Well we said in our preview that the Premio Barbaricina was a wide open handicap but perhaps no one imagined a finish of two noses dividing the first three with the 14/1 shot Excelegrif giving Luigi Di Dio and Manuel Porcu another big race victory. The race is mamed after a beautiful suburb of Pisa where Federico Tesio wintered Ribot and many more champions and where Vincent O Brien brought Sir Ivor in the winter of 1967/8 to improve his preparation for the Guineas and Derby. While we claimed the race to be wide open we certainly can’t claim to have picked the main protagonists of an incredible race. Francesco Dettori went for glory a full three furlongs out on the son of Mr Vegas Say You Do and must have thought he was home and hosed a furlong down but then Tore Sulas began to get down to serious work on Diamond Falls (bred by Mary O Riordan and John Kingston) and a titanic battle ensued. Back in sixth place a furlong out Manuel Porcu was hard at work on the outsider Excelegrif apparently going nowhere but suddenly the son of Excelebration and the Dubawi mare Magika began to fly but surely not fast enough to catch the first two. The commentator on Italian TV didn’t even mention Luigi Di Dio’s horse as all three flashed past the post but after a long wait the result of the photograph showed the chestnut with four white socks had done a Minstrel on it and was a nose ahead of Diamond Falls with the brave Say You Do another nose back with the Yeomanstown bred top weight Silver Mission a fast finishing fourth. Excelegrif was winning for the thirteenth time almost all between 1700 and 1900 metres which perhaps tells us why he was flying at the end of the unusual 1750 metres trip. Excelegrif is a half brother to Pas Malotru winner of the Primi Passi(G3) at two for Team Botti and who was a close third in the Prix Jean Prat(G1) at Deauville to Pinatubo and Lope De Vega. Although not at that level Di Dio’s horse has now won around €100,000 and at anything between 1700 and 1900 metres on soft going he is a force to be reckoned with. Diamond Falls ran a tremendous race for Simone Fiorentini but it was a typical so near and yet so far for the son of Alhebayeb who has been placed fifteen times in twenty three starts but on only two occasions has he passed the post first. A fabulous race make sure you enjoy it in the San Rossore review at the end of the article.
We saw a very interesting newcomer in the Premio Sansonetto over a mile. Breughel a Dormello Olgiata home bred son of Night Of Thunder and Baratella dam of Badram who won the Premio Pisa for the legendary stable. I have no doubt that Riccardo Santini will aim Breughel at one of the classic trials at Pisa perhaps as soon as March 6 in the Thomas Rook. The runner up EC Racing’s Giorgine Rose (Pounced) a sister to a five time winner and the third King Of Love (Holy Roman Emperor) a brother to the Federico Tesio(G2) winner Chestnut Honey and the Tracey Collins trained Captain Joy who was a ten time winner and officially rated 108 are also ones for the note book.
Last Tuesday at Naples the Olive O Connor/Raymond Gaffney bred Nanga Jambu won his fourth five furlong sprint on the trot in a fast 57.2 seconds.The grey is a Bungle Inthejungle out of Zibaline herself a sister to a pattern winner in France. Nanga Jambu won no less than six times in 2021 and if he keeps improving Paola Maria Gaetano might have a sprinter who can challenge the Milanese and Roman Sprinters for the big prizes.
The Premio Renzo Guidotti also over 1750 metres for three year olds was won in good style by the Churchill colt Il Grande Gatsby who had one and three quater lenghts to spare on Alduino Botti’s Dalek a winner over a mile on his only start. The winner who was winning for the third time in seven starts for EC Racing will probably take his chance in one of the derby trials. Il Grande Gatsby’s dam Irene Watts won five races for Vittorio Folco including the Premio Bianca Verga and was placed in the group 3 Mezzanotte over ten furlongs.
Speaking of classic trials as with the Parioli, the Regina Elena (1000 guineas) build up will also begin on March 6 at Pisa with the Premio Andreina won in 2016 by Conselice who went on to win at Capannelle and on the same day in Rome with the Premio Ceprano won in 2015 by Sound Of Freedom who also went on to classic glory. Normally the Premio Cesare Degli Occhi at Milan in mid March will be the next trial (still no date) This contest was run on St Patrick’s Day in 2021 and won easily by Wakanaka who was such an impressive winner of the Regina Elena. Capannelle itself will have the Premio Torricola on March 20 won by the 2020 Guineas winner Granatina.The Torricola along with San Siro’s Premio Seregno(LR) on April 9 are the traditional best source of winners. Four Seregno winners and one runner up have gone on to victory on the big day over the past twenty years. Another informative race is the Premio Saccaroa over 1500 metres at Capannelle won by the 2018 and 2019 winners Act Of War and Fullness of Life respectively. As you can see both Guineas have really good build ups and we hope to bring you all of the information week by week right up to May 1. With this in mind and with the neccesity of updating our Irish bred winners section we will have a little break until the weekend of March 4-6 when we will have no less than seven meetings including guineas trials at both Pisa and Rome as well as top class jumping at Treviso. The Highlight this week is the Tre Cime Lavaredo over 1950 metres for the older horses at Varese on Wednesday 15.35. As you would expect at Le Bettole Bruno Grizzetti will have a strong hand with top weight Dottor Zivago and the lightly raced filly Toronado Shadow whose dam is a sister to three of Grizzly’s best sprinters Titus Shadow,Orpen Shadow and Choisir Shadow all pattern race winners. Keep an eye on the Tally ho bred Lemhi Pass and the Angela Rossi bred Voices From War neither of whom might be far away.
These are the dates of racing over the next forthnight and remember every race will be live on www.italianhorseracing.com
February 22 Tuesday Naples, 23 Wednesday Varese (Premio Tre Cime Lavaredo 1950m) 24 Thursday Pisa
February 25 Friday Rome, 26 Saturday Follonica and Treviso 27 Sunday Pisa and Treviso
March 1 Tuesday Rome, 2 Wednesday Varese (Premio Cerreto 1500m), 3 Thursday Pisa 4 Friday Rome Premio Sinni 3F 1200m and Raffaelo 3 1200m
March 5 Saturday Follonica, Naples, Siracusa and Treviso (Steeple Chase Di Treviso 3500m LR)
March 6 Sunday Pisa Premio Thomas Rook and Premio Andreina and Rome Premio Arconte and Premio Ceprano all four over 1600 metres.
Remember all of the racing is live here. All you need to do is click on the link to live Italian racing.
VIDEO: San Rossore Pisa recap February 20