Italy: Ventura Storm chasing Group 1 glory
Ventura Storm: narrowly lost out in the St Leger at Doncaster
PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos) Ventura Storm chasing Group 1 glory in Italy
By Lee Mottershead 8:00AM 16 OCT 2016
Preview: Italy, Sunday 3.55pm BST
San Siro: Premio Jockey Club (Group 1) 1m4f, 3yo+
BRITISH stables have enjoyed great success in the Premio Jockey Club down the years and they could dominate the Group 1 prize once again on Sunday with St Leger runner-up Ventura Storm leading the raiding party and seeking compensation for his narrow Classic defeat.
Middleham Park Racing's much improved three-year-old is joined by the Sir Michael Stoute-trained September Stakes winner Arab Spring, the Andrew Balding-trained Elbereth and 2014 winner Dylan Mouth in pursuit of a contest Britain has won in 14 of the last 33 runnings.
For much of the St Leger's closing stages it seemed Ventura Storm was going to give his syndicate owners and trainer Richard Hannon a famous success. Harbour Law nailed him in the final strides but hopes are high he can go one better under Cristian Demuro.
"This race was on his agenda even before the Leger," said Middleham Park Racing's Tim Palin. "Our thinking had been if he was to win a Group 1 this year it would probably be this race. We were pleasantly surprised he ran so well in the Leger but he arguably didn't quite get home.
"You can never be too bullish at the end of a long season, but he seems to be in even better form than he was before Doncaster. He's also returning to his optimum trip.
"I certainly wouldn't swap him for anything else in the field and can't wait for the race."
Marco Botti's brother Stefano trained Dylan Mouth to take the San Siro showpiece two years ago. Although successful for his current trainer over this course and distance in May, the five-year-old has been well below his best on his last two outings.
"He's working really well," said Botti. "He'll appreciate the ground and seems to give his best form in Italy."
Stefano Botti saddles leading local hope Full Drago, while the downgraded Group 2 Gran Criterium on the same card has an abundance of Bottis, with Stefano having four of the seven runners and Marco fielding Ascot and Haydock fifth Bahamas.
Marco Botti said: "Bahamas has run respectably in Listed races and certainly hasn't been disgraced. The Italian juveniles seem nice but they may not be proper Group horses."
Botti is also represented in Sweden today, where four-year-old Brandybend runs in a Listed event at Bro Park.
Her trainer said: "The owner was very keen to send her for this race. She travelled over well and deserves to win at Listed level."