After drama before the race, and then during the running, it was the Jason Coyle trained Va Pensiero with Tim Clark up who won the $125,000, Group 3 Smithfield RSL Club San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Va Pensiero(Tim Clark) gets up to win the San Domenico, picture sportpix.com.au
At the barriers the $2.80 favourite Whittington was scratched after rearing and then being withdrawn for a vet inspection which ruled him out of the race.
When the barriers opened Kuroshio and Christian Reith were out well from barrier one and immediately took up the running with Clark sending Va Pensiero forward from barrier nine to settle one out on Kuroshio’s flank.
Never Can Tell and Peter Robl followed with Windjammer and Nathan Berry outside them with Sidestep with Tommy Berry, and Cluster and Hugh Bowman, behind. Fast Dragon and James McDonald tracked the field lost for early pace.
Once into the main straight Kuroshio still led with Val Pensiero outside. With 325m to run Clark sent Va Pensiero forward to the lead.
Kuroshio could not sustain the pace and faded while stablemate Sidestep and Berry could not extract themselves from behind Windjammer. Berry was forced to sit up on Sidestep and then he had difficulty in steering the colt, who was the favourite for the race during the week, in a straight path down the middle of the track.
Inside, Bowman on Cluster, was faced with finding a passage either inside or outside the leader and eventually he had to go inside with Never Can Tell to the right of Va Pensiero blocking that passage.
Once he was chasing the leader Cluster made ground but it was too late and Va Pensiero went to the line with a handy margin of 3/4L.
Cluster (Fastnet Rock) was a half-head ahead of Windjammer (Bernardini) with Sidestep fourth and Never Can Tell fifth.
The time was 1.04.54 on the Good 3 track with the final 600m in 34.39. Va Pensiero paid $9.90 on NSW TAB.
“He was there and there 'abouts' a couple of times and he has been a bit unlucky but today it all fell into place even with the scratching of Whittington. He was strong to the line today and I think he showed a clean pair of heels and I am very happy with him,” said Coyle.
“I guess we could only be guided by what he has done. His track work has been good and he trialled great and he showed today that he has come back well.
“I genuinely think he will get 1400m but he probably still has to relax a little in front as he raced a touch fresh today . Hopefully that was knocked out of him and in a couple of weeks we will be in the bigger races,” he said.
“He went well. The plans changed a bit when Nash’s horse (Whittington) came out and it took a bit of the speed out of the race. We were a little bit in two minds before the race but that made my decision when that horse came out,” said Clark.
“It was good to be positive from then and we followed the leader and he gave a good kick and he was strong on the line.
“I personally think he is a sprinter. He has good speed and he is best ridden for his speed,” he said.
Tommy Berry protested against brother Nathan for third place but the Racing NSW stewards’ quickly dismissed the idea.
Va Pensiero, picture sportpix.com.au
Va Pensiero won his second start last campaign over 1000m at Warwick Farm on February 9th and then raced in the Group 2 Todman Stakes and Group 1 Golden Slipper without featuring.
The Stratum colt has returned in good form from his spell after the Slipper in April to take a good win over a good field. He now has the record of two wins and a second place from the six starts with stakes of $163,750 for owners BD Collins, LD Jacobson and GS Banks.
Race 6, photofinish picture ATC