As the Italian season(31 December) begins to come to a close we hope Over the next few weeks we to bring you ratings for the best horses in each category in Italy for 2021. We will also give updates on the statistics for Jockeys, trainers, owners and of course breeders who we will give an update on today.
First however to a look back at a weekend which gives hope to Italian stayers something which has been sadly lacking over the past quarter of a century.The decline of Italian staying can possibly be best summed up by the race we will look at this weekend the Premio Roma Vecchia over 2800 metres (1 mile and seven furlongs).The big hope is Atzeco the three year old who has completed the St Leger – Roma Vecchia double only achieved twice this century by Noel in 2000 and Pretending in 2019 but both of these were six year olds when they attained the milestone. Dario Vargiu riding his 100th winner of an injury interrupted season was as usual superb on board and the multiple Italian champion was winning the race for the seventh time now with a prize fund of €38,500. In 1997 almost a quarter of a century ago when his namesake Maurizio won the Roma Vecchia the prizemoney was the equivalent of € 113,620 and since then we have seen a gradual and painful decline. Atzeco (Fastnet Rock-Examinee bred by the Kathryn stud) knows nothing of this and by his performances over the past three weeks gives Italian racing hope that finally a horse has emerged who can bring some excitement to the staying scene. Atzeco’s half brother by Farhh made 160,000 guineas at the Tattersalls October yearling sales. As a son of Fastnet Rock perhaps Alduino and Stefano Botti along with owner Diego Romeo can have dreams of the Melbourne Cup in 2022. Ireland has had several winners, Dunaden has won for France, Cross Counter for Britain and Protectionist for Germany so why not Atzeco for Italy. Atzeco is certainly the most promising stayer seen in Italy in many years and on Sunday he simply cruised to victory in a race which endorsed the St Leger form. Unique Diamond third and Blanc Menteur fourth in the classic filled the minor placings in the Roma Vecchia with the Botticelli winner Tiaspettofuori fourth. The big disappointment of the race was Mooney Love, the son of Australia simply had enough three furlongs out on the heavy ground. It is going to be very interesting the programme the son of Fastnet Rock follows in 2022 as thanks to the Italian authorities and the European pattern committee he will not have enough opportunities in Italy. Could he join the Team Botti operations in Chantilly or Newmarket but what a coup it would be if he were to challenge for Melbourne from Cenaia.
The Premio Buontalenta (Lr 1600m € 38,500) for fillies and mares over 1600 metres emphasized once more the strength of the Italian females in 2021, a field of fourteen including challengers from France,Germany and Hungary. The first home of the foreign invaders was Kilkenny from Hans Blume’s stable in ninth place as Pierpaolo Sbariggia and Andrea Fele enjoyed one of their finest moments with the Ballyhane Stud Carlow bred Bridge Battlango (Battle Of Marengo-Fashion Central).The five year old mare has been threatening a big performance all year and loves a cut in the ground which she certainly got yesterday. Bridge Battlango is out of a Dubawi mare who is closely related to some very decent winners. The Ashling Burke bred Agostino Affe trained Haven Park this time held up ran on very well to take second with Deadline third and Rose Secret fourth. Sakhees Secrets daughter was just unable to honour her father in the Buontalenta but as a tribute to his overall contribution three of the his offspring won this weekend. Secret Risk won the Premio Internazionale over 1200 metres for Endo Botti in Rome on Friday, Yes We Can won the Premio Banditella in Livorno over 1500 metres for Iacopo Bindi and in Siracusa Daser won the Premio Fiume for Vincenzo Messina over 1000 metres both on Saturday.
The Premio Nearco (HPA 1600m €31,800) turned out to be a titanic battle between the in form Endo Botti’s Win The Best and his Uncle Alduino’s Lord Bay.
Win The Best bred by Sandro Garavelli in Delvin Co.Westmeath outstayed the Nicholas Teehan Kilkenny bred Lord Bay with Convivio third and Terrible Land fourth. The winner a five year old son of Helmet now standing in Italy was winning his eight contest and his fourth handicap principale. No doubt we will see him in one of Pisa’s big handicaps before the season ends. Lord Bay has proven a great money spinner for the Botti’s and one would expect him to add to his Premio Pisa(LR) win in 2022.
In Siracusa on Saturday the DG Iceton bred Stefano Postiglione trained Yelsara (Estidhkaar-Dream Maker) made it two from two in the Premio Silver Horizon and will be a strong candidate in the Criterium Dell Immacolate on December 8. Orange Suit (Declaration Of War – Guantanamera Barronstown stud) might not just be of the same standard as his sisters the St Leger heroine Simple Verse and the Ribblesdale winner Even Song but he chalked up his seventh win for Antonio De Luca in the Premio Raimonda Di Capua over 1900 metres also in the Mediterraneo on Saturday.
As we said Atzeco was Dario Vargiu’s 100th winner of the season, the Sardinian’s 101st came at Naples today aboard Clean Emperor (Dragon Pulse-Scala Romana bred by Matt Duffy).The half brother to Lafayette winner of the Irish Lincolnshire and a listed in Roscommom ,trained by the flying Endo Botti might just follow the footsteps of his brother in 2022 at stakes level. Vargiu on 101 leads Tore Sulas by four with Mario Sanna on 86 and Gabriele Cannarella on 83.The Champion is now odds on to retain his title but Sulas is still in there. On the jockeys front arguably the most effective of all Italian jockeys Fabio Branca apparently will be riding in France in 2022 possibly for Gianluca Bietolini but a lot depends on the final judgement from the authorities of his altercation with Claudio Colombi. Irish bred’s don’t enjoy the same level of success over jumps in Italy as on the flat but on Saturday in Treviso the Kilnamoragh Stud bred Passion Return (Casamento-Fillthegobletagain) was a good winner for Josef Vana Junior and the Scuderia Aichner. The Czech born trainer is staging a late rally in the “Ostacoli” trainers table and before the year is out might just knock Raffaele Romano off the top spot.
On the breeding statistics for 2021 with just over five weeks of the season left obviously the big Italian studs such as Razza Del Velino,Sociedad Agricola Al Deni Stefano Luciani and Massimo Parri are leading the table but there is a big Irish influence with many establishments enjoying a fine season in Italy.
Aidan Sexton with 13 winners and €238,507 is the leading Irish breeder and the Kildare man is approaching 200 winners in Italy over the past twenty years a remarkable achievement. Sopran Basilea is of course the leading light with her top class wins in the Lydia Tesio (G2) and Verziere(G3) but the old warrior Change of Moon three more triumphs to reach twenty six wins and Margaut also three wins played no small part. The following all have had winners in Italy worth over €100,000 Tally Ho Stud, Francesca Turri (she is such a supporter of Irish breeding she deserves honorary status), Matt Duffy, and Ballylinch Stud. Special mention must go to Anne And John Foley with the successes of Fayathaan and Mordimi and especially to Jean Brennan also in Limerick breeder of the marvellous Wakanaka. What a pity she was sold to The USA a huge loss to Italy but sadly she hasn’t seen a racecourse since.
Racing this week
Saturday Siracusa, Livorno and Treviso(NH including the Corsa Siepi Di Treviso(LR 3,500 m)
Sunday Pisa and Rome
Monday Naples and Villacidro
All the action live on www.italianhorseracing.com
VIDEO 1: Atzeco wins the Premio Roma Vecchia
VIDEO 2: The Ballyhane bred Bridge Battlango wins the Premio Buontalenta
VIDEO 3: The Sandro Garavelli bred Win The Best wins the Premio Nearco