Morandi handled his debut at the group I level with ease Nov. 10, scoring an open-length victory in France's Criterium de Saint-Cloud for 2-year-olds, Europe’s final group I race of the season.
Geared down by jockey Maxime Guyon in the final 100 yards, Morandi coasted across the finish line to win by seven lengths over Willie The Whipper while covering 1 1/4 miles (2,000 meters) in 2:25.30 on heavy ground.
The Holy Roman Emperor colt, sent off the 7-to-10 favorite, landed a third straight victory and improved his record to four wins and two seconds from six career starts. He won a one-mile (1,600-meter) race at Longchamp Sept. 12 and also captured the 1 1/8-mile Prix de Conde (Fr-III) by 12 lengths in testing conditions at the Parisian racecourse Oct. 21 in his previous outing for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget.
Morandi settled in second behind pacesetter Wingate before Guyon rallied him to a clear lead more than a quarter mile out. He extended command in the final furlong and was never challenged for the win. The gray colt comfortably held back English stakes winner Willie The Whipper, a supplemental entry who came into the race perfect in two career starts. Willie The Whipper spurted from third to second in the straight but suffered his first defeat while outfinishing the filly Miss You Too by three lengths.
“He showed his class the other day and he's proved it again today,” Rouget told the Racing Post about Morandi. “There may be others that come along next year but he's going to be a high level three-year-old.”
French stakes winner Wingate, also supplemented to the race, tired in the straight and faded to finish last in the eight-horse field.
Morandi is from the third crop of Coolmore’s Irish-based sire Holy Roman Emperor, who has had an outstanding year. Holy Roman Emperor has sired 11 stakes winners this season, including English classic winner Homecoming Queen and Irish-classic placed Ishvana, a group winner a Royal Ascot. Morandi is one of five 2-year-old stakes winners in 2012.
Morandi is campaigned by Daniel-Yves Treves. He was bought by Rouget for 65,000 Euros ($93,568) out of the Haras des Capucines, agent, consignment at the 2011 Arqana Deauville yearling sale.
Bred in France by Eric Puerari and Oceanic Bloodstock, Morandi is one of three winners produced by the Bering mare Vezina, a half sister to French group winner Marie de Ken and U.S. grade II winner Charmo, who was grade I-placed. The family includes French group II winner and sire Dom Alaric and French group winner and highweight Ana Marie.