Andrea Farolfi 's 2-year-old Perkins Grif (Classic Photo) kept his head when all of his harness racing opponents were losing theirs to dominate the final Group 1 today (Sunday November 13) the Memorial Piero Biondi Gran Criterium at the San Siro track in Milan, Italy.
The betting public and owners alike were left reeling after a race in which the four most fancied horses all blew their chances with bad manners.
But the winner well driven by Andrea Farolfi (first victory in the Grand Criterium) and set by the best trainer Walter Zanetti was one of the hopefuls with more possibilities (indeed was fifth favourite).
The race started off in disarray when it immediately lost their unbeaten Penner Lb ()(winner of the Criterium Vinovo) who broke as the starting gates peeled awa, while Pascia’ Lest ( ) (GP Auctions) the record holder for this year’s 2-year-olds with 1.13.1/1.57.6MR, was away in third place but missed stride at the beginning the first corner.
At the head of field Paramount Ok () and Plutonio ( ) (winner of the Criterium Partenopeo) came across two that remain in contention, and Perkins Grif settled third as the field straggled behind eventually catching up.
Plutonio challenged the leader Paramount Ok around the last corner but also lost it another undefeated fell by the wayside. But the lead took its toll on Paramount Ok who has spent a lot and gives up, she also lost her unbeaten status.
In a spectacular final burst, Perkins Grif at double speed surged clear, with Picard Del Ronco (), second before a valiant Pershing Bi ( ).
The same lack of manners was evident in the Group 2 Grand Criterium Filly with hot favourite Pantera Om losing all chance at the start.
Rank outsider Priority OK () from the number 7 behind the gate surged ahead with Giuseppe Maistro, to take control.
Ok Priority slowed the pace and was in command until the turn when Enrico Bellei’s Petra Inn Ronco made a dogged run and the daughter ofwent clear in the stretch to win from a gallant Priority Ok. Third was Principessa Rex (Crowning Classic).
For driver Bellei this was his second victory in the Filly group 2 at the San Siro.
Nov 13 San Siro Gran Criterium (Memorial Piero Biondi) Group 1 1600m € 220 000
1 Perkins Grif 2c (- Radiant Victory) Dr Andrea Farolfi Tr Walter Zanetti 1.14,0a/1.59.0MR €82,800
2 Picard Del Ronco 2c (- d’Amour La Vie) Dr Mauro Broncini Tr Mauro €39,600
3 Pershing Bi 2c (- Fidji Bi) Dr Antonino di Nardo Tr Jerry Riordan €21,600
Nov 13 San Siro Gran Criterium filly Group 2 € 88 000
1 Petra Inn Ronco 2f (- Cynthia Del Ronco) Dr Enrico Bellei Tr Gennaro Casillo 1.14,7a/2.00.2MR €33,120
2 Priority Ok 2f (- Annette Hanover) Dr Giuseppe Pietro Maisto Tr Paolo Romanelli €15,840
3 Principessa Rex 2f (Crowning Classic - Zeudi King) Dr Antonio Greppi Tr Albertus € 8, 640