As the Pisa jumping season moves towards its zenith on Sunday February 13 we can enjoy a most interesting preview on Sunday where three major trials take place for the three big prizes in three weeks time. A superb race in its own right the Gran Corsa Di Pisa (G3 3500 metres) has one of its finest renewals with no less than six of the field having won or been placed at group 1 or 2 level. The current form horse has to be Zanini runner up to Live Your Life in the Gran Corsa Siepi Di Merano (G1) in September and then an easy winner of the Premio Siepi Di Treviso in late November. The Czech trainer Pavel Tuma challenges with two high powered hurdlers, Dominique winner of this race last year and later the Gran Corsa Siepi Di Milano (G1). However in the Gran Corsa Siepi D’Italia in June the son of Motivator was never in contention. Dominique didn’t return to the track until October when he won at Pardubice. One would imagine that whatever Dominique does here he will be even better in three weeks. Tuma’s other challenger was without question the star four year old in the first half of 2021 winning three Group two races at Pisa, Milan and Merano. However after winning the Criterium Di Primavera in June Roncal wasn’t seen until October when he was a winner in Pardubice and then finished a distant third behind Zanini at Treviso. Jockey arrangements suggest Dominique is the more fancied of the pair with Jan Faltejsek in the saddle. This time last year Paolo Favero felt Big City was a horse who was going to do big things for the Tirolese trainer. The Zoffany horse did win four races and was runner up to Roncal in the Corsa Siep dei 4 Anni in Milan but just didn’t quite live up to the hype. Now a five year old maybe 2022 will be his year. Skins Rock and Linovsky are two others who are always competitive in these high class hurdles but I take Zanini to get the better of Dominique on this occasion.
The Corsa Siepi Dei 4 Anni (LR 3200m) is another intriquing contest with Tuma likely to supply the favourite in Nathalea Great a winner in Wroclaw and Lyda Nad Ladem but he certainly wont have things all his own way with Raffaele Biondi’s Velo Dipinto so impressive on his debut in Pisa two weeks ago. The brother to Brasilian Man perhaps does not have his notable relations ability on the flat but he certainly looks like a horse who can make his mark over obstacles. Another very interesting candidate is Scuderia Aichner’s Carobbio who was a high class performer on the level winning in Milan and third in the Premio Estate behind Cantocorale and Mordimi. Raffaele Romano relies on Black Watch who had a hat trick of wins before disappointing when only third to Velo Dipinto. Paolo Favero’s Love Of Zoffany (bred by Barronstown Stud) was a winner on the flat for Mark Johnston at Ripon and Wolverhampton is another one to keep an eye on as is another Czech challenger Great Jelois.
The Premio Chivas Regal Chase should give us some clues to the Premio Neni Da Zara which will be over the same 3,500 metre course in three weeks.Raffaele Romano has four candidates none of which could be ruled out but perhaps the seven time winner Mensch is the most likely but Josef Vana’s Poet’s Shadow and Favero’s Capitoul both will be well supported. The Premio Golden Cavern for three year olds over 1200 metres has some promising sprinters in action. Green Territories was hugely impressive on New Years Day cruising to a nine and a half length win from Lethal Grey.The sister to Kyllachy Queen who won the listed Snowdrop Stakes at Kempton will meet far stiffer opposition here including the Thomas Jones bred Ask My Glory (Cotai Glory -Rafakova) placed behind the likes of Il Sindacalista,The Kings Horses and Purciaretta as a juvenile. Dandy Dei Grif and Bluma are others with smart two year old form. Another three year old contest to keep an eye on Sunday is the Premio La Traviata over 1600 metres in Naples a traditional January contest for debutantes that often throws up a good Horse. Sopran Midnight became the fifth individual winner for Highland Reel in Italy at Siracusa on January 6 over 1800 metres.On Saturday he has to lump 61 kilos over the course and distance but perhaps the Knocktoran Stud bred colt might be good enough. The highlight at Siracusa will be the Premio Santuario Madonna Della Lacrime over 1400 metres. Derek Iceton of Tara Stud enjoys great success in Italy and Live On Stage (Cable Bay) will be a strong contender as indeed will the Rathbarry stud bred Alfie Solomons (Acclamation) and The Irish National Stud bred Travelling Well (Dragon Pulse)
All of the action will be live on www.italianhorseracing.com
VIDEO: Zanini finishes second in the group 1 Gran Siepi Di Merano to champion hurdler Live Your Life