Stefano Botti: has yet to win the Italian 2,000 GuineasPICTURE: Stefano Grasso
Stefano Botti dominates Italian Guineas markets
Preview: Italy, Sunday 3.45pm BST
Capannelle: Premio Parioli Sisal Matchpoint (Group 3) 1m, turf, 3yo colts & geldings
SUCH is the dominance of the Stefano Botti stable in the Italian racing scene that it is no surprise to see him saddle seven runners with good chances in Sunday's two Classics in Rome.
It is a surprise, though, to realise Botti has yet to win the Premio Parioli, the local version of the 2,000 Guineas.
That glaring omission from the Botti CV has every chance of being corrected this time around, with Brex Drago (Dario Vargiu), Clockwinder (Cristian Demuro) and Hero Look (Fabio Branca) looking a very useful trio.
Hero Look would have been unbeaten in four starts but for being demoted to second after beating Pelandrun (Giorgio Pucciatti/Germano Marcelli) in a recognised Guineas trial on heavy ground over this track and trip nearly three weeks ago.
Hero Look, the top two-year-old last season, had already put Pelandrun in his place when he drifted right close home, prompting an exaggerated snatching up by Marcelli on the runner-up. The stewards reversed the placings but there won't be many expecting that altered result to be repeated on this occasion.
The likely dangers? Stablemate Clockwinder, who also carries the blue and yellow Effevi silks, looked a good colt when winning the Premio Pisa, while General Sherman (Endo Botti/Carlo Fiocchi) has won the last three of his four career starts and scored a smart performer when slamming Another Way by four lengths in the Premio Gardone at San Siro, Milan earlier this month.
Also on Sunday
Capannelle: Premio Regina Elena (Group 3) 1m, turf, 3yo fillies, 5.00pm BST
The Botti-Effevi combination holds a strong hand in the Italian equivalent to the 1,000 Guineas, with Reset In Blue (Fabio Branca) and Sound Of Freedom (Cristian Demuro) both unbeaten in three starts.
They are coupled for betting purposes but either filly would start favourite in her own right and there is little to choose between them.
However, there was something very taking about the way in which Sound Of Freedom came home three lengths clear of stablemate Aury Touch (Nicola Pinna) at San Siro earlier this month, with two other of today's opponent's back in third and fourth, Cetra (Marco Gasparini/Luca Maniezzi) and Kocna (Endo Botti/Mario Sanna).
That was a stronger race than the Milan trial won by Reset In Blue, although she could do no more than saunter home eight lengths clear.
Botti also saddles Kyllachy Queen (Dario Vargiu), expected to overturn recent placings with Linard (Endo Botti/Carlo Fiocchi) when they were the first two home over this track and trip. The revised weights and far less testing ground are the two factors which influence that opinion.
If there is to be an upset, then improving Testa O Croce (Viggiu' SRL/Umberto Rispoli) could be the one. She won well on her return at San Siro earlier in the month and was close behind Kyllachy Queen in a decent Listed event over seven and a half furlongs of this course last season.