A tremendous two days of racing at Rome,Milan and Siracusa.Horses from Germany,Poland the Czech republic and of course Italy all won important races but two horses of very different ages were the mega stars of a special weekend.Scuderia Aichners magnificent twelve year old Notti Magiche defied his age and all of his rivals to claim victory in the group 1 Grande Steeplechase di Milano but more about the old hero later we will begin with perhaps the best performance by an Italian trained filly in years.
Swipe Up (Holy Roman Emperor- Salmon Rose) trained by Endo Botti and Cristina Brivio and bred by George Kent of Knockenduff stud in Tramore simply destroyed the field in the Premio Regina Elena(1000 guineas) winning by five lengths from Nonna Ercolina with last years champion juvenile filly Atamisque third,the ever consistent Amalaura fourth and Prichi fifth in a field of eighteen fillies. The ratings people in Italy gave Endo Botti and Cristina Brivio’s filly a 117 rating, Tuttoippica gave her the equivalent of 116 while the Racing Post never one to overestimate Italian racing or underestimate the British equivalent gave her 113 the same as the winner of the Newmarket version Cachet.
Swipe Up who won in a race record time seven tenths of a second quicker than See Hector in the Parioli made her debut in early October in Rome when second to Atamisque who would go on to win the fillies championship the Premio Dormello(G2).Two weeks later again at Capannelle she easily won her maiden over 1500 metres.The EC Racing team then put her away until the Premio Ceprano over the guineas course in early March where she had two lengths to spare on Macasai (sixth on Sunday).Going into Sunday’s classic most of us felt that the stables best hope was with Prichi who ran well to be fifth but nothing could live with the Scuderia Sagam owned three year old. Atamisque under Andrea Atzeni went for glory two furlongs out but almost immediately Claudio Colombi produced Swipe Up who in a matter of strides put the race beyond doubt. Nonna Ercolina trained by Agostino Affe and bred by Ciaran Conroy of Glenvale stud ran on late to pip Atamisque for runner up five lenghths behind the winner. The group 2 Prix Sandringham at Chantilly on June 5 is a possible target for the winner.
The Parioli was a triumph for Henk Grewe who enjoyed a tremendous weekend as his See Hector (Counterattack – Scouting (New Approach) swept through on the inside under Alberto Sanna to catch the joint favourite Il Grande Gatsby who was caught on the line for second by Fire Of The Sun.Sanna was riding the Parioli winner for the second year on a row this time on a lightly raced colt whose best effort had been when third in the Preis Der Winterfavoriten last autumn. The best of Alduino Botti’s five strong team was Dalek who was just ahead of stablemate Vincere Insieme for fourth.Jessica Harrington’s Exquisite Action had every chance but faded to finish tenth in a field of nineteen. Other disappointments were last years top two juveniles Don Chicco and Some Respect who both were well down the field as was the other joint favourite Lord Sakay. Grewe will probably aim the Gestuet Karlshof bred colt at the German equivalent.
The Premio Ambrosiano(G3 2000m) on Saturday at San Siro was a high quality race where the Prix D’Harcourt(G2) runner up Dawn Intello(117) had a length and a quarter to spare over the dual group 2 winner Rubaiyat (114) with Lord Charming(111) third ahead of Flag’s Up(111).This for me was the best running of the Ambrosiano in many years and I expect the principles will play a prominent role in quite a few of Europe’s top middle distance races in 2022. The only proviso was the race was run in a slow pace almost two seconds slower than the Emanuele Filiberto
a Derby trial won by another son of Counterattack, Pirouz this time trained by Waldemar Hickst who outstayed Tramaglino (Albert Dock) with Vecello third and Botti’s Arrival up to now joint favourite for the Derby back in fourth. The first two home were both having only their third race, Hickst colt coming from a win in Strasbourg and Grizzetti’s third to Arc On Fire last time out. All four will probably head to Capannelle in three weeks. The Oaks trial was won by Is Arutas (El Kabeir) who is now favourite for the San Siro classic. Melania Cascione’s filly bred by JR Banahan was quite impressive winning by a length and a quarter from Never Ending Story with Allison third just ahead of Lunamonda.
The National front scene saw that wonderful veteran Notti Magiche now twelve win the Grande Steeplechase Di Milano (G1 5000m) from the youngster Big City and stablemate Sternkranz third. Pavel Slozil let the old hero stride out in front from the start and try as Paolo Favero’s son of Zoffany tried he could not just get to the Montjeu horse winning his fifth group 1 race for Scuderia Aichner and Josef Vana junior. The veteran has won almost €400,000 for connections and who is to say there is not more to come. Big City just a five year old could have a serious future ahead of him over the bigger obstacles.
Slozil,Vana and Aichner went to win the other grade 1 the Gran Corsa Siepi Di Milano(4000m) with a very impressive Mauricius who toyed with the field and now has won two of the four grade 1 hurdles that decide the Champion hurdler. Kapgarde has bred many champions in France and the likes of A Plus Tarde and Fakir D’oudairios in Ireland and Clan Des Obeaux in Britain. He now has one in Italy with Mauricius already the winner of the Gran Corsa Siepi Nazionale (G1) at Pisa in the spring. Live Your Life the 2021 champion was very tenderly handled by Gabriele Agus and will clearly be aimed at Merano’s two big hurdles later on but he has a serious candidate for his crown.
There were many more exciting high class races on a super busy weekend but unfortunately time constraints prevent a longer report.We will be back on friday with a preview of next weeks action.
VIDEO 1: See Hector wins the Premio Parioli(2000 guineas)
VIDEO 2: Swipe Up wins Premio Regina Elena (1000 guineas)
VIDEO 3: Sundays National Hunt meeting at San Siro