Reports from overseas indicate that 2023 Maple Leaf Trot winner Alrajah One IT is headed back to Europe.
A multiple European Group 1 stakes-winning trotter before his North American career, the son of Maharajah from the Varenne mare Mariu captured the Italian Trotting Derby, Gran Premio d’Europa, Gran Premio Freccia d'Europa and the Gran Premio Continentale. He left Europe after his five-year-old season.
Campaigned in North America by Ake Svanstedt, Alrajah One IT had an extremely successful stint on this side of the Atlantic over the past two seasons despite making just eight starts. The trotter sped to scores in the 2022 Crawford Farms Trot, Spirit of Massachusetts and Cashman Memorial in 2022 before being sidelined due to injury just before the 2022 Maple Leaf Trot.
Alrajah One returned almost a year to the day after that missed Maple Leaf Trot to score in the 2023 edition, winning in a Canadian record and lifetime best mile time of 1:50.2 -- a time he matched in the 2023 Allerage Open Trot.
He finished seventh as the beaten favourite in the 2023 Breeders Crown, then finished sixth after making a break in the 2023 FanDuel Open Trot.
"The American trip was fantastic and stratospheric," owner Vincenzo Izzo told Italian publication Equos. "I would even say beyond all possible predictions, so much so that the horse has now built an exceptional image in the USA too. But at a certain point I convinced myself that it was a parenthesis that needed to be closed."
According to Izzo, Alrajah One received substantial offers to continue to stand the horse in North America but wanted him to return to Italy.
"He is a precious exponent of Italian breeding, he is our heritage and I didn't like the idea that he would have to remain in the USA forever. And then he is very fertile, if you consider that with frozen semen he had a very high percentage of mares becoming pregnant, which is never easy to achieve."
During the breeding season, Izzo indicated that Alrajah One would resume training but noted that a decision has yet to be made on who would train and campaign the horse in Europe.
"Europe is large, there is Sweden, there is France, there is Italy... What is certain is that, during the stallion break, he will remain in training and, therefore, we are organizing to entrust him to a centre in which he can carry out both activities."