A busy weekend in Italy on the flat and over jumps with the triple champion L’Estran making an imperious return in the Premio Lunedi’ Di Pentecoste(LR 3900 metres).The Josef Vana junior trained nine year old won in a canter fifteen lenghts clear of Peace Garden with Piton Des Neiges third and Big City a distance back in fourth.The obvious initial target is the group 1 Grand Steeplchase D’Europa on June 19 but the primary focus will remain the Gran Premio Di Merano in September. L’Estran injury permitting will have a great chance of writing himself a special place in Italian racing history in September.He appears to be as good as ever even after almost nine months off the track a credit to Vana.
The two five year olds acquitted themselves relatively well Peace Garden an excellent second with Big City having his first experience of the Merano fences fourth despite numerous errors.
The Premio Chivas Regal hurdle(LR) over 3500 metres was a much more competitive affair with Skins Rock so often the bridesmaid in big hurdles at Merano prevailing by half a length from the champion Live Your Life. The Vana/Aichner teams Laldann was third and Ivo fourth. The Gran Corsa Siepi Di Merano(G1) on June 18 is over 500 metres further and it will be very interesting to see if Live Your Life can reverse the placings with Zdenek Semenka’s horse. The Czech trainer was completing a double as earlier Machinos proved his victory in the Premio Siepi dei 4 anni(G2) at San Siro was no fluke. The French bred now unbeaten in three will head for the G2 Criterium Di Primavera on June 18.
Until 2022 all of the Scuderia Aichner horses were with Josef Vana Junior but this year the Bolzano owner has sent some young hurdlers to champion trainer Raffaele Romano. One of the first of this batch is Ramuntcho a three year by the Knockhouse stud stallion Kap Rock who was hugely impressive in the Premio Cermes over 3000 metres. He ran away from the opposition winning by a distance from stablemate Kentucky Tango with a disappointing Berkshire Phoenix third. The Premio Dei Giovanni on June 19 will probably be his next target.
The Oaks D’Italia picture was hardly made clearer by the principle trial the Mario Incisa Della Rocchetta(LR 38,500) over 2000 metres at San Siro. EC Racing’s Wintry Flower(Gleneagles) was a neck winner from the Con Marnane bred Macasai (Buratino) who was a nose ahead of Never Ending Story(Arcano) with the favourite Is Arutas three quarters of a length back in fourth.The El Kabeir filly just didnt show the sparkle of her previous three runs and never looked like winning. EC racing fillies are in tremendous form this year and Wintry Flower whose dam Winter Serenade was trained by Marco Botti in Newmarket winning two of her four starts over 2400 metres. On breeding she should relish the extra two hundred metres on Oaks day better than any of the others who ran here. One can only imagine that the connections of the Regina Elena first three will be very tempted by the big prize on offer in three weeks after this inconclusive race.
The Premio Bereguardo (LR 1600 metres) saw a tremendous dual between Grizzetti Galoppo’s Parioli winner Cima Emergency and EC’s Win The Best bred by Sandro Garavelli in Westmeath. Claudio Colombi’s mount won by a neck with Terrible Land third and Mordimi running on late to be fourth. Cima Emergency having his second big race in a week was conceding 2.5 kilos and both will probably renew rivalry in the Carlo Vittadini on June 19. Win the Best is a typical Helmet improving with age similar to Grizzetti’s Cantocorale winner of the Presidente Della Repubblica last weekend. Helmet has had only twelve runners in Italy so far this year eight of whom have won with Cantocorale and Win The Best winning at black type level.2023 will see a lot more progeny of the Il Grifone stallion as he is now in his second season standing at the Turinese stud.
Sebastiano Guerrieri’s two year olds are in tremendous form. Both Hurricane Black in the Alberto Giubilo at Capannelle on Sunday and Sogno Infinito in the Dell’Avvenire at San Siro on Saturday certainly advertised their chances in the upcoming Primo Passi. Hurricane Black (Brazen Beau) bred by Michael Rogers and Conor Noone cruised home on Capannelle’s 1200 metres in 69.2 seconds three and a quarter lengths clear of Calajunco an easy winner on his debut. Sogno Infinito won at San Siro in a very fast 57.8 seconds over 1000 metres even more easily. Guerrieri will have a difficult decision as to his participants in Italy’s equivalent of the Middle Park or Phoenix Stakes.
Racing this week will see three meetings on Republic day (Thursday) with three handicap principales at Capannelle’s last meeting until September. Siracusa will feature the Premio Teatro Greco over 1600 metres.Milan also races on Wednesday,Friday and Sunday where there will have a high quality meeting with no less than four black type races as well as the Premio Lombardia (HPA).There are meetings at Naples on Friday,Chilivani and Follonica on Saturday with Merano and Tagliacozzo on Sunday.A preview of all on Friday.
VIDEO 1: Hurricane Black makes it three from three in Alberto Giubilo
VIDEO 2: May 29 card at Merano All of the action