Strike while the iron’s hot. It’s a mantra that many trainers go by because form of horses can vary from day to day. This is the time of the year where the season is almost upon us and there are plenty of all-weather horses looking to take their form forward in the coming months. Giacomo Casanova has made a perfect start to the new year and shown that as a 3 year old he is improving with racing and time. Having won on his return to action, Casanova headed back to Newcastle to take the 5f Ladbrokes Handicap.
Having shown little in his juvenile year, Giacomo Casanova came back after a break refreshed and more mature. Physically he looked to have strengthened up and this proved true when Kevin dropped the colt back to the minimum trip for his first run of 2019. He took full advantage of his lowly mark of 55 to run away with a 0-65 handicap, smoothly cruising to the front and kicking clear to secure his first win by 2 1/4 lengths.
It was great to see Casanova get his head in front but there was no doubt that the handicapper wouldn’t take any risks with him. The 7lb rise came and was warranted for his performance but it would mean that next time out he would need to show the same form. Unfortunately there wasn’t too many options so Kevin waited for the right race to come back at Newcastle. The 5f Ladbrokes Handicap was the perfect race, 53-62 and over the same C&D.
Andrew Mullen took the ride once again and the pair lined up against 5 rivals. Although there was two other previous winners in the field, Casanova brought the strongest form. It would be more testing with the extra 7lb but that was earned through a convincing win and it wouldn’t have made a difference last time out. Therefore Casanova was sent off favourite to back up his win.
All 6 runners were well away but it was Sister Of The Sign who pulled her way to the front and set the pace. Dropped in the track the pace, Casanova settled just off the leaders and got into a nice rhythm from the get go. The field raced towards the centre of the track through the early stages.
It was a good pace being set as the runners galloped though the first furlong. Casanova was again showing he can travel with ease chasing the pace and Andrew had him perfectly positioned. They were soon bursting through halfway and into the business end of the race. Sister Of The Sign had proven to be quite keen throughout so came under pressure well over 2f from home. It immediately looked as though she was a sitting duck, especially with Casanova cruising down the outer. He was chased by stable mate Joey Boy who was tracking the colt’s every move and going almost as well heading past the 2f marker.
Weakening under pressure the leader quickly gave way and this caused a slight issue for Casanova. Andrew was now left in front and although Casanova had cantered to the front there was still 1 1/2f to run. He continued to give a tow to Joey Boy and now Secret Picnic was beginning to pick up from the rear of the field. With no choice Andrew had to commit and Casanova quickened clear. It was clear now that only one of the trio could win and Casanova had made the first move.
Having extended into a 1 1/2 length lead Casanova headed into the final furlong with the race at his mercy. His rivals were trying hard and they were given a sniff in the final 200 yards. Having hit the front Casanova now began to drift towards the stands side rail. Joey Boy was picking up and closing the gap with every stride down towards the centre whilst Secret Picnic was coming through up the rail. Andrew switched his stick through to his right hand and tried to prevent the colt from further movement across the track. Unfortunately Casanova didn’t respond to his jockey but was still moving forwards. Holding a good length advantage he did cross in front of Secret Picnic, who in turn had to stop riding. This left Joey Boy to throw down one last challenge but he wasn’t picking up quickly enough. Casanova had a comfortable advantage and maintained his run all the way to the line. Beating his stable mate, Giacomo Casanova won by 3/4 length to pick up his second career win in as many runs.
Casanova is obviously a colt on the up and he could continue to thrive. He travelled with ease before quickening up and almost purring the race to bed along way from home. Unfortunately he did drift but this was more due to the fact that he was in front a long way out. Andrew would have loved to continue to get a lead for further but the race didn’t pan out like that. Although he crossed over the eventual 3rd placed horse, Casanova was far enough clear that it wouldn’t have made a difference to the end result. Again the handicapper will have a reassessment of the colt and it will be likely that a steep up in grade will be next. With the turf season just around the corner it could be that Casanova has one more run on the AW before trying his luck back on the turf. What is for sure is that the colt is on the upgrade and there’s no reason to think that he can’t continue on that upward trajectory.