It might look a fairly mundane midweek meeting on a heavy11 track at Pukekohe on Wednesday but don’t be surprised if a future staying talent is unearthed.
The powerful stable of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman will be represented by two runners in the NZB Pearl Insurance 2YO (1200m) including well-bred debutant Botti.
From the first crop of ill-fated stallion Jakkalberry, Botti is a three-quarter brother to Baker’s multiple Group 1 winner Lion Tamer.
While Botti will be aiming to emulate his high-profile sibling by winning on debut at Pukekohe, Baker said the juvenile doesn’t share many similarities with the quirky entire Lion Tamer, whose career highlights included a six-and-a-half length romp in the Group 1 VRC Derby (2500m) and a strong win in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m).
“Botti is a chestnut whereas Lion Tamer was a bay, and he is a gelding,” Baker said.
“He’s won two trials and we do like him.
“Pukekohe will be a real test on the heavy track. He’s a staying horse, but we’ll give him a go. We’ve got to make a start and we will also nominate for Hawera on Friday in case they call the meeting off.”
Baker and Forsman also put the polish on Botti’s half-sister Let Me Roar, while the stable’s Group 2 winner Harris Tweed is also from the same family.
“Let Me Roar was a very talented mare. She won six out of seven starts and was third in the Easter at her other start,” Baker said. Botti is raced by breeder Luigi Muollo, owner of Novara Park on the outskirts of Cambridge where young sire Jakkalberry retired in 2014 until his sudden death from a bout of colic earlier this year.
“I race him with my brother Tony and my father Antonio,” Muollo said. The juvenile is named after Italian racing’s famous Botti family, with multiple members of the family having a hand in the successful globe-trotting career of Group 1 winner Jakkalberry.
“The Botti family have been a dominant force in Italian racing since the 70s,” Muollo said.
“Jakkalberry was trained by Endo Botti to win the Gran Premio di Milano in Italy before transferring to his cousin Marco in Newmarket for whom he placed in both the Dubai Sheema Classic and the Melbourne Cup.” Muollo is bullish about the progeny of Jakkalberry and believes his stocks will rise significantly by the end of the year once his eldest turn three and get over ground.
With just a handful of runners to date from his first crop of fifty foals, Jakkalberry has already been represented by the Group 3-placed Thomas Aquinas.
“We’re devastated by the loss of the stallion. I’ve still got twenty mares in foal to him and I am keen to retain them all.
“My brother owns a filly by Jakkalberry called Pressure who is likely to have her first start on Friday for Matt Cumani in Australia. She has also shown plenty. She is out of a half-sister to Press Statement and I think she will ultimately be a 2000m horse.
“I’m looking forward to this week and I am really excited by where we think they will get to.”