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Torquator Tasso goes out on a high

Petit Marin (Rene Piechulek) with Trainer Marcel Weiss. www.galoppfoto.de - Sabine Brose


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 739 vom Freitag, 07.10.2022

What a weekend! From Last Friday to Monday there were group races  n Saint-Cloud and Longchamp in France, in Ascot and Newmarket in England, in Tipperary in Ireland, and in Düsseldorf and Hoppegarten in Germany; in addition there were listed races in Dundalk (Ireland), Redcar , Toulouse, Milan, and Hanover and Mülheim and Övreroll in Norway,as well as on the undercard most of the group race meetings. There were also Group One races in Japan, the USA and Chile. It is clearly one of the busiest weekends of the year internationally, but equally clearly the number one place goes to the Arc weekend at ParisLongchamp, with three Group Two and no fewer than eight Group One races. It is interesting to note that six of these events went to the U.K., four winners were trained in France and one in Ireland. Our hopes of a German winner were dashed by the heavy rain that fell in Paris, which clearly inconvenienced our main hope, Fährhof´s homebred Habana (Kingman) in the Marcel Boussac; but the rain was also a major problem for the Japanese runners in the Arc; that country is still waiting for its first Arc success after dozens of attempts.

There was no German winner in the Arc, but Torquator Tasso (Adlerflug), one of those that did enjoy the rain, ran an excellent race in third place. Mendocino, also by Adlerflug, found the going too heavy and the Schlenderhan hope Mare Australis (Australia) never got involved from his outside draw.  Nevertheless the German racing community can be pleased with the victory of Alpinista (Frankel), who won three German Group Ones last year for owner-breeder Kirsten Rausing and trainer Sir Mark Prescott. There is always a feeling that these Group Ones are somehow easier to win, but Alpinista´s performances this year should go a long way to disproving that notion, and we hope very much that Godolphin´s Rebel´s Romance will also win some top races as well, although as a gelding the Arc is not on his programme.

Alpinista, who has now won six Group One races in succession and has not been defeated for over two years, is a huge credit to her connections, and in particular to Sir Mark, whose training has been impeccable. He broke the habit of a lifetime by actually making the trip to Paris and was rewarded by the great victory of the grey mare, whose family has been nurtured by Ms Rausing for six generations, and the win proved to be very popular as he and the owner are two of the most respected characters in Newmarket.

However in our opinion the performance of Torquator Tasso and his relatively young trainer Marcel Weiss was equally praiseworthy. He certainly proved that the 2021 Arc victory was no fluke. Torquator Tasso has been trained all season with the Arc as his main target and his third place from a bad draw (he was the only horse drawn high to make any show in the race) was really admirable. He has now been retired and will commence stud duties at Auenquelle next year. His career winnings of over 4.2 million euros make him the highest-earning German-trained thoroughbred of all time. In all he won 6 of his 16 starts, including three Group One races; he ran ten times at Group One level and was placed in the first three every single time. His latest third place last week in Longchamp was clear proof that he was not only the best German mile and ah performer of recent years, but one of the best inEurope.

Of the horses that ran in the Arc, Torquator Tasso will now never run again, Mendocino is likely to go for the Grosser Preis von Bayern at his local track in November, while Alpinista could well run in the Japan Cup. The going threre will certainly be very different from Longchamp, where the meeting was onc again spoiled (from the point of view of racegoers) by heavy rain.

Marcel Weiss´ good stable form continued the next day at Hoppegarten, where Dairk von Mitzlaff´s homebred 3yo Petit Marin (Flamingo Fantasy)  came with a late run to win the 32nd running of the Group Three Preis der Deutschen Einheit. India (Adlerflug) started at even money here after winning two similar races, and looked like winning when taking a clear lead two furlongs out, but Petit Marin cut her down in the final stages to score by half a length. Dirk von Mitzlaff, whose father Sven was one of the most successful trainers of the postwar era in Germany, does very well with his small breeding operation. The dam Pongal (Ransom o´War) is a half-sister to multiple group race winner Pas de Deux (Saddex) while the next dam Puntilla (Acatenango) won the Group Two (then) Preis der Diana. Petit Marin was taking a huge jump in class here, having previously been running in handicaps, but this is another late developing family and we can probably expect him to show further improvement next season.

The other German group race last weekend was Düsseldorf´s  Grosser Preis der Landeshauptstadt over an extended mile. This also had a 3yo winner, Gestüt Schlenderhan´s homebred Aemelianus (Holy Roman Emperor), who won in a very close gfinish by a nose from the fast-finishing French-trained Godolphin filly Cantilena (Dubawi). The Markus Klug-trained winner looks another performer who will show a lot of improvement next year and he, like Petit Marin, has a Preis der Diana winner as his second dam, in this case Amarette (Monsun). This is one of Schlenderhan´s best families, and Aemelianus is a half-brother to Group One winner Alson (Aerion) and also German 2,000 Guineas winner Ancient Spirit (Invincible Spirit).

This is the time of year when next year´s classic hopes start to make a positive impression. We had the Lagardere and Marcel Boussac at Longchamp last Sunday, and this bweekend we have the Fillies Mile and the Dewhurst at Newmarket. Germany counters with the Preis des Winterfavoriten at Cologne on Sunday. The title of the race implies that the winner will also become early favourite for the following season´s German Derby. It does not always work out like that, and in fact the last winner who went on to win the Derby as well was Isfahan (Lord of England) in 2015/2016. His owner, Darius Racing, now has Sirjan (Zarak) entered.  He has an extremely interesting pedigree, being by one of Europe´s top young sires out of a Group One winning mare from the immediate family of German Derby winners Samum ,Schiaparelli and Sea The Moon. Seven are declared and it looks very open, but Sirjan is clearly one of the main hopes. We shall discuss this race in detail next week.

David Conolly-Smith

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