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Trip down memory lane for Bell as Stage Play gets lines right for important win

Michael Bell: trainer has no firm plans for Stage Play
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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."

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Capannelle results on Sunday

Michael Bell's big-race wins

Europe's hidden jewel keeps Italian racing flame burning in Milan


We'd won that race before and we've had a stack of winners in Italy over the years, but not many for a long time
E.W. Terms