(G1) in June and now on his way to the Gran Corsa Siepi Di Merano(G1) a double if he achieves it that would give him the title of Champion hurdler. Nevertheless Romano’s seven year old will face stiff opposition from the Polish horse Ivo, the Czech Stuke and indeed his stablemate Blu Constellation.
Irish breeding’s influence on Merano this weekend is negligible the opposite to the situation on the flat. Rome stages an interesting card on Sunday with the Premio Senecio for three year olds over 2000 metres seeing the return of Rio Natal (Ringfort Stud) fifth in the Derby. Tiaspettofuori winner of the Botticelli before disappointing in the Derby and Bell ‘Imbusto winner of the Guido Clerici in May but not seen since are clear protagonists. Mooney Love third in the Italia and seventh in the Derby, bred to be a champion but hitherto not living up to expectations cannot be ruled out in an intriguing contest.
Perhaps even more interesting is the Siberian Express for the older generation over the Derby course of 2,200 metres. Masterwin (Rosemont Stud) third in the 2020 Derby and most recently fourth in the Gran Premio Di Milano will be favourite in a very good field which includes the Corsa Dell Arno winner Deeper Dive, Ornais winner of the Regione Toscana, Fambrus winner of the Coppa D’Oro the lightly raced Blue Sky Dreamer winner of the 2019 Scheibler and Spirit Noir ( bred by Ann Marie Burke in Galway) winner of the 2020 Francesco Faraci. A very interesting race which will give us a clue to some of the biggest prizes over the autumn.
The two year old scene is hotting up nicely and today in Rome Alduino Botti introduced his best two year old so far Island of Love by Kodiac out of the Shamardal mare Misham who spreadeagled the field in the Premio St Paul House over 1200 metres in 69.2 a second and a half quicker than the other two year old race on the card. There are very interesting two year old contests in Florence, Siracusa, Rome on Sunday and Chilivani on Monday all live here on www.italianhorseracing.com
VIDEO: 2020 Derby Italiano Masterwin a close third