After last weekends Derby excitement the limelight this weekend will be shared between the “Ostacoli” at Merano, and Milan with an Oaks trial plus a top class mile race. Rome on Sunday and Milan on Saturday will feature two of the most important trials for the Premio Primi Passi the Italian equivalent of the Phoenix stakes.
However the weekends highlight will be at South Tirol where the great L’Estran will return to action in the listed chase the Premio Lunedi’ Di Pentecoste over 3900 metres 17.25).The triple Gran Premio Di Merano champion has not tasted defeat since June 28 2020 and begins his campaign to achieve an unprecedented four in a row in Italy’s greatest steeplechase. Scuderia Aichner’s champion will not have it easy facing a field of only seven but full of quality. The seven runners have won close to €1.4 million in prizemoney and vary in age from five to twelve. Al Bustan now the elder statesman won the Gran Premio Di Merano in 2018 but is still no backnumber winning the Premio MIPAAF(G3) over course and distance in September.The Vana junior/Aichner team also run Piton Des Neiges better known for his exploits over the smaller obstacles and the five year old Peace Garden. The latter was the winner of the Premio Steeplechase D’Italia(G2) over this course and distance in September. Big City represents Paolo Favero, the son of Zoffany is in sparkling form, runner up in the Gran Steeplechase Di Milano(G1 5000m) after good wins at Treviso and San Siro. Raffaele Romano will be doubly represented by Bilbo D’Assault fourth in Milan’s big chase and French import Fahawro a winner at Compiegne and Dieppe. Despite a 245 day absence the champion will take all of the beating as he attempts to make even more history for the Aichner/Vana/Bartos team in 2022.
Another champion reappears in Merano on Sunday in the Premio Chivas Regal Hurdle (LR 3500m 16.10).Live Your Life the 2021 champion hurdler begins his campaign towards Merano’s two great hurdle races the Gran Corsa Siepi D’Italia(G1) on June 25 and the Gran Corsa Siepi Di Merano(G1) in September. Romano’s son of of Turati won both of these races in 2021 but didnt look the same horse in two outings at San Siro in the spring. He will face stiff opposition here from the likes of Ivo, Laldann, Prince D’Orage, Skins Rock and Zanini in what will be a very competitive affair. Ivo the mount of Jan Faltejsek was runner up to Mauricius in the Gran Siepi Di Milano(G1) last time out while Zanini was second to the same horse in Pisa’s Gran Premio Siepi Nazionale (G1) in February so I expect these two and the champion to fight out the finish of an absorbing contest.
There are also three very important conditions events the Premio Cermes (3000m 3yo) where Paolo Favero’s Berkshire Phoenix must have a big chance. The Premio Scena over 300 metres further is for four year olds where Zdenek Semenka’s Machinos winner of the G2 Corsa Siepi Dei 4 anni at San Siro will take a lot of beating. Faltejsek will also be on board Pavel Tuma’s five year old Roncal in the Premio Val Martello chase over 3550 metres.In the first half of 2021 he appeared to be a horse with an immense future winning four group 2 hurdles on the trot. He lost form in the second half of the year but returned to win a novice chase in Bratislava in April. Any chinks in the Czech challengers armour will be tested by Polish runner Ocean Life as well as Palm Springs,Natris and Thistleton from the big three Italian stables.
At San Siro an excellent card on the level where Is Arutas will attempt to cement her place at the top of the Oaks D’Italia market in the Premio Mario Incisa Della Rocchetta (LR 2000m) The daughter of El Kabeir bred by John Banaghan has already been very impressive in two recognized trials at Capannelle (2100 metres) and also over the course and distance when getting the better of the Arcano filly Never Ending Story.
EC Racing run Wintry Flower winner of the Alberto Chantre from German challenger Walkin’On The Sun, both will have their supporters as will Devis Grilli’s Woman Of Ciprea only tenth in the Regina Elena but that was only her fourth run and she is sure to have toughened up from the experience, her big doubt : stamina. The Con Marnane bred Macasai was sixth in that classic but there must also be reservations about the Buratino fillies ability to see out Milans stiff ten furlongs. Is Arutas to win for the Guerrieri/Fiocchi team but keep an eye on Never Ending Story.
The Premio Bereguardo (LR) always a sign post to the Carlo Vittadini is a high class contest.The 2020 Parioli winner Cima Emergency an excellent fourth in last weekend’s Presidente Della Repubblica (G2) if not too affected by those exertions will be the obvious choice but Attimo Fuggente winner of both the Presidente(G2) and the Piazzale (G3) in 2021 will on that form be a danger. Mordimi if he runs up to the level he showed last time out when beating Cantocorale over course and distance is another with a chance. The John and Anne Foley bred son of Morpheous is a talented individual but only shows it on occasion. Please Exceed the Sean O Sullivan bred All Weather champion, Win The Best recent winner of the Premio WWF over 1500 metres and the Antonio Marcialis trained Terrible Land will also receive support. An interesting challenger is the Hungarian trained Blazing Comet a son of Frankel who has won four of his last five starts at Budapest and was fourth in the Chiusura behind Aria Importante. Expect a battle between Attimo Fuggente and Cima Emergency in what is an excellent renewal.
On Tuesday we will report on the two big Primi Passi trials but today an unusual juvenile double for Sardinian trainer Antonio Cottu. At Chilivani on the island, Maitola a Sioux Nation bred by Colin Griffin was an eight length winner of the 1200 metre Premio Comune Di Nule while an hour earlier Calasabina won a tight three way battle at Capannelle in the Premio Nijinsky over 1000 metres. Cottu’s Kodi Bear filly was bred by Catherine Reed and was the subject of a gamble.
VIDEO 1: Is Arutas winning the Lorenzo Camuffo
VIDEO 2: Live Your Life winning the Gran Corsa Siepi Di Merano