11/04/2011 11:41AM

Rio de la Plata to be favored in Premio Roma defense


Defending champion Rio de la Plata will be favored to win the fourth Group 1 race of his career in Sunday’s Premio Roma at Capannelle racecourse in Italy.

Owned by Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin Racing, Rio de la Plata is winless in five starts since the 2010 Premio Roma, but was a good second in two major stakes at Longchamp earlier this year – the Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp in September and the Group 2 Prix Daniel Wildenstein on Oct. 1.

The Premio Roma is run over about 1 1/4 miles and is worth approximately $406,000. A 6-year-old horse trained by Saeed bin Suroor, Rio de la Plata is part of a field of 10, which includes eight other stakes winners from England, France, Italy, and Germany. Frankie Dettori rides Rio de la Plata.

Voila Ici is the only 2011 Group 1 winner in the field, having won the Gran Premio di Milano in June. He was fourth in the Gran Premio Jockey Club in Italy last month.