Trip down memory lane for Bell as Stage Play gets lines right for important win
Michael Bell reckoned Stage Play's victory in the Premio Divino Amore at Capannelle racecourse near Rome on Sunday was his first in Italy for at least ten years.
Bell was a regular visitor in the 1990s, enjoying a productive period, but his runners in Italy have dried up in recent years.
He was, however, delighted to be back in the winner's enclosure in a race he reminisced about capturing 28 years ago with Sir Basil.
Matching that horse's achievements was Stage Play, a daughter of Oasis Dream making her ninth start of 2018 and recording an important Listed success.
The Newmarket-based trainer, who won the Oaks d'Italia with Zanzibar in 2001, said: "We'd won the Divino Amore before and we've had a stack of winners in Italy over the years, but not many for a long time, perhaps ten years.
"I must have had 20 to 25 winners in Italy, the likes of Ancestral Dancer and Timekeeper, who we'd leave out there and they'd win a few races."
Stage Play, who runs in the silver Clipper Logistics colours of Steve Parkin, was ridden by Joe Fanning, who went on to land the Group 3 Premio Ribot Memorial Loreto Luciani on Masham Star for his boss Mark Johnston.
Bell added: "Stage Play's been knocking on the door in a few Listed races so thoroughly deserved to win one.
"We'll talk to the owners, but given she's a Listed winner and they're setting up a broodmare band it could be job done. She's had a busy two-year-old campaign and one possibility is she has a good rest and comes back in the second half of next season when this Listed penalty will be gone, but that's something to discuss later.
"She jinked about a furlong out and Joe said she looked at something – she didn't hang, just jinked before he straightened her up – and then she won by two and a quarter lengths."
You might also be interested in: