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Giavellotto hits the target to put Botti back in the limelight

  • Post category:UK Racing News
  • Reading time:5 mins read


Giavellotto is the Italian word for javelin, a piece of equipment that can travel both far and fast when handled with precision and power.

A javelin would traditionally arc in a perfect straight line too, a skill Marco Botti’s colt will learn in time now the speed and stamina elements of his craft are well proven.

Giavellotto is a son of Mastercraftsman out of a Galileo mare named Gerika, a chestnut like her son who ran in the same silks at Italian tracks like Capannelle and San Siro.

Of her seven runners to take to the track Giavellotto looked like the gifted child even before today, scoring by five lengths in a Newmarket handicap and then outrunning 28-1 odds with a gallant performance behind Eldar Eldarov in the St Leger, crossing the line in fourth but being promoted to third.

He ended last season with another smart performance, this time finishing second to Kevin Philippart De Foy’s useful El Habeeb in the Noel Murless Stakes at Ascot.

A winter holiday in Meydan then resulted in a luckless outing in the Dubai Gold Cup, where he could not overcome a wide draw and eventually came home down the field as Broome came out on top.

The two horses met again on the Knavesmire for the Boodles Yorkshire Cup, and while Broome was the 9-4 joint-favourite alongside Meydan runner-up Siskany, Giavellotto was largely overlooked under Andrea Atzeni at odds of 14-1.

Throughout the course of the one-mile-six-furlong contest the colt did little to draw attention to himself as he travelled along in mid-division and most eyes focused on Eldar Eldarov, Broome and Quickthorn – the latter the reigning Lonsdale Cup champion.

As the race approached the final three furlongs, however, it was Giavellotto who was gaining ground as he began to leave his past rivals behind him at the furlong pole.

Then there was a wobble, and as the post approached Giavellotto began to search for the inside rail, hampering Quickthorn and running into the space Broome probably had in mind for his next few strides.

Botti’s charge crossed the line first and Eldar Eldarov, having challenged down the centre of the course, was second, but the sound of post-race celebrations were soon interrupted by the bing-bong chime that precedes a stewards’ inquiry.

It was a lengthy one too, and Botti crossed his fingers as he tended to Giavellotto before delivering a cautiously optimistic interview to the waiting television cameras.

Eventually the second chime sounded and the victory was confirmed, at which point the trainer embraced a sobbing Italian woman named Francesca Franchini, now the owner and breeder of a Yorkshire Cup hero.

“We were a bit nervous because you never know what could happen in the stewards’ room, but I’m delighted,” he said.

“We thought he would come here with a good chance, obviously the form of the St Leger was good form. In hindsight he was a bit unlucky with the interference and he didn’t have a clear run, but today he’s proven he’s up to this level.

“He stays well, he’s still a little immature and for a four-year-old he’s still quite babyish mentally.

“Before he ran in the St Leger he had only won a handicap in Newmarket, we always said we’d just bring him along and give him time to mature.

“He ran a big race in the St Leger and we took him to Dubai in March for the Gold Cup, but it didn’t really work out and here we are!”

The Yorkshire Cup often leads into the Gold Cup at Ascot but that will not be the case for Giavellotto, who does not hold an entry as Botti does not see the track being exactly to his liking.

He said: “He will just get better and better, we don’t know where we will go next yet. We’ve never felt Ascot will be the track for him, he’s a big horse and we don’t feel it will suit so we will be looking for other options.”

Of Scuderia La Tesa, Francini’s breeding operation, and the evident emotion of the success, he added: “It’s great for the owner, who bred the horse as well, I’m delighted.

“They’re from Milan, they actually lost the mare this year so the owner is quite emotional because it means a lot.

“It’s the first Group race they’ve won in England so she was quite emotional. It’s great for the yard, we’ve had a couple of quiet years and it’s great to be back with a nice horse.”

Nice horses are hard to come by and seem harder still to keep hold of, something Botti knows well as he has seen several prospects sold abroad over the last few seasons.

“Last year to the year before, we had horses like Tatsumaki, who was unbeaten and then sold to Hong Kong,” he said.

“We’ve always been in a situation where we’re on the market and we have to sell sometimes, they don’t come along very often these good horses.

“It’s great we’ve kept him and hopefully we’ll have some fun through the season – a Melbourne Cup would be nice!”


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