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Winter warmers

28/01/10 - Currently top of the all-weather sires’ list, Bertolini’s runners a force to be reckoned with all year round

For those of us who love jump racing, the winter is far from dull but now even those resolutely flat racing fans have plenty to keep them entertained outside the turf season with the increase in both quantity and quality of all-weather racing.

In fact, racing on synthetic surfaces now occupies an important position in the year-round racing calendar and Bertolini’s offspring excel in this sphere year after year. The 2009/10 season is looking to be no exception: he’s at the top of the table again with eight winners on the board, clear of last season’s leading sire of juveniles, Exceed And Excel, and the leading first-season sire, Shamardal.

It’s a familiar story. Last season, Bertolini was the joint-top scorer on the all-weather with 36 individual winners (tying with Dansili and Kyllachy). In 2007/08 he finished second to Cape Cross with 32 winners, having occupied the same slot behind Dansili the previous year when he had 29 all-weather winners. Even when his first runners were only two and rising three, Bertolini was still within the top ten sires on the all-weather list.

There can be no greater advert for Bertolini than his durable and thoroughly genuine first-crop son Suits Me. Still racing at the age of seven, he has won 11 of his 49 starts and placed in another 15. His victories have certainly not been solely restricted to the all-weather: he won his first two flat starts as a juvenile at Newcastle and Thirsk but has also been successful at Ripon, Doncaster and Ayr. His best recent form, however, has come on Polytrack, with victories at Kempton, Wolverhampton, Great Leighs and Lingfield, where he won the Listed Winter Open Stakes and has been placed at Listed level on another four occasions, most recently going down by just a short-head to Tranquil Tiger in the Quebec Stakes.