On Sunday Capannelle, Rome will see the running of the 139th Derby Italiano the feature of a top class ten race card with four group races, two listed and a Handicap Principale. Merano will keep National Hunt fans happy on Sunday whilst Saturday will have ‘Galoppo’ at Siracusa,Florence and Milan which will feature two excellent listed races.
The build up to Italy’s richest race (2200m €640,200) has been all about two horses one now the favourite to win not one but two Derbies whilst the other is the great hope to bring Derby glory back to Dormello Olgiata for the first time since 1988 when Tisserand famously got the better of Carroll House who went on to win the Prix De L’Arc de Triomphe. Tempesti is from the first crop of the Deep Impact stallion Albert Dock. Only eleven of his produce have yet seen a racecourse but three of them are in Sunday’s fifteen strong field. Albert Dock was a dual group 3 winner in Japan over 2000 metres and his dam was a grade 1 winner at Santa Anita over a mile. On the dams side Tempesti is out of Tender Hugs a seven time winner around a mile and sister to Gregorian Chant a group 3 winner in the US over 1200 metres. His fourth dam is Tandina none other than the mother of Tisserand and whose ancestry is 100% the work of Federico Tesio. Riccardo Santini’s charge has won his last four starts including the traditional trial the Premio Botticelli over 2100 metres.This performance when he made up ground to finally overcome Alduino Botti’s Frozen Day has been rated as high as 119 by the Racing Post but others were not as impressed.
Ardakan has received a lot of support in the market and now is favourite not just for the Derby Italiano but also the German equivalent in July. Trained by German master trainer Markus Klug and ridden by top French pilot Clement Lecoeuvre the Reliable Man colt has the potential to be one of the stars of 2022.Already a winner of the Group 3 Guido Berardelli at Capannelle last autumn over 1800 metres he returned in the Prix De L’avre (LR 2400m) at Longchamp when he finished a three quarter length second to Martel who is very well regarded by Andre Fabre. Three weeks later Klug will have his horse in perfect fettle.
However this is far from a two horse race with Alduino Botti represented by the already mentioned Frozen Day (The Gurkha) the mount of Cristain Demuro with Dario Vargiu on the beautifully bred Arrival (Australia) and Salvatore Sulas on the very promising Emperor Of Love (Ribchester).Frozen Day gave Tempesti a big fright in the Botticelli and now has one of the Worlds best on his back. Arrival after winning the Premio Campobello was winter favourite for the Derby but the half brother to Brasilian Man disappointed on his last start when only fourth in the Filiberto when unable to find a change of gear behind two of his rivals here Tramaglino and Vecello.
Tramaglino apparently the choice of Antonio Fresu ahead of the talking horse Chelsea Gardens as Grizzetti Galoppo’s number one was only having his third start in the Filiberto so one can assume quite a bit of improvement will be forthcoming from the son of Albert Dock. Gerard Mosse with a long history of riding Bruno Grizzetti horses to big race wins is on the son of Aclaim who also was having his third run when a 3 length sixth in the Parioli(2000 guineas) with Emperor Of Love eight and Lord Sakay ninth. The latter a son of Holy Roman Emperor bred by Aisling Crowe actually started favourie for the Parioli after two excellent wins in the spring so is on a retrieving mission. The champion two year old Don Chicco (El Kabeir) was even further back and questions have to be asked has he trained on but never rule out an Agostino Affe trained horse at Capannellle especially as Ioritz Mendizibal will be on board. The second German colt Open Skies is an unknown quantity winner of his only start over 2400 metres at Dusseldorf, form which hardly looks good enough but Henk Grewe and Alberto Sanna are not known for going on wild goose chases.
An intriguing contest where the heart says Tempesti but the head Ardakan but keep a close eye on Tramaglino, Arrival,Open Skies and Frozen Day.
The back up card is no less exciting.The Premio Presidentte Della Repubblica(G2 1800m €200,020).A select field of seven whose earnings will be heading for €2 million after Sundays contest.Top rated Rubaiyat (OR 114 RPR 115) German champion two year old winner of the Gran Criterium(G2) and last years Premio Vittorio Di Capua(G2) has been a magnificent servant to Henk Grewe. He returned this year with a short head defeat to Mythico in the Preis Kalkman Meile(G3) at Dusseldorf but will clearly strip fitter now. Interestingly his stablemate Only The Brave will have Alfredo Sanna on board while Clement Lecoeuvre is on Rubaiyat.The son of Iffraaj won a group 3 at Baden Baden last Autumn and has been placed at group 2 level but always over slightly longer trips. Flag’s Up comes into a similar category.Last years top rated Italian three year old(114) his best runs have been over a furlong further as when runner up to Skaletti in the Premio Roma (G2 2000m). However he will get every assistance from Cristian Demuro in the saddle,stablemate Vis A Vis champion Italian two year old in 2020 and winner of the Gran Criterium(G2) might find this a little far. The evergreen Frozen Juke bred by Michael Mcglynn from Summerhill is one of the most consistent top class milers in Italy but at this level might find the extra 200 metres beyond him. Bruno Grizzetti runs his two star milers Cantocorale winner of last years Premio Ribot and the 2020 Parioli winner Cima Emergency. Fresu rides the former while Mosse will partner the horse he won the guineas on. A terrific race in prospect which will be tactically very interesting I pick Cantocorale to just get the better of Rubaiyat and Flag’s Up.
Italian sprinters are a neglected species with now only two Group 3 races for them each year with the demotion of the Omenoni,Citta Di Napoli and Certosa to listed status. Nevertheless Ponntos a regular to Italy with no success at this level in Rome or Milan won the G3 Prix St Georges in France last week and was fifth in the L’Abbaye so quality is still there despite the EPC view.The Premio Tudini (G3 1200m € 70,400) on Sunday is another very competitive race with no less than six Irish breds in contention.Small Irish breeders dependant on getting precocious horses are suffereing a lot from the EPC policy of protecting the elites. Agiato winner of the Premio Aloisi (G3) in the autumn will have a big chance as will last years Parioli winner Fayathaan (bred by Ann and John Foley) and also Collinsbay the 2020 winner. Others with chances include the Rathasker stud bred Raifan now back to his sparkling juvenile form, Il Sindicalista bred by Anthony Byrne a six time winner in Capannelle but a maiden outside of the Capital. However two horses in devastating form EC Racings You Make Me Shever and Ghepardo Da Todi looking for five in a row cannot be discounted. A super contest and one to watch rather than wager on.
The Premio Carlo D’Alessio(G3 2400 metres €71,500) is a hugely important race for the older brigade.On this occasion I cannot see beyond the Alduino Botti team who present three serious candidates last years impressive St Leger winner Atzeco,the Corsa Dell Arno winner Clarenzio Fan and my idea of the winner Brigante Sabino already winner of the Regione Toscana(LR) this year as well as last year’s Gran Premio D’Italia and the Premio UNIRE.The German challenger Northsea Star and the Ringfort stud bred Rio Natal are not to be discounted but with the advantage of a run under his belt Brigante Sabino to get the better of Atzeco making his seasonal debut.
The Premio Sbarigia (LR 1600m €38,500) feature the fourth and fifth from the Parioli in Dalek and Vincere Insieme as well as last years high class juveniles Some Respect and Willy Wonka.One to keep an eye on is Dormello’s Night Of Thunder colt Breughel winner of two of his three starts but now stepping up in class.
The Two year old Premio Alessandro Perrone LR 1100m F €39,600) sees two French trained challengers both owned and bred by Therese Marnane but I expect a struggle here between the very impressive Rome winner Royal Rachel (Buratino bred by Michael Maher) her stablemate New Collection and Alduino Botti’s Exceed and Excel filly French Fries a nice winner at San Siro.
The Premio Nogara (LR 1400m 3F €39,600) at Milan on Saturday is named after the most important mare in the history of Racing. The favourites will be Amalaura, Prichi and White Lips fourth fifth and seventh in an exceptional Regina Elena. Royal Ashirah the fastest two year old filly in Italy in 2021 was down the field but this two hundred metres shorter trip will suit her better.There are challengers from Germany,Hungary and France but beaten guineas favourite Prichi bred by Austin Lyons in Dungarvan to gain some compensation.
The Premio Paolo Mezzanotte for the older females over 2200 metres LR €39,600) will surely go the way of Grizzetti Galoppo through either the Premio Lydia Tesio (G2) winner Sopran Basilea bred by Aidan Sexton or the Oaks D’Italia runner up Cima Star (Sea The Stars).Zanfogna and the German filly Norse will give them someting to think about but Sopran Basilea to win on the road to bigger challenges.
A wonderful weekend to look forward to, Time does not allow a preview of the other meetings but jumping fans should have a look at www.hurdleandchase.it the experts on Italian “Ostacoli”.
VIDEO 1: Tempesti wins the Premio Botticelli
VIDEO 2: Ardakan wins the Premio Guido Berardelli