Gio Ponti Deemed Ready for Manhattan

Gio Ponti rolls in the 2009 Man O' War
Trainer Christophe Clement pronounced reigning Eclipse Champion turf male Gio Ponti's formal preparations for the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan complete following a six-furlong work in 1:13.24 over the Belmont Park turf course Saturday morning. The 6-year-old son of Tale of the Cat was accompanied by Interaction, who was clocked in 1:13.57.

"Gio Ponti had a very nice work," Clement said. "Everything is great. It was his final work before the race and the plan is to run, next Saturday in the Manhattan with Ramon Dominguez."

The nation's top turf male in 2009 and 2010 and top older male in 2009, the Castleton Lyons representative has not raced since finishing fifth, beaten less than two lengths, in the Dubai World Cup on March 26, his only start of 2011. Gio Ponti is so far following the same race schedule as he did in 2010 - after a fourth-place effort in Dubai last year he returned in the Manhattan, finishing second to stablemate Winchester.

Gio Ponti had only two works listed between the Dubai World Cup and the last year's edition of the Manhattan, while this Saturday's move was Gio Ponti's fourth since returning from overseas.

"I think it's [two] more works this year than last between the Dubai race and the Manhattan," Clement said. "The horse looks well, he seems to be eager to race, and we'll go from there. I preferred to work today than tomorrow because I think that a week out when you get to that level is of racing is better than six days."



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Older Comments about Gio Ponti Deemed Ready for Manhattan...

I do hope that Clement let's Gio Ponti take another shot at the Arlington Million again in 2011? That's really the best turf race in America for drawing some of the better European turf horses, and it kind of allows you to gauge how Gio Ponti might fare against them should Clement decide to take him to the B.C. Turf this year? Likely that Gitano Hernando will be at Arlington this year off of his recent G1 Singapore Airlines International Cup. The 2nd place finisher of that race, Mike De Kock's brilliant race-mare River Jetez, is reportedly being considered for the G1 Beverly D. during the Million meet. But given that she was narrowly beaten by Presvis in the G1 Dubai Duty Free, and narrowly beaten by Gitano Hernando in the G1 SAIC, wouldn't surprise me to see De Kock change his mind about the Beverly D. Stakes and give River Jetez a shot at the Arlington Million herself? JMO.
My gut tells me that this season is definitely going to be the last hoorah for Gio Ponti. But I really hope Clement schedules his season with either a crack at the Classic on conventional dirt, or the Breeders Cup Turf over a 1-1/2 in mind. Gio Ponti ran a great race for 2nd in last year's B.C. Mile. But he's just never going to have the kind of turn of foot necessary to beat Goldikova over a mile on turf. And likely as not, Richard Hannon will send Canford Cliffs over to America for the Mile this year, too. He sent Paco Boy last year, but Canford Cliffs has an even more devastating turn of foot than Paco Boy did. I know Gio Ponti has struggled at times over 1-1/2 in his career. But even in the races he's lost at that distance, he's always gotten the 1-1/2, and usually finished 2nd at worst with a shot to win. Last year's B.C. Turf field was one of the weakest in years. Which was confirmed when the winner, Dangerous Midge finished stone last of 14 in the Sheema Classic, and the runner-up, Champs Pegasus finished 12th of 14 in the Sheema Classic. Really made the 2010 B.C. Turf form look quite weak. I really do believe that if Gio Ponti had been entered in last year's B.C. Turf? His class would've easily carried him through that race on the day!! TJMO.
Glad to be hearing he is ready. I'm hoping that he will get back to his winning ways for the American turf division.

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