By Steve Moran
Gianluca Bietolini, the Italian trainer based in France, is hoping for what might well be tagged as a second miracle with talented four-year-old Dicton in Sunday’s HK$20 million G1 Audemars Piguet QE II Cup (2000m).
Bietolini’s astute decision to secure Dicton from a claiming race, in France, for little more than €23,000 has been well documented. But the man himself is admirably modest enough to play down the purchase.
“I’ve bought lots of horses through claiming races so this one is a miracle sort of story. I was very lucky to find him,” said Bietolini of the horse who was secured for Scuderia Faroan, a small syndicate of three Italian owners, before being sold to Robert Ng.
Lucky indeed as the four-year-old advanced to a win at Group 3 level under Bietolini’s tutelage before being placed behind Europe’s top rated horse Almanzor in last year’s G1 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) over 2100m.
“The horse has continued to improve and it’s amazing that we have now ended up in a race like this,” he said. “We are hopeful about Sunday. He was very good, very sharp in his work in his last serious gallop before we came here and when he works sharply, he usually runs very well.
“This is his second time at the trip and if he gets a lead and a decent tempo, then he can finish off very well.”
Bietolini, 49, began training in 2001 and saddled 26 winners in his first season. He has had success with both flat and jumps horses and in 2012 he won the G1 Gran Corsa Siepi di Roma Steeplechase with Suzhi.
He has trained the winners of 20 stakes races on the flat and won nigh on 550 races, in all, in 13 seasons. He trained Real Solution, the 2013 G1 Arlington Million winner, to win at his first three starts in Italy before he was shipped to the USA and has had significant support from prominent American owner-breeder Kenneth Ramsey who raced Real Solution.
Bietolini moved to France in the second half of 2013 and is based at Maisons-Laffitte with a team of about 30 horses.
“It’s an excellent training centre with fantastic facilities and I felt I needed to move to France to grow my business. It’s not easy to make your mark there as it is very competitive in France with so many very good trainers but we are confident in what we do,” he said.
Bietolini, who rode as an amateur, is the son of one-time leading rider, and now trainer, Luciano Bietolini, while his brother Gabriele is still riding and trains a small string of horses at Rome.
Italian trainer Gianluca Bietolini.
Dicton exercises at Sha Tin this morning.