Senator Fabrizio Battistoni the person responsible for the reform of Italian Horse racing and the execution of government policy toward the industry apparently was not a happy man at the demonstation held outside his offices last week by people being affected by the disgraceful administration of Horse racing by the Italian state.The good Senator huffily met with the racecourses on Friday to announce that the budget initially to be cut from €46 million to €40 million would now see that figure restored with an additional €3 million for the Livormo and Palermo tracks reopened and also another €1 million for the prize pool so in affect an increase from €46 million in 2021 to €50 million in 2022. So a good story but the bad news is that the racecourses due to take up the managemnet of paying out prizemoney in February will not be doing so. Therefore one step forward and one step back in that the prizefund for 2022 will increase but its administration will remain in the hands of the let us be charitable a totally inept Italian ministry. Strong rumours have also appeared in the Italian press about the demotion of three more Italian races from listed status the Archidamia,The Citta Di Napoli and the Chiusura. If the last race is demoted from listed it will be an absolute travesty and will demand serious questions of the EPC.The Premio Chiusura over 1400 metres (seven furlongs) is well over a century in existence was at one time a group 2 and has been won by some of the most important horses in the history of the Sport such as Nearco, Nogara, Astolfina, Daumier, Marguerite Vernaut to name just a few and in this century by the brilliant three time winner Salselon and in 2021 the wonderful filly Aria Importante. For many decades it was the most important seven furlong race in Europe. The question has to be asked do the members of the EPC have any understanding of the history of the sport or are they merely adopting policies that suit themselves or people with a lot of influence?
Of course the EPC would not be using stupid counter productive methods destroying racing professionals careers if the Italian state gave a dam about the sport and the thousands of people who work in it. Can you imagine any government of even moderate competence allowing this to happen to its own citizens not to mind one of the most powerful countries in the European Union. All of these happenings being hugely influenced by non EU interests and the Italian state is allowing it to occur! Italy is a big EU player who have allowed themselves to be demoted from the top table at the EPC, is this not yet another indictment of Italian government incompetence? We have to ask the question as well who represents the small and medium Irish breeders who so depend on the Italian market? Certainly nobody in the EPC!. Italy in 2019 had 2,118 races of which just 76 were Black type Germany by comparison had half the number of races 1129 with 85 black type while Ireland with 1239 races had 127 black type over 10% of the total races run. Mario Draghi’s government which has apparently delivered a lot to the Italian economy is failing miserably in its administration of Italian Horse Racing and is even more inept in using its considerable power with regard to the EPC.
Italian Jump racing on the other hand grades its own races and despite being also afflicted by slow payments is clearly on the rise so maybe its time the flat people looked at a similar scenario. San Rossore in Pisa had some top class National Hunt Racing on Sunday with the highlight being the Gran Corsa Siepi Di Pisa (G3) over 3500 metres. We predicted that Zanini would get the better of Dominique and for once we got it right as the Scuderia Aichner gelding just held off a strong challenge from the Czech invader and a superb effort from Paolo Favero’s five year old Big City in third. The three principals were flat to the mat from three out but it was the nine year old German bred who always seemed in control but both Dominique and Big City neither of whom had raced since October lost nothing in defeat with Linovsky fourth and Roncal fifth. Expect all of these to be back in Pisa in three weeks for the GROUP 1 Gran Corsa Siepe Nazionale over 500 metres further.
If we got our predictions correct for the Gran Corsa we were certainly well of the mark in the Corsa Siep Dei 4 Anni(LR) where the outsider of Raffaele Romano’s trio Pride Of England pounced late to deprive stablemate Boboalena of victory with the Czech trained Great Jelois third and the apparently most fancied Romano runner Black Watch fourth. The favourite Velo Dipinto set a furious gallop but was a beaten docket four out as the champion trainers trio took control. The Criterium D’Inverno(G2) in three weeks over a slightly longer trip will be the big day for all of these. Ondrej Velek pilot of Velo Dipinto had better luck in the Chivas Regal chase over 3500 metres on board Josef Vana’s Natam who had been a winner in both Milan and Merano in 2021 and it will be interesting to see if Romano’s Normandy Dela Vega just over two lengths back here can reverse the placings in the G3 Premio Neni Di Zara over course and distance on February 13.
Endo Botti and Cristina Brivio’s Blume was a very easy winner of the three year old sprint over 1200 metres from Queen’s Kitten and Green Territories. The daughter of Blu Constellation now the winner of three of her eight starts promises to be a decent sprinter in the year ahead. Another promising three year old is Aldiono Botti’s Dalek who simply cruised to victory on his debut in the Premio La Traviata in Naples over a mile on Sunday. The son of the fine Italian sprinter Plusquemavie is a brother to Mister Sandro winner of both the Premio Regione Toscana and the Guido Clerici so he is definitely one for the notebook.
Racing this week is at Varese on Wednesday Pisa on Thursday,Rome(AW) on Friday featuring the Premio Cervino over 1200 metres, Siracusa on Saturday and Pisa and Naples on Sunday which will have three handicap Principlale’s over 1000,1800 and 2000 metres.Remember all the racing is live here on www.italianhorseracing.com
VIDEO: Dalek makes an impressive debut at Naples