Classic performance to match a Classic pedigree

Castelvecchio (green cap) earned a world rating of 120 with a first-class performance behind Japanese champion Lys Gracieux (red cap) in the 2019 Cox Plate G1. (PHOTO: Bronwen Healy)

Castelvecchio’s 2YO career was more than enough to secure his future as a stallion in Australia. 

From brilliant debut winner, to Inglis Millennium star, to record-breaking Group 1 winner, his progress was dazzling.  

But his pedigree promised even more, and even more was what Castelvecchio delivered as a 3YO. 

His Spring campaign culminated at Moonee Valley on 26 October, when he took his place as the only 3YO in Australia’s Spring wfa championship, the MVRC Cox Plate 2040m G1 – rated among the LONGINES World’s Top 10 Group 1 Races of 2019.

Against the best field of his career, 13 winners of 25 Group 1 races and more than $50 million prizemoney, he produced a performance that jockey Craig Williams describes as “phenomenal.” 

He settled Castelvecchio mid-field, then sent him forward  around the field at the 500-metre mark. The colt hit the front on the turn and drew away from all his rivals except the stunning Japanese champion Lys Gracieux, who caught him only 100 metres out and won by 1.5 lengths.

Castelvecchio leads the Cox Plate field as Lys Gracieux looms.


Castelvecchio sprints to victory in the Rosehill Guineas G1.

Craig Williams & Richard Litt raise the Guineas trophies.

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Castelvecchio held a clear second, 2 lengths in front of dual Group 1 winner Te Akau Shark and 2.4 lengths ahead of Mackinnon S. G1 winner & international Group 1 performer Magic Wand. 

That performance earned him a 2019 international rating of 120, making him the top-ranked Australian-trained horse of any age in the Intermediate category.

One gap remained on Castelvecchio’s CV and his opportunity to fill it came on the best of the rain-affected tracks he encountered during the 2020 Sydney Autumn Carnival. 

In the ATC Rosehill Guineas 2000m G1 he began smartly, landed just behind the early leaders, then sprinted hard around the turn to take immediate control of the contest. Prince Fawaz, Reloaded & Shadow Hero all chased him home but, as he had in all of his 2YO starts, Castelvecchio covered the last 600 metres faster than all his rivals, in 34.46.

The last word on Castelvecchio’s Classic season belongs to the man who rode him in both of his season-defining performances:

From a rider’s perspective, Castelvecchio had all the attributes to allow him to perform consistently at the elite level. He had a great attitude and an explosive acceleration to match his will to win!
– jockey Craig Williams

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