Three-year-old Roman Impero is progressing strongly and booked his place at All-Weather Championship Final Day after being the decisive winner of the €25,000 32Red Casino Race, a Fast-Track Qualifier, at Dundalk, Ireland, this evening Friday, February 19.
His success in the seven-furlong race on Polytrack means he is guaranteed a free start in the £150,000 32Red All-Weather Three-Year-Old Mile at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, March 25.
Roman Impero, trained by Michael Halford, got off the mark at the third attempt with an easy victory, by four and a half lengths, in a seven-furlong maiden at Dundalk on January 8 and the 7/4 chance followed up here with a length and a quarter success over 4/7 favourite and British challenger, Turbine, trained by Mark Johnston and ridden by Joe Fanning.
He was held up in third of the four runners before moving up to challenge on the inside in the straight and took the lead after entering the final furlong. The result was never in doubt from there.
The Holy Roman Emperor colt, whose time came to 1m 25.84s, pleased connections.
Halford commented: “Roman Impero is an improving horse and has a great attitude
“There should be more to come as he is a lazy sort at home. It was a good performance tonight and a mile will be no problem.
“If we are happy with how he comes out of this race, then I think we are likely to go for the Good Friday final.”
Winning rider Conor Hoban said: “It makes the hard work all year worthwhile when the boss is good and gives me opportunities like this.
“Roman Impero won very well and gave me a good feel. He has improved and felt like a real good one today.
“The last thing you want to do is get in a battle with one of Mark Johnston’s two down but I was delighted with him and when I got stuck in, he hit the line well. I would say there is a bit more to come.”
Mandatario, trained byJim Bolger and ridden by Kevin Manning, took the honours in the €25,000 32Red.com Race, a Fast-Track Qualifier for the All-Weather Championships, over two miles.
The five-year-old Manduro horse could challenge for the £150,000 32Red All-Weather Marathon at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, March 25, for which he now gains a guaranteed free place.
Jessica Harrington’s two runners, Modem (Sean Corby, 11/4) and Lake Chamberlain (Tom Madden, 6/1) were first and second for most of the race at a steady pace.
But Shalaman, a 2/1 chance trained by David Marnane with Pat Smullen up, took up the running a furlong out after progressing to second with a half-mile remaining .
Mandatario, held up last of the four runners, was switched to the outside in the straight and came with a good run to lead well inside the final furlong despite drifting left. The 15/8 favourite won by a length and a quarter in a time of 3m 40.83s.
Manning said: “Mandatario got the trip very well today. He settled and I always thought he would have too much pace for these opponents.
“When you step up to two miles, there is always a question mark but I thought he would stay the trip.
“When I asked him to pick up, he did it in two strides.”