Carlo Vittadini

Owner of champion racehorses


Carlo Vittadini, banker and racehorse owner: born Milan, Italy 26 April 1915; married 1947 Henrietta Clerici (died 2002; three sons, two d aughters): died Milan 2 September 2007.

Carlo Vittadini owned one of the two racehorses who duelled themselves into submission in what is still remembered as the race of the 20th century. The horse was Grundy; the race one of Britain's finest, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot. Grundy vs Bustino went down as one of the most evocative of conflicts on the turf. Grundy was the Derby winner, Bustino the year-old hero of the St Leger and Coronation Cup.

Bustino's trainer Dick Hern took the provocative step of saddling two pacemakers to run the sting out of Grundy, and the strategy all but broke Vittadini's chestnut colt. Bustino took up the running with half a mile to go, yet looked sure to be beaten when Grundy, under strong driving from the saddle, went by with a furlong to run.

Bustino stirred almost to reach the front again, and yet in the final 50 yards the relentless Grundy was just the stronger and held on by half a length. The two principals finished five lengths clear of Dahlia, who had won the King George in the previous two seasons. Moreover, in posting a winning time of two minutes and 26.98 seconds, Grundy set a record for the race that stands to this day.

Bustino never ran again, and Grundy only once more, but Vittadini had already enjoyed many salad days on the track. Grundy was top-rated two year old on the 1974 Free Handicap after four straight wins and the following season won the Irish 2,000 Guineas, the Derby at Epsom, and then the Irish Sweeps Derby before his conflict with Bustino.

Vittadini was fortunate enough to own a number of other top-class runners. They included three winners of the Derby Italiano in Ortis, Ardale and Orange Bay, all trained in Italy by Mario Benetti. Orange Bay later joined Grundy's trainer, Peter Walwyn, in Lambourn, and won Royal Ascot's Hardwicke Stakes. Other high-class performers included Queen Anne Stakes winner Brook, who became an influential sire in Italy, and champion two-year-old Habat.

In fact, had Patch not gone down by a head to Val de l'Orne in the 1975 Prix du Jockey-Club at Chantilly, Vittadini would have been in the illustrious position of having won the four major European Derbys in the same year. Vittadini, always the gentleman, maintained that the short head between Val de l'Orne and Patch would only have been greater had the winner not sustained an injury in the closing strides.

Carlo Vittadini was born in Milan into a family with strong farming interests as well as a pharmaceutical business. He earned degrees in medicine and chemistry in Milan but later sold the pharmaceutical business. He was to make his name in the Italian banking community with Banca Agricola Milanese, rising to become chairman in the early 1980s.

His sporting interests seemed to evolve from those of his father, Angelo Vittadini, who served in the cavalry for the Italian army. Carlo enjoyed hunting and also rode as an amateur jockey, winning 30 races on the flat before turning his attentions to bloodstock breeding by establishing his own stud near Lake Maggiore.

Spending trips to Britain – beginning in 1956 to Doncaster – were to become the norm due to the competing power of the Dormello region stud farms. It was on one of those visits that a friendship began with bloodstock agent Keith Freeman which paid many dividends for both men. It did not take long for Freeman, a purist among pedigree experts, to unearth a nugget. Exar, bought for 1,900 guineas, became the first imported horse to land the Gran Premio d'Italia-Gran Premio di Milano double, an achievement Vittadini and Benetti were to repeat with another import, Accrale. Later, it was Freeman who bought a youngster for 11,000 guineas that was to become Grundy.

The Vittadini name lingered in British racing into the 1980s, although after Quexioss won three races in Britain in 1987 with the trainer Henry Cecil, the Italian's name vanished from the list of winning owners. However, he did retain horses in France and Italy, and continued attending the races until around three years ago.

Responsibility for managing the racing and breeding affairs at the family's Azienda Agricola Oriano was handed to Vittadini's daughter, Franca. She inherited the Corinthian spirit espoused by her father, proving herself a talented amateur jockey and winning the prestigious ladies' Diamond race at Ascot's King George race day no fewer than four times.

Tony Smurthwaite

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker