On Saturday we spoke of Marco Gasparini’s ability to train the winners of Handicap Principlale’s and so it proved once again in Varese that evening. The Pisan trainer sent out last years winner of the Premio Giovanni Borghi Trump’s Magic and City Of Stars (Lilbourne Lad-City Vaults Girl) bred by the Kennedy family in County Down. Gasparini’s two horses fought out the finish with the Lilbourne Lad gelding getting the better of the 2020 winner by half a length with Voices From War third and the ever game Mr Gualano (Matt Duffy) fourth. City Of Stars has been a good servant to the stable this being his thirteenth win, four in handicap principale’s and over 170,000 euro in prizemoney.
Merano’s two day mixed meeting was a bright opening to the South Tirol tracks Summer/Autumn campaign. Regular readers will be familiar with the great success of Irish bred horses on the flat in Italy and the opposite on the National Hunt scene but this was not the case on Saturday where three of the “Ostacoli” races were won by animals from emerald shores. The feature race was the Premio Giuseppe Chiodini over 3,300 metres where the Zebedee gelding Aventus (bred by Ashley O Leary) was a five length winner from Grand Sud and Passion Return. Paolo Favero’s charge was winning for the second week in a row after his success in a 3000 metre hurdle at the track last week. The opening cross country was won by the Gerrardstown House Stud Dunshaughlin bred Big Mago (Dylan Thomas-Sweet Firebird). In a desperate finish the Czech trained gelding held off Vanessa Del Cardo by a nose.
On Sunday Merano’s card focused on the flat. The Italian racing fan likes nothing better than a talented horse carrying the colours made famous by so many Italian champions that of Dormello-Olgiata. The Premio Delle Giovani Speranze for two year olds over 1500 metres was won very comfortably by Alsini (Bastiani-Alsazia) trained by Riccardo Santini and ridden by Gabriele Malune. Alsini was two lenght’s too good for Alduino Botti’s Monarca with ten lenghts further back the Shalaa colt Ashat. Gasparini was back in the winner’s enclosure in the Premio Hotel Marlena over a mile and a half with the Lope De Vega horse Tout A Fait who seems to have found his niche in middle distance to staying races having being a good winner over a mile and five in Milan in May.
Tagliacozzo a course in the Abruzzo region of central Italy staged a nice card on Sunday with the Newtown Anner stud bred three year old Killer Mamba (Fascinating Rock- Imdancinwithyourwife) a good winner for Agostino Affe in the 1350 metre handicap. Perhaps even more impressive was the Irish National Stud bred Sa Palla Umbrossa (Vadamos-Grain De Beaute) in the 1900 metre handicap. The Paolo Aragoni trained filly won very comfortably and already has five wins under her belt.
Skaletti’s win in the Grosser Preis Bayerisches Zuchtrennen(G1) in Munich from Grocer Jack and No Limit Credit was another boost for those of us demanding the return of Italy’s top races to their rightful status. The Jerome Reynier trained horse ridden by Gerard Mosse had previously won the Prix D’Isaphan(G1) and the Premio Roma (G2). The runner up Grocer Jack was also second last time out in the Gran Premio Di Milano (G2) and had previously won the group three Premio Ambrosiano. No Limit Credit’s last run was as runner up in the Premio Del Giubileo (G3).
As we are about half way in the season its worth noting in the jockeys championship Salvatore Sulas with 59 winners is five ahead of Mario Sanna followed by Gabriele Cannarella on 51 with the champion Dario Vargiu on 44. The latter out injured for almost two months remains favourite to win the Frustino D’Oro. The trainers table is led by by Alduino Botti with 89 winners worth 1,38 million euro with Bruno Grizzetti second, Endo Botti third and Roberto Biondi fourth. On the Jumps front Raffaele Romano leads the trainers table from Josef Vana Junior, Pavel Tuma and Paolo Favero with Jan Faltejsek leading the jockeys race from Gabriele Agus. Arcano leads the stallions table with sixteen winners worth 365,000 Euro with Mujahid second and Sakhees Secret third. Of Irish based stallions Lope De Vega in seventh is just ahead of Excelebration and Mehmas.
Racing this week is in Varese (Tuesday), Naples on Wednesday, Corridonia on Thursday, Follonica and Sassari on Friday, Naples and Varese on Saturday and Merano and Tagliacozzo on Sunday. The highlights will be the Criterium Varesino (LR) for two year olds over 1500 metres on Saturday with the Premio La Novela (HPC) on the same card and on Sunday in Merano the traditional three year old hurdle the Premio Pasquale Mazzoni over 3000 metres. As usual you can see all the action on www.italianhorseracing.com