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A tight finish: Sammarco (back) vs. So Moonstruck. www.galoppfoto.de - Stephanie Gruttmann


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 722 vom Freitag, 10.06.2022

Obviously the two most important races last weekend from the German point of view were the classic trials in Hoppegarten and Cologne, both of which could have a strong bearing on the German Derby and Preis der Diana (Oaks), but first we shall have a look at some successes around the globe for German bloodstock. Yesterday (Wednesday) the Group Three Munster Oaks was run in Cork, and the German-bred Rosscarbery (Sea The Stars) finished strongly to sclore by a neck from the favourite Yaxeni (Maxios). Rosscarbery, now trained by Paddy Twomey, is greatly improved this season. She is 4 from 4 in 2022, after she failed to win in 9 starts for her previous trainer.

Rosscarbery was bred by Gestüt Wittekindshof and was a 130,000 guineas Tattersalls yearling. Her dam Rose Riozed (Authorized) was out of Preis der Diana winner Rosenreihe (Catcher in the Rye) On the same card at Cork, the filly Badb (Footstepsinthesand) ran out a very easy of a 2yo maiden over 6 furlongs. Her dam Belong (Fastnet Rock) does not sound German, but she is in fact from the Ittlingen family of Derby winners Lando, Laroche and Laccario.

In France, Gestüt Schlenderhan´s homebred 5yo Mare Australis (Australia) was a convincing winner of the Group Two Grand Prix de Chantilly. He is from one of Schlenderhan´s best families and is now firmly on course for the Prix de l´Arc de Triomphe. Trainer Andre Fabre has won this race, the world´s best, many times and knows exactly what is required. More to the point, he knows all about German breeding and has an exceptional  record with older horses, e.g. the basically German-bred Waldgeist, who won the Arc at the age of five in 2019 or Manduro, who would have been hot favourite for the Arc as a 5yo had he not suffered a setback.

The big race in Japan last weekend was the Group One Yasuda Kinen, and in a very close finish Songline (Kizuna) came out on top in a three-way photo-finish from Schnell Meister (Kingman) and Salios (Hearts Cry). The two placed horses are both out of German-bred winners of the Preis der Diana, in the former case Serienholde (Soldier Hollow) and in latter Salomina (Lomitas). Japanese breeders, in particular the Yoshida family, have bought many of the most successful German fillies of recent years and have done extremely well with them. Another example is the multiple Group One winner Stacelita, who was bred by Jean-Pierre Dubois, but has a typically German (indeed Ullmann) pedigree, being by Monsun out of Soignee (Dashing Blade) and tracing back to the great Schlenderhan mare Schwarzgold.) Stacelita´s first foal was the Japanese champion Soul Stirring (Frankel) She is also dam of Sentimental Mambo (Deep Impact), who won a listed race at Hanover in the Yoshida colours last Monday.

That race was the main event at Hanover on Whit Monday, but the same day´s Group Two Union-Rennen at Cologne and the previous day´s Diana-Trial at Hoppegarten, demoted to Group Three this year, were almost certainly better races. Gestüt Röttgen and their main trainer Markus Klug are having a great season, and almlost brought off the double. First their filly Wagnis (Adlerflug) was an impressive winner of the Hoppegarten contest. Despite the outside draw and a bit of trlouble at the first bend she appeared full of running in the straight and simply ran away from the opposition, finally scoring by five lengths from longshot Nastaria (Outstrip) and Toscana Belle (Shamalgan), who had been sold a few days before the race to Australian Bloodstock and will in future be trained by Andreas Wöhler. Wagnis was certainly far better class than her rivals here, but to be frank, with the exception of the winner it did not look a very strong field. It will be interesting to see where these runners end up, but Wagnis, although a filly, is likely to take her chance in the German Derby.

However Klug has  other irons in the fire for that race, and one of his main hopes was seen the next day in Cologne – the Schlenderhan homebred So Moonstruck (Sea The Moon), who started favourite for the Union-Rennen, Germany´s oldest race dating back to 1834. This race is generally regarded as the best trial for the German Derby; three winners have completed the double in the last eight years, two of them trained by Klug. On his only previous 2022 start So Moonstruck had finished fourth after a very troubled run in the Bavarian Classic at Munich, and confoidence was high, even though two of those who finished in front of him that day reopposed on the same terms here, Maraseem (Nathaniel) and Sammarco (Camelot). Maraseem´s trainer Andreas Wöhler had another runner in the Union-Rennen, Gestüt Ittlingen´s homebred Alessio (Teofilo), so it was by no means clear cut.

In the event it was Sammarco who turned out to be the big danger, and in the final two furlongs he and So Moonstruck fought out the finished between them, well clear of the remaining runners. First Sammarco looked like winning, then So Moonstruck, but at the line it was Gestüt Park Wiedingen´s Sammarco who prevailed by a head. Alessio ran on well to take third place with Maraseem fourth and the other runners never seen with a chance. All being well, the first four can be expected to meet again at Hamburg; normally there is a three week break before the Derby, but this year it is four weks, which is probably just as well, as the two main contestants both had a very hard race. For Markus Klug there was an additional sting in the tail, as his stable jockey Andrasch Starke was adjudged to have used his whip six times on So Moonstruck, one over the limit, and was accordingly given a 14 day suspension, which will rule him out of the whole Derby meeting.

Obviously there is very little between Sammarco and So Moonstruck.The handicapper hass out the former up to GAG 96 (=international 112) and the latter to 95 ½, which means that – barring unexpected supplementary entries – they will the numbers 1 and 2 on the Hamburg racecard, where the Derby runners will be listed in the order of their official ratings. It currently looks like being a full field of 20 in the German Derby, and plenty of owners and trainers with runners who are rated low down on the list will be anxiously watching for news of scratchings. Clearly Sammarco and So Moonstruck can be rated the two best 3yo colts at present, but it would certainly be no surprise to see the form of the Union-Rennen reversed at Hamburg. Indeed for this observer, it was Alessio who ran the best Derby trial; not only did he not have such a hard race, he was staying on really well at the end, though with no chance of catching the front two. The Derby, a furlong further in distance and on a much tougher track, could well play to his strengths.

We haved another classic this weekend, Sunday´s Group Two German 1,000 Guineas at Düsseldorf. 11 runners have been declared, including two from England and one from France. The best local hope should be Gestüt Karlshof´s homebred Mylady (The Grey Gatsby), winner of the Dr. Busch-Memorial against the colts but very disappointing in the German 2,000 Guineas, when she was reportedly suffering from a mild infection. However the two British runners look very dangerous: the Crisfords´Fast Attack (Kodiac) , having her first run of the season, which could be a handicap; and the Charltons´Jumbly (Gleneagles), who ran well in the French 1,000 Guineas last time. But she is drawn 11 of 11, which is even more of a handicap at this track. French challenger Txope (Siyouni), owned by football star Antoine Griezmann, also has a chance, so we will stick our neck out and predict a foreign winner.

David Conolly-Smith

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