Past Winners » Forte Dei Marmi


It is easy to see why they have put Senate in so short for this. He is a progressive three-year-old, he won well at Doncaster last time off a mark of 95, yet he gets to race here off a mark of 94, despite the fact that the handicapper has re-assessed him at 101, so he is 7lb well-in today. Also, he hails from the John Gosden yard, which is on fire at the moment, and he will be ridden by William Buick.

There are two reasons for taking him on, however, in this really competitive handicap. For starters, he is back down in trip to 10 furlongs. He seemed to relish every yard of the 12-furlong trip last time, he came under a ride two furlongs out, there were others travelling much better than he was, but he stayed on really well through the final furlong and a half. The drop back down in trip cannot be in his favour, nor can the fact that the ground will probably be a little faster than it was at Doncaster. He seemed to really enjoy the soft ground on his penultimate run at Leicester.

There is also the manner in which the race is likely to be run. Senate made all at Leicester and he made virtually all at Doncaster, but it is highly unlikely that he will lead Aattash today. It may be that William Buick will be happy to take a lead, but whatever leads Aattash is going too fast. Buick is certain to want a good pace, it is probable that he will at least lie very handy, ensuring that Aattash sets a good pace, and it is possible that, therefore, the pace will be too fast and the race will be set up for a closer …

Forte Dei Marmi is also hugely progressive, but he is competing over his optimum trip, he has won over the course and distance, he will have the race run to suit and he is a bigger price than Senate. Furthermore, his trainer Luca Cumani has won this race three times in the last six years, and it is probable that he has had it in mind for Forte Dei Marmi for a little while. The son of Selkirk won with a lot more in hand that the one-length winning margin suggests at Sandown last time, he travelled like the best horse in the race from a long way out, and he picked up impressively when Jean-Paul Guillambert asked him to. A 4lb hike was lenient.

If you ignore his run in the John Smith’s Cup – which you can, it was the second time in two attempts that he disappointed at York – he has a continually progressive profile. He is at his best when he is held up off a fast even pace, which he is almost certain to get today, and it is easy to see him going close.