DRAKENSTEIN Stud’s resident stallion Duke of Marmalade has the probable favourite for the 29 May renewal of the lucrative Gr2 Oaks d’Italia in the form of Saturday’s Listed trial winner Responsibleforlove.
The Irish-foaled filly was winning for the third time in four career outings, having broken her maiden second time out at 2 by 7 lengths and duplicated that margin when winning her seasonal debut at 3.
Team Valor International, in a group that includes South African film maker Anant Singh, and Drakenstein’s owner Gaynor Rupert, bought a half interest in the filly prior to Saturday’s Premio Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, which the filly duly won as the heavy favourite.
Barry Irwin said “When I was presented with an opportunity to buy a half share of the filly, I naturally thought of inviting Gaynor because of her connection with the sire. Gaynor and Team Valor have been racing and breeding partners ever since she became a partner with us in Ebony Flyer, with whom we won the Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas.
“The win on Saturday was notable not only for the filly’s superiority over her rivals, but for the response of the filly because of the rider’s action.”
Jockey Carlo Fiocchi wound up in front on the filly when nobody else went for the lead. The filly cruised around the large San Siro oval with her ears pricked. When the rider dropped his whip just in advance of the final 2 furlongs and his mount received a bit of a challenge, the rider improvised, reached back and slapped the filly barehanded.
Responsibleforlove responded by violently swishing her tail.
In the final furlong, the rider did it again and resorted to using the reins like a whip, which further infuriated the filly.
The bay daughter of Duke of Marmalade, however, showed how genuine she is by continuing to dominate the proceedings and she won being hand ridden late to win clear by 1 ½ lengths.
Team Valor and Mrs. Rupert race the filly in partnership with Pisa-based owner Cristiana Brivio, whose partner Endo Botti is the filly’s trainer.
Photo: Duke Of Marmalade at Drakenstein Stud.