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Castelvecchio
Image: Steve Hart

The $2 million ATC Inglis Millennium 1200m RL was introduced to Sydney racegoers in the most spectacular fashion when Ottavio & Wendy Galletta’s Arrowfield-bred colt Castelvecchio rocketed to victory from the back of the field at Warwick Farm on Saturday afternoon.

It was a performance previewed by the Dundeel colt’s startling debut win at Canterbury last month but even so, it surprised his young Warwick Farm-based trainer Richard Litt.

“This horse is the real deal. He just does everything so easy. We never push him.

“He came here today not even revved up for this. He’s had two gallops, and they weren’t big gallops, coming into this.

“I knew coming here today there was going to be speed. I knew he was going to be finishing hard but I didn’t think he’d be doing that.”

The trio selected the Dundeel-St. Therese colt from Arrowfield’s 2018 Inglis Classic draft and paid $150,000 for him. Named Castelvecchio (Italian for “old castle”) after a famous museum in Verona, he showed early ability and trialled in September but was given time to develop further before his 18 January debut.

That careful approach is unlikely to change, despite the obvious temptation of the Golden Slipper, and Litt’s stated preference is the $1 million ATC Inglis Sires’ G1 on 6 April, the first day of The Championships.

The Gallettas have a long history in racing. Ottavio emigrated from Calabria, Italy in 1963, and worked in the construction industry, setting up his own business and employing up to 200 people in the 1970s. It was during this period that he began to race horses and he started at the top, with the 1976 Australian Harness Horse of the Year Don’t Retreat.

Other Galletta successes in thoroughbred racing include four home-bred winners out of Our Fiction, and her Group 3-winning grandson Malavio, from Snitzel’s second crop.

Castelvecchio is the third stakeswinner, after G1 winner Maid Of Heaven and G3 winner Mirrasalo, left by Arrowfield’s wonderful producer St. Therese, herself a dual stakeswinner and Group 1-placed in New Zealand.

He is also the fifth stakeswinner by Dundeel who notched up his first Group 1 winner Atyaab on 26 January and, with 19 Australian winners and $2.1 million earnings in 2018/19, is now third on the 2nd Season Sires’ Premiership.

The champion son of High Chaparral is third on the 2YO Sires’ table, alongside his barn-mates Snitzel who heads the list, and Not A Single Doubt (6th). However, if Arrowfield’s Bloodstock Manager Jon Freyer is right about Dundeel’s prospects as “the new Zabeel”, this is only the beginning of a very exciting stud career.

Dundeel has 21 yearlings on offer at the Inglis Classic Sale over the next four days, including 6 colts and 4 fillies in the Arrowfield consignment.

 
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