A horse tipped to be a major player in the upcoming elite level features in Melbourne this spring, dual Group 1 winner and grand old galloper Littorio has been retired from racing just over a week after making a victorious return for the season at Flemington.
The Nigel Blackiston-trained Bellotto gelding had been a successful part of the key racing carnivals over the past four years, and despite Littorio’s niggling injury issues, the now seven-year-old looked on track for another stint at spring glory.
Resuming after nearly a year and a half on the sidelines due to a tendon injury, Littorio enjoyed a terrific first-up win in the Group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) on September 3 when they were able to beat home Glass Harmonium by half a length after overcoming the far outside barrier.
Littorio, however, didn’t pull through the race as well as Blackiston and connections would have liked, prompting the decision to say thank-you to the horse for all their hard work by retiring them.
Purchased for just $15,000 as a yearling back in 2006, Littorio went on to race 25 times for four wins and six minor placings amassing a massive $2,508,475 in career prize money.
After winning their race debut as a juvenile at Sale in May of 2007, Littorio showed good form that spring in finishing runner-up to Kibbutz in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m).
Multiple Group 1 placings were to follow including their third in the 2008 Rosehill Guineas, Australian Derby and Underwood Stakes before Littorio finally broke through at the highest level to win the 2008 Turnbull Stakes.
Fifth in that year’s Caulfield Cup, Littorio went through a patch of poor form before bouncing back nearly two years later to win the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill in April last year.
Littorio was nominated for all the ‘Big 3’ races in Melbourne this spring having been entered for the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and the iconic $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
In 2011 Caulfield Cup betting they were at a quote of $26, markets lead by Mark Kavanagh’s exciting import December Draw at $8 through Luxbet.
Cox Plate 2011 odds on Littorio were the same, $26, with another Kavanagh-trained star, Whobegotyou, the punters favourite to win the Australasian weight-for-age championship at a quote of $7 despite the Street Cry six-year-old running third as the beaten favourite in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on the weekend.
The 2011 Melbourne Cup markets at Luxbet are lead by $11 favourite Shamrocker, while Littorio had been at $41.
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