Cleo Fan lands
surprise Group 1 victory
Report: Italy, Sunday
Capannelle: Premio Presidente della Repubblica (Group 1) 1m2f, turf, 4yo+
IT CAME as no great surprise that trainer Stefano Botti won the big race in Italy on Sunday, however what was surprising was the fact he achieved it with Cleo Fan (Umberto Rispoli) rather than the prolific Priore Philip.
It was really a tale of two jockeys - Rispoli setting the fractions on the stable second string and Dario Vargiu suffering a torrid time trying to keep hold of the hard-pulling Priore Philip, odds-on to secure a fourth Group 1 success of his career.
As it transpired, Rispoli was able to turn up the gas in the straight and leave his rivals with too much to find from inside the final three furlongs. The pair still had to dig deep to hold off the final furlong flourish produced by Magic Artist but there was a neck to spare at the line.
The winner was reversing the short-head defeat he suffered against Magic Artist last time out in the the Group 3 Premio Ambrosiano over this trip at San Siro.
Cleo Fan, who is by Mujahid, has now garnered four wins and six seconds from ten starts but this was his first success at Group level.
Meanwhile Priore Philip, who was beaten about eight lengths in sixth, was a spent force more than two furlongs from the finish, his candle having been extinguished by his desperate failure to settle. He will live to fight another day but unless he learns to be more amenable to the man on board, a return to a mile is likely.