Storm camp excited by Italian job
St Leger runner-up Ventura Storm bids to go one better in the Gran Premio del Jockey Club at San Siro on Sunday.
Ventura Storm (right): Bids for Italian win
The Zoffany colt looked an exciting prospect when winning the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket on his April reappearance, but disappointed on his next three starts.
However, he made the most of having his sights lowered when winning the Glasgow Stakes at Hamilton in July and has continued his resurgence since, claiming Group Three honours in France before beating all bar Harbour Law in the season's final Classic at Doncaster last month.
Richard Hannon's charge faces six rivals in Milan this weekend and connections are confident of a bold show.
Tim Palin, racing manager for owners Middleham Park Racing, said: "This is a race we had in mind even before the Leger and to be honest, previous runnings have looked a little bit easier.
"It's a real cosmopolitan affair with great prize-money and to be going there with a genuine chance of winning a Group One is fantastic for us.
"The horse is in great shape and it will be 36 days on Sunday since he ran at Doncaster.
"The St Leger takes a lot out of a horse, especially when you're beaten, so we've purposely given him plenty of time and freshened him up.
"There is a lot of rain forecast, but how much arrives we'll have to wait and see.
"If the ground comes up heavy we'll be happy, but we'll be happy if it's good to soft as well. I just think the softer it is the more advantaged we'll be.
"It's really exciting for all his owners. Some of them are flying out on Saturday and some of them, myself included, are going there and back in the day on Sunday.
"There's always a chance he could be over the top, but whatever happens he's had a great season and we're all looking forward to it.
"I haven't booked a seat on the plane for the trophy just yet, but it's a nice thought!"
Ventura Storm was joined on the trip to Italy by the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Arab Spring, Andrew Balding's Elbereth and Marco Botti's Dylan Mouth.
The latter won this prize in 2014 when trained by Botti's brother, Stefano, and was runner-up in last year's renewal.
Full Drago, Guignol and Kloud Gate complete the field.
Man On The Spot Verdict
Group 3 winner Arab Spring should cope in this soft Group 1 contest and Sir Michael Stoute's charge should have the measure of Elbereth. It's interesting Frankie takes over the reins having ridden Marco Botti's Dylan Mouth when that one landed a Group 2 here back in May. The latter saves his best for this track but a chance is taken on VENTURA STORM. Richard Hannon's much-travelled colt is still improving judged on last month's second in the St Leger at Doncaster and he won a Group 3 in good style over today's trip at Deauville before that. Full Drago is another progressive sort and looks best of the home team.