Umberto pictured with Holly and Luke Thompson 📷 Jason Mckeown

  • Thursday, 21 Sep, 2023,
  • by Peter Quilty

Umberto hitting high notes

We’ve moved on a few chapters in the ‘Love Story’ of Umberto.

But what keeps resonating is that Umberto – named after Italian pop and rock singer and composer Umberto Tozzi – is still proving ‘music to the ears’ of champion trainer Jason Thompson.

One of Tozzi’s biggest international hits is “Ti amo” – English translation “I love you”. Ironically, there’s a lot to love about Umberto.

Thompson has always had a wrap on the Jul ’21 Bernardo x Triscay flying machine who finished fourth – at only his third start – in the Group 3 GRV VicBred Maiden final at The Meadows on Australian Cup night in late February.

“He’s not going to win coming from behind; he’s
a leader.”

Roll on nearly seven months and Umberto has a G1 trophy (Dapto Megastar) in the cabinet. He was also second in the G2 Flying Amy Classic and third in a Listed Brisbane Cup Prelude.

And Umberto ($181,445 in stakes) – a winner of 13 races from 26 starts, including six of his past eight – is chasing more silverware.

He’ll contest the $54,600 G2 Black Top final (515m) – Race 7, 8.49pm – at The Gardens, in Newcastle, on Friday night.

Umberto (Box 3) is Sportsbet’s second elect at $2.80 behind fastest qualifier and hometown heroine Nangar Lucy (Box 1) at $2.30 in the $40,000 to-the-winner event.

WATCH: UMBERTO (B1) displays dazzling early pace in taking out a Black Top heat in 29.35sec.

His Victorian counterpart Head The Charge (Box 5), prepared by Anthony Azzopardi, is on the third line of betting at $4.00.

A ‘cigarette paper’ separates the trio on heat times – Nangar Lucy (29.31sec), Head The Charge (29.34sec) and Umberto (29.35sec).

“Umberto is going well. But whether he’s at the top of his game, who knows?” Thompson said.

“Given the ability he was showing early doors you’d expect natural improvement, and that’s exactly what has happened.


“But he’s got to get the start right on Friday night. He’s not going to win coming from behind; he’s a leader.”

Umberto is raced by the “Lightning” syndicate – a ‘cross-code’ compilation including Thompson and wife Seona – along with their children Holly, Luke and Ben, a Group 1-winning jockey based in Queensland.

The ownership group also comprises Ben’s wife Stephanie Thornton, also a top ‘hoop’, and her dad Glenn, who is a horse trainer – plus star jockey Danny Beasley and his dad Rob, and Singapore-based horse trainer Daniel Meagher.

Head The Charge  📷  Jason Mckeown

Umberto boasts brilliant bloodlines – highlighted by his maternal granddam Dasha, which produced Get It Gizmo (2019 G1 Topgun winner).

Get It Gizmo was also a finalist in the G1 Melbourne Cup and G1 Maturity Classic in the same year.

And while on the subject of pedigree, Head The Charge – a winner of 11 races from 20 starts, including four of his past six – is sired by Azzopardi’s 2019 G1 Melbourne Cup hero and 2020 G1 Temlee champ, Whiskey Riot.

Peter QuiltyPeter Quilty

Peter Quilty

Peter Quilty has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.

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