Winterbottom Stakes Soar For Saracino


Former New Zealand galloper Saracino has been well backed to win the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on December 1 after a top trial win on Monday.

After opening as a $51 prospect with Tabtouch last week, the Chris Gangemi-trained Saracino is now into as low as $10 for Western Australia’s premier $1 million sprint race.

At his first public outing in Western Australia, Saracino led comfortably to defeat Gatting by 2 ½ lengths in 55.17sec., the fastest heat time over 950m at Lark Hill.

Gangemi said Saracino, a winner at three of 13 starts, was ready to launch his Perth debut in the Group 3 Prince Of Wales Stakes (1000m) in a fortnight.

“It was obviously what we wanted to see,” said a delighted Gangemi.

“He hadn’t had a hit out since he has been here.

“He is heading to the Prince Of Wales in a couple of weeks so we didn’t want to give him a gut buster.

“He just needed a nice little hit out which is what he got and did what we were hoping he was going to do.”

Saracino came to the Gangemi stable and a group of their clients for a modest price after failing to run in the first three at his past 10 starts.

But the Per Incanto gelding did show talent early in his career with his three victories coming in Group 2 races, two of those in New Zealand and one in Melbourne in the Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington two years ago.

“He was a horse we picked up on an on line auction for not much money a few months ago,” Gangemi said.

“We probably got him for not much because his form had gone off.

“But it looked as though he was a very good three-year-old.

“From the time we have got him he has done nothing but impress us.

“We have given him a good spell and start from scratch.

“He has been working like a top class horse for the past couple of months.”

With Durendal Lockroy, Super Maxi also in line for the Winterbottom Stakes, Gangemi said he was reluctant to declare Saracino as the stable’s flag bearer in the sprint feature.

“He has to do it on race day,” Gangemi said.

“I wouldn’t say he was the number one seed just yet.

“But he is heading that way.”

Julio Santarelli