A tremendous weekend’s racing in Italy both on the flat and over jumps with some sparkling performances.On the “Galoppo” front both Flag’s Up and Vis A Vis were very smart in the two big races of the weekend but first we will look at the four guineas trials run at Capannelle and San Siro.
Atamisque was hugely impressive in the Premio Dormello in October and was a worthy juvenile champion juvenile filly.The daughter of Highland Reel was installed as ante post favourite for both Regina Elena and the Oaks D’Italia so her seasonal bow in yesterday’s Premio Torricola over the Guineas course and distance was eagerly awaited. Even more so as the Austin Curran bred Prichi winner of the Criterium Femminile would be in opposition with Christian Demuro in the saddle as well as Alduino and Stefano Botti’s other unbeaten filly Dolce Napoli.The latter set a blistering pace trying to burn off the opposition, the time of 1,37.6 was a full second quicker than the colts trial the “Daumier” and a mere three tenths slower than Vis A Vis in the Natale Di Roma. At the two furlong pole Prichi arrived to make her challenge which soon petered out but Agostino Affe’s filly Nonna Ercolina simply cruised to the front to win easily with the favourite finally getting going near the end to finish 2 and a quarter lengths off the impressive winner who was well supported by the big Roman crowd. Nonna Ercolina (Holy Roman Emperor – Lady Gray) was a mid April foal bred by Ciaran Conroy of Glenvale Stud in Carrick On Suir. She was subsequently sold at the Goresbridge breeze Up for €13,000 to Antonio Di Carlo one of the Capannelle trainer’s biggest patrons. The dam Lady Gray has since been exported to Bahrain. Agostino Affe’s filly made her debut in a Rome maiden in October and was then second to the beautifully bred Allison a Gleneagles half sister to champion miler Attimo Fuggente. She made her reappearance over the course and distance on March 1 getting the better of White Lips who won the fillies maiden yesterday ironically from another offspring of Highland Reel.
Atamisque unlike the other principles had not the benefit of a seasonal run and was giving eight pounds to the winner so will be expected to turn the tables on May 1 but the Glenvale bred filly won comfortably and is clearly improving. Prichi finished fourth and also was having her first run of the season so deserves another chance.
The other Regina Elena trial the Premio Cesare Degli Occhi was run at San Siro on Saturday staging its first meeting of the year. The Milanese track also raced on Sunday with almost 12,000 attending over the weekend so another source of optimism for “Galoppo”. Alduino Botti’s Raven’s Pass filly Amalaura just got the better of the Gasparini/Turri filly Zittella also an offspring of the Kildangan stallion with Bruno Grizzetti’s pair Azul Bahia and Tower Of Silence occupying third and fourth. Grizzetti is similar to Aidan O Brien in that his horses usually improve substantially after their first run and he will certainly hope that is the case with both Cantocorale and Cima Emergency his two star milers who finished in identical places to his fillies behind Karoly Kerekes Sean a five year old son of Excelebration a dual winner at Merano but never at this level. Closer Look was third but he is well over a stone inferior to Grizzetti’s pair on any known form so caution is the word right now with the Varese trainer’s runners. 2000 Guineas ante post favourite Some Respect clearly comes into that category as he completely flopped in Saturdays Premio Calvairate over the San Siro mile finishing a distant fourth behind another Holy Roman Emperor offspring Lord Sakay bred by Macha Bloodstock at the Curragh. Lord Sakay held off Vento D’Estate by a length and will surely represent the Marcialis team in the Parioli. The other Parioli trial the Premio Daumier at Rome saw the Joe O Leary bred Bahja Del Sol win comfortably from Costantinus. The son of The Gurkha much too good for Costantinus and Autre Etape was winning for the third time in five starts and is clearly useful but the story of the race was the unfortunate injury sustained by Vincenzo Fazio’s star Baghed who thankfully will survive but certainly wont see a racetrack again in 2022.A huge blow for the Roman trainer and indeed Demuro his regular partner.
The two principle listed races for the older brigade witnessed two impressive displays. Flag’s Up winner of both the Filiberto and Scheibler last year received an official 114 when runner up to Skaletti in the Premio Roma making him the highest rated three year old in the country. Now arguably War Command’s finest produce cruised to victory in the Circo Massimo (LR €38,500) over 2000 metres with the Ringfort stud bred Rio Natal just depriving Brasilian Man of second on the line.The son of Teofilo off the track since winning this race last year ran very well.The winner on whom Christian Demuro just used hands and heels will likely reappear in the Group 3 Premio Ambrosiano at the end of April before either the Carlo D’Alessio or the Gran Premio Di Milano(G2) in June.The Premio Natale Di Roma over a mile was won equally impressively by Vis A Vis also with Demuro in the saddle with Fulminix second and Attimo Fuggente making his seasonal bow third.The winner will surely target the Carlo Vittadini on Derby day.
On the jumping front Paolo Favero enjoyed a double at Treviso on Saturday with the Barronstown stud bred Love Of Zoffany in the four year old hurdle and Capitoul in the 3500 metre chase. On Sunday in Milan Czech trainer Zdenek Semenka also had a double with his star hurdler Skins Rock in the Premio Celeste Cittaro over 3600 metres with the returning champion hurdler Live Your Life third. The French bred Machinos completed the double in the Corona Ferrea over 3200 metres easily getting the better of Raffaele Romano’s Liberty Warrior.
Racing this week is at Rome on Tuesday featuring the first Oaks trial the Premio Altedo over 1900 metres, Milan on Wednesday with the valuable Premio Bareggio handicap over 1800 metres and the debutants race the Angelo Gardenghi over 1800 metres where Train Drago (Pounced – Almata) a full brother to Full Drago the best Italian middle distance horse of the past decade will clash with Gleck (Harzand – Eroica) a brother of the Derby Italiano winner Super Chic amongst others.
Pisa will race on Thursday, Rome on Friday with the Premio Torre Astura over 1200 metres, Milan and Siracusa on Saturday with San Siro and Pisa on Sunday with the Milanese track featuring the traditional three year old hurdle the Premio Primi Salti.
All of the action live here on www.italianhorseracing.com
VIDEO 1: Nonna Ercolina wins Premio Torricola from Atamisque
VIDEO 2: The Joe O Leary bred Bahja Del Sol wins the Premio Daumier
VIDEO 3: Flag’s Up shows champion form in Premio Circo Massimo
VIDEO 4: Vis A Vis shines in the Natale Di Roma