Chance for latest Italian sensation to shine
Horses like Falbrav and Rakti have really put Italian racing in the spotlight in recent seasons and the country's latest sensation, Ramonti, will be out to start his march down the same path in the HK$16 million Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile.
His trainers, Alduino and Giuseppe Botti, recently became the first stable in Europe ever to pass 300 wins for a season, and the Italians will present one of the more intriguing runners at Sunday's meeting.
With eight wins and three seconds from 12 starts, and only one defeat at all racing right-handed, Ramonti holds an exciting formline, but according to his rider, Endo Botti, it is only by tackling this kind of international race that the Bottis will find out just how exciting.
'He has had little racing so we are hopeful he is still improving and that he will turn out to be the top level,' Botti said yesterday at Sha Tin. 'Ramonti is a very nice horse in himself and has been winning very, very easily in Italy. He won a Group One at Milan beating Notability and Caradak, two good horses, and then he went to a Group Two in Rome and won even more easily by five lengths.'
The defeat of Caradak at Milan was hugely significant as that horse was coming off a Group One win in France's Prix Foret.
The front-running miler's only significant defeat was a seventh of 10 in the Group One Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville in August, but Botti is quick to dismiss that run as an aberration.
'At Deauville, the mile course is a straight course and Ramonti was never able to settle on that style of track,' he said. 'He simply overraced the whole way and burned himself up. He took no harm from it, as his form since has shown us, but now we know he really needs a course with turns and I think Sha Tin will really suit him.
'He was already fit when we left to come here, the horse has travelled well and he seems to like it here. He doesn't have to lead but his style is to go forward and be running close to the lead if not leading.'
The four-year-old is expected to have a good final workout this morning on the turf track.