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

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
i100
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
News
A rub on the tummy sprang Casey back to life
video
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
people
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little