Estejo (middle) could run in Premio Presidente Della Repubblica next monthPICTURE: Hippogroup Roma Capannelle-Scoopdyga
Group 1 winner Estejo faces four at San Siro
Preview: Italy, Sunday 2.55pm BST
San Siro: Premio Ambrosiano (Group 3) 1m2f, turf, 4yo+
DUAL Group 1-winner Estejo (Ralf Rohne/Pierantonio Convertino) faces just four rivals as he continues his preparation for another tilt at next month's Premio Presidente Della Repubblica at Capannelle.
Estejo won that Group 1 event in May last year but was then off the track until two weeks ago when he finished a six-length third to Derby Italiano winner Crackerjack King.
He showed a degree of ring-rustiness that day and has to overcome the 'bounce' factor, while it also has to be noted that he is now eight and vulnerable to the younger generation.
One such opponent is the five-year-old Saratoga Black (Bruno Grizzetti/Fabio Branca), a winner five times from 17 careers starts and inched out in a three-way photo behind Voila Ici and Scalo in the Group 1 Gran Premio di Milano over a mile and a half - stablemate Frankenstein (Bruno Grizzetti/Mirco Demuro) was back in sixth that day.
Both Grizzetti runners were beaten on their seasonal returns, but Frankenstein has since won in Listed company at Pisa and the booking of Demuro suggestshe might be the one to follow on Sunday.
Also on Sunday
San Siro: Premio Emanuele Filiberto (Listed) 1m2f, turf, 3yo colts and geldings, 4.40pm BST
A traditional trial for the Derby Italiano and Vola E Va (Bruno Gizzetti/Mirco Demuro), Mister Sandro (Stefano Botti/Luca Manezzi), Smoking Joe (Stefano Botti/Fabio Branca) and Duca Di Mantova (Endo Botti/Claudio Colombi) are all hoping to cement a place in the Capannelle Classic on May 20.
Vola E Va was fourth to recent Nell Gwyn runner-up Nayarra in the Group 1 Gran Criterium here in October and copes well with the prevailing testing ground, but he was beaten a length and a quarter by Mister Sandro over course and distance earlier this month, a reverse of the form they showed against each other in a conditions event here in November.
That was the month when Smoking Joe finished two places behind runner-up Vola E Va in a Listed race at this track, the only defeat in Smoking Joe's four-race career.
On balance, the well made Smoking Joe could be the one to emerge as a leading Derby candidate - connections blame poor luck in running rather than heavy ground for that one defeat onhis CV and he is a Mujahid half-brother to Sneek A Peak who finished fourth in last year's Derby Italiano and is now plying his trade in Australia.
Duca Di Mantova broke his duck at the second time of asking last Sunday, when he took a course and distance maiden by a distance, but takes on much stiffer opposition this time.