Franco Santino smashes Southland record
The Nathan Williamson trained Franco Santino smashed the Southland mile record for 3-year-old colts and geldings at the Central Southland Raceway in Winton on Sunday afternoon, with a sublime 1:52 victory.
The promising Spreydon Lodge bred youngster enjoyed a gun run in behind the pace-making Mach's Back before Williamson angled the colt out in the straight and sprinted home the better to score by a margin of half a neck from a game Mach's Back. The third placed Foo Fighter was a further two lengths back.
Franco Santino's time of 1:52, with a last half in a sizzling 55.1, lowered Gentle Western's previous track and Southland record for a 3-year-old colt or gelding by three full seconds. Franco Santino's time was also significantly quicker than Fly Like An Eagle's All Age Geldings and Entires record of 1:53.9
Franco Santino is the winner of three of his five starts to date and is raced by Neville Cleaver who purchased him for $55,000 at the 2016 Christchurch Yearling Sale.
The colt will now likely be targeted at the Group 2 Southern Supremacy at the end of April.
By Christian Cullen, Franco Santino is out of the smart race mare San Rafaella, the winner of 10 races with a 1:52.3 lifetime mark to her credit, making him a half-brother to last year's NZ Premier Yearling Sale's $190,000 sales topper Franco Stallone.
The dam herself is a Canadian bred Western Ideal half-sister to the former top 3-year-old Raging Bull and is from the maternal family of the champion North American mare Galleria ($1,814,453; 22 wins), as well as the high class filly Gallie Bythe Beach ($755,745; 18 wins).