The well-travelled Giovanni Canaletto will attempt to build on a promising last-start performance when he lines up in tomorrow’s Gr. 2 City of Palmerston North Awapuni Gold Cup.
The Irish-bred son of Galileo has won only one race, a maiden at Leopardstown in his second start in October of 2014. But since then he has run fourth in the Epsom Derby, third in the Irish Derby and third in the Hong Kong Derby, along with four other black-type placings.
Giovanni Canaletto made his debut for the Matamata stable of Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott in early November, finishing fourth at Tauranga. The seven-year-old was unplaced in his next two starts, but then showed big improvement for a close third behind Vin De Dance and Rondinella in the Listed Kaimai Stakes at Matamata.
“That was a really encouraging performance and much closer to what we thought he might be capable of,” Scott said.
“He’s trained on well since then and we’re looking forward to Saturday. Hopefully he can put together two good performances in a row and give us a little bit of confidence to make some more plans with him.”
Giovanni Canaletto will be ridden by Jake Bayliss and is on the third line of favouritism at $5.50. Dolcetto heads the market at $4.40, with impressive last-start St Leger winner Sampson at $5.
O’Sullivan and Scott will also line up talented filly Taming The Shrew in the Gr. 3 Higgins Concrete Manawatu Classic.
The daughter of Shocking scored a stylish come-from-behind win at Matamata two starts back, then stepped up to 2000 metres in a Rating 72 race last start and made up good ground for third.
“The track was favouring horses who raced on the speed that day and she was one of the few horses to run on from the back,” Scott said.
“You never really know if a horse is going to stay until you try it, so we really liked the way she ran out the 2000 metres that day.
“She’s had the benefit of that first run over ground now, and while it’s a strong field this weekend, we’re expecting her to perform well.”
Also to be ridden by Bayliss, Taming The Shrew will have to overcome the second-to-outside gate in the 2000-metre three-year-old feature. She is rated a $17 sixth favourite.
The market is dominated by a quartet of runners from the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman stable. Spring Delight is the $2.60 favourite, followed by The Chosen One at $4, Nordic at $6 and Lord Arthur $7.50.
The most favoured of the non-Baker/Forsman runners is the Peter McKay-trained Langkawi, who is fifth favourite at $8.50.