A most interesting weeks racing in Italy with some high class performances beginning on Friday in Rome. Perhaps for the first time in 2021 we can say that a three year old colt has made people get a little excited and was clearly the “performer” on a day of high quality racing. Cantocorale (Helmet-Conservatoire) a half brother to Territorial (Teofilo) a group 3 and listed winner in Japan in the last twelve months and the winner of more than 1.5 million euro strolled to victory in the Premio Ippolito Fassatti(LR) over 1,800 metres.In this writer’s humble opinion this was the best performance by an Italian three year old colt (Fillies far superior) in 2021. Bruno Grizzetti’s colt cruised home two and a half lengths clear of Midnight Season with Closer Look third and Mordimi a well beaten fourth. Bred and owned by Scuderia Blueberry Cantocorale needed to be roused by Pasquale Borelli to go about his business but the big rangy colt showed that the form he showed in the Premio Estate was no fluke.
Cantocorale should have been ridden by Fabio Branca who was on Agostino Affe’s Haven Park in the Premio Bessero (LR) a weight for age also over a mile for fillies.The Ashling Burke bred filly just didn’t stay out the mile as well as Rose Secret who was winning her third black type race here. Branca and Claudio Colombi rider of Ifrachy had an altercation in the jockeys room after the race. Branca initially claimed that he had a fight with the Livorno Jockey but didn’t punch him. Colombi remained in hospital in Rome until Sunday with a suspected broken nose and cheekbone. However when the stewards referred the case to MIPAAF, Branca admitted he had punched Colombi and accepted all responsibility. He has been handed a forty day suspension beginning September 18 and a fine of 3.184 euro the maximum allowed.
Branca was on board the returning Cima Emergency on Sunday in the Premio Campidoglio over 1600 metres. Grizzetti’s 2020 champion had been off the track 182 days since his last run in Milan which had been 245 days since his close fifth in the Derby when he didnt stay the distance. The Canford Cliffs colts performance in the Parioli (2000 guineas) earned him the honour of being best Italian three year old in 2020. The word was Grizzetti had left a little work to do on the Massimo Parri bred and he was allowed to start at 9/2 against good opposition including the 107 rated Only Time who after being third in the Presidente Della Repubblica(G2) had a warm up in late July. Cima Emergency was difficult in the warm up for Branca and the impression was that maybe after all this time he wasn’t in love with the game anymore. Nevertheless when the Sardinian jockey got to work the Scuderia Cocktail colt showed that despite everything he has all of the qualities he showed in the guineas and was two and a half lengths clear of Only Time with the ever consistent Biederman three lengths back in third. With Cantocorale and Cima Emergency the Varese based trainer has a strong hand in the big mile to ten furlong races coming up but the question is who is going to ride them?
We had some high quality two year old performances over the weekend perhaps the best of which was in the Premio Eupili (LR) over 1200 metres. Island of Love (Kodiac-Misham) had been a spectacular seven length winner on her debut and here showed a very nice change of gear to finish two and a half lengths clear of the hitherto unbeaten Queen Rouge with Transylvania third, Filly Of Malta fourth and Lollipop Girl fifth. Misham the dam is a half sister to the German 1000 guineas winner and Coronation stakes runner up Mi Emma and on this form its easy to believe Island Of Love has the potential to see out a mile next year. I would be surprised if Alduino and Stefano Botti sent the Kodiac filly for the Dormello (G2) over 1600 metres just yet but clearly she has the potential to give us as much pleasure as Aria Importante and Wakanaka last years protagionist’s in the Eupili which surely should return to its group 3 status. Team Botti also had a high quality two year old colt on display in Bahja Del Sol in the SGA over 1500 metres. The son of The Gurkha bred by Joe O Leary is a Gran Criterium candidate on his comfortable win here from Guerrieri’s Willy Wonka (bred by Gerald Colclough) The Roman based trainer had compensation in the fillies equivalent when the Paul Hancock bred Vendicari (Buratino-Balamana) was a length winner from Longlife Elisir with the flattereing to deceive Freccia third. A good winner in Naples on her last start Vendicarri had previously been runner up in Tagliacozzo’s Criterium Femminille to the El Kabeir filly Sa Filonzana with Transylvania third.
In Siracusa on saturday Mark Cuschieri’s Mitical Mil (Luck Of The Kitten-Doni D’arcadia) destroyed the opposition in the Premio Sortino over 1500 metres seven a quarter lengths clear of the fast finishing Zoffany colt Scivolascivola (bred by Prospect Stables) Luck Of The Kitten was one of Wesley Ward’s speed machines now standing in the Centro Equino Arcadia. The dam was a fast two year old placed in two black type races over six and seven furlongs. Cuschieri’s colt will surely be heading to the capital before the year is out especially as the Maltese owner has sent his first horse to Team Botti the Frozen Power sprinter Rightformula who had won five of his six starts for Antonino Cannella in Siracusa. Dario Vargiu teamed up with the three year old colt who ran very well in the Premio Batavia but could not cope with the Endo Botti trained Noreen and Liam O Donovan bred filly Sphere Of Fire who was settled well by Antonio Fresu before being produced to win snugly from Rightformula with Raifan third.
Italian sprinting got a boost yesterday when the Gianluca Bietolini trained Tudini winner Collinsbay was second in the Prix Petit Couvert(G3) at Longchamp. After the exploits of Collinsbay and Kitty Marion in recent weeks surely Team Botti have to send The Conqueror for the L’Abbaye on Arc day as the Excelebration horse is almost a stone better than either of these on good ground.
With the build up to its jumping festival on September 25 and 26 Merano is on autopilot over the next two weekends. However there was a big Irish breeding interest in the Premio Spegasso hurdle over 3000 metres where the Czech trained Quartius bred by Varstock in Rathvilly Co.Carlow got the better of Paolo Favero’s Shambara bred by Mcmullan and O Grady and formerly with Johhny Murtagh.
Next weekend is the first big weekend of the Autumn flat season as Rome will now host the Premio Federico Tesio (G2) on Sunday along with the group 3 races the Premios Cumani and Piazzale.The Premio Cancelli one of the most important sprint handicaps may be added to the Varese programme but more on that later. The Gran Premio Aste will be run in Varese on Wednesday and Chilivani will have its big day next saturday.
All The action here on wwww.italianhorseracing.com
VIDEO: Cantocorale wins the Premio Ippolito Fassati