Ausgabe 589 vom Freitag, 11.10.2019
It has not been a great year so far for German racing. A great number of our top races have been won by horses trained abroad, usually England or France. The four top late summer Group Ones were won by Danceteria (Redoute's Choice) at Munich, French King (French Fifteen) in Berlin, Ghaiyyath (Dubawi) at Baden-Baden and Aspetar (Al Kazeem) in Cologne. Australian-owned Danceteria has not run since, but is on track for the Cox Plate, in which last year´s Munich winner finished an excellent runner-up to Winx last year; his yearling half-brother by Siyouni was sold this week at Tattersalls for 450,000 guineas, a notable pinhooking success for Philipp von Stauffenberg. French King and Ghaiyyath both ran last week in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, finishing ninth and tenth of the twelve runners, hardly a boost to the German form. However the Arc finished with a resounding success for German breeding, as we shall see later.
German Derby form has also not so far worked out; in fact it has been several years since a German Derby winner has gone on to more Group One success – 2012 winner Pastorius (Soldier Hollow) was the last one. Laccario (Scalo), who was so impressive in the first part of this season when he won his first four races, including the Derby, was a disappointment last week in the Group Three Preis der Deutschen Einheit, although he was admittedly only beaten a nose in one of the closest finishes of the season, and also was not at all suited by the soft going; his pedigree makes it clear that he is a top of the ground performer. Still one would expect a Derby winner to be able to score at Group Three level, even if conditions were against him. Derby runner-up Django Freeman (Campanologist) is now in Australia, but has had to have an operation to have a chip removed and will not be seen out this year. Derby third Accon (Camelot) and fourth Quest the Moon (Sea The Moon) have both failed to win since, while only Surrey Thunder (Le Havre), who took a French listed race, and Mojano (Denon) and Dschingis First (Soldier Hollow), minor maiden winners, of the Hamburg also-rans have been able to score. This was certainly not what was expected after Laccario´s convincing victory.
Still one should not take anything away from Itobo's battling performance in Hoppegarten. The 7yo gelding by Areion is better than ever this season and earlier won the Group Two race at Baden-Baden's Spring Meeting with a similarly brave performance. He is a real credit to connections and could run in a similar race at next week's Baden-Baden meeting. He also stays extremely well for a son of Areion, who enjoyed a fantastic weekend. Areion has now reached the veteran stage but has been one of the most consistently successful stallions in Germany for almost two decades; he has been champion sire four times and has good chances of a fifth championship, as he is only just behind Soldier Hollow at the time of writing and arguably has better chances in the few big races still to come.
Areion has been leading sire of two-year-olds three times and is certain to reclaim that title again. He is sire of Germany´s best two juveniles this season, both of whom ran last Sunday. Rubaiyat won the prestigious Preis des Winterfavoriten in Cologne, easily holding off his stable companion Wonderful Moon (Sea the Moon), both of them trained locally by Henk Grewe, who has dominated the 2yo scene this season. Rubaiyat was bred by Gestüt Karlshof and runs in the colours of Darius Racing; his dam was a French-bred daughter of Lomitas. He could run once more this year, possibly in Italy, while Görlsdorf-bred Wonderful Moon is finished for the season. Both are entered in next year´s German Derby, but Wonderful Moon seems the more likely stayer. The handicapper has put Rubaiyat on GAG 94 (=international 108), while Gestüt Schlenderhan´s homebred Alson is on 95 (=110) after his excellent second place behind Victor Ludorum in the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere. That was clearly the best performance by a German two-year-old for several years. Alson would appear to be a miler and is already favourite for next year´s German 2,000 Guineas, which his half-brother Ancient Spirit (Invincible Spirit) won last year.
Alson's performance was certainly encouraging, but the main feature at Longchamp was the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, which resulted in a huge success for Germany breeding. The winner Waldgeist (Galileo), who cut down the hot favourite Enable (Nathaniel) in the final stages to win going away by 1 ¾ lengths, is owned 75% by Dietrich von Boetticher´s Gestüt Ammerland and 25% by the Jacobs family´s Newsells Park. He was the result of a foal-sharing deal with Galileo´s Coolmore owners, but von Boetticher bought Coolmore out when Waldgeist was a three-year-old. Waldgeist won the Criterium de Saint-Cloud over 2000 metres at two, the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud at four, and this year he has been better than ever at the age of five, winning the Prix Ganay over 2100 metres and now the Arc. In between he put up one of his best performances to finish a close, and closing, third in the King George behind Enable and Crystal Ocean (Sea The Stars). These three outstanding racehorses are now jointly rated the best in the world.
From the German point of view, the main feature is that he is a member of the famous “W” family tracing back to Ravensberg's celebrated mare Waldrun. This family has produced so many top class famous racehorses that they need not be repeated here, but one of their most obvious characteristics is that they almost all have plenty of stamina. This is certainly true of Waldgeist, who won over 2000 metres at two, and won the Arc not only because of his undoubted class but also because of his superior stamina. It is not at the time of writing clear if Waldgeist will run again, but a place at stud obviously beckons.
Main event this weekend in Germany is the Group Three Silbernes Pferd at Hoppegarten over 3000 metres. This is, with all due respect, a very weak field and only three of the six runners can be given a serious chance: Schlenderhan's Moonshiner (Adlerflug), at six the oldest horse in the field and runner-up here last year, the four-year-old Godolphin filly Lillian Russell (Dubawi) and Gestüt Hachtsee's three-year-old Ladykiller (Kamsin). Moonshiner has been a very consistent performer over the years, although he does not win that often. This has been a big week for Schlenderhan, who are celebrating their 150 years anniversary; Alson started off the week off well for them and we hope that Moonshiner can put the icing on the cake by winning here.