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The English page - Baden-Baden starts this Saturday

Listed winner Walsingham (Andrasch Starke). www.galoppfoto.de - Sabine Brose


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 532 vom Freitag, 24.08.2018

There were two listed races in Germany last weekend, very different in character. In Hannover, only five runners lined up for a race over a mile and a half in which Stall Lucky Owner's Walsingham (Campanologist) had plenty in hand on official ratings, having run several good races previously in top company. The Röttgen-bred four-year-old duly won with the greatest of ease, with the French-trained Amaranthe (Mastercraftsman) running on for second place, but never with a serious chance of winning. Walsingham's rating remains unchained at GAG 96 (=international 112), he could run next in an Italian Group Two, which is more his level.

At Düsseldorf we had a larger field and a more competitive race over seven fillies for fillies and mares. The Irish-bred 3yo filly Skrei (Approve) made all the running and in the end won pretty comfortably from Gülden Görl (Iffraaj), Scapina (Tai Chi) and Sunny Belle (Exceed and Excel), who finished in a heap for the places. This was a great result for a small owner-breeder, Matthias Seeber who is also Goffs' German representative, and trainer William Mongil, but one has to be cautious about the value of the form, as Skrei was a maiden coming into the race. She is clearly much improved; rated GAG 84 beforehand, she has been raised nine pounds to GAG 88.5 (=international 97), but this is still some way below the level expected for a listed race winner. Most of the runners in this race are also entered in a similar listed race at Baden-Baden next week.

The Baden-Baden meeting starts this Saturday and goes on until the Sunday of next week. It is without doubt the best meeting of the year in Germany and includes six group races, as well as three listed races and two BBAG sales races, while the important BBAG Yearling sale takes place next Friday (see separate article).

Best race on Saturday is the 63rd Preis der Sparkassen Finanzgruppe (Group Three) over ten furlongs. Previously this event, known formerly as the Spreti-Rennen, was only open to four-year-olds and up, but this year three-year-olds are also eligible, and the sole representative of that age group Emerald Master (Mastercraftsman) is a very interesting candidate. He started the season with an excellent third place in the Bavarian Classic, but was then well beaten on his only other two starts, in the Union-Rennen and then the German Derby. This trip is certainly more suitable and if he can recover his Munich form he could be very dangerous

The main dangers could be a trio of six-year-olds who are all old acquaintances. Devastar and Palace Prince (both by Areion) and Va Bank (Archipenko). The last-named won this race in 2016 when still trained in Poland; he has since been transferred to Andreas Wöhler and a large share sold to Team Valor. He ran really well last time in Munich Group One when third to Benbatl, who was certainly not disgraced at York this week when fifth in a much stronger race. He was beaten a head by Devastar earlier, but meets him on slightly better terms now. Devastar, who often makes the running, is remarkably consistent and keeps his form well, while Palace Prince defeated Devastar in this race last year but was behind Va Bank at the Spring Meeting here. There is very little between this trio, but at the weights Va Bank could have the edge.

Sunday´s big race is the 148th Casino Baden-Baden Goldene Peitsche (Golden Whip)(Group Two),with its very attractive trophy for the winning owner (literally, a golden whip), in which twelve runners have been declared. This is Germany's top sprint and all the usual suspects will be running, plus three foreign trained runners: Bakoel Koffie (Naqoos) from France, Pretorian (Sakhee's Secret) from Austria, and Raven's Lady (Raven's Pass), trained by Marco Botti in Newmarket. French runners have a good record here, but Bakoel Koffie's form does not, with all due respect, look anywhere near good enough, while Pretorian has already been beaten in a weaker race than this in Germany, but Raven's Lady looks a serious threat to the local sprinters; she won York's Summer Stakes last time and most of her owners (Heart of the South Racing) are coming to see their filly run.

Daring Match (Call Me Big) was just touched off here last year, but he is better at five furlongs and his recent form is less inspiring. Millowitsch (Sehrezad) is one of the most popular horses in Germany and won the Silver Whip over this course and distance at the Spring Meeting from Schäng (Contat). Julio (Exceed and Excel), one of three three-year-olds in the field, won Hamburg's big sprint last month in a very close finish from Celebrity (Shamardal), Mc Queen (Silver Frost) and Schäng. The other three-year-olds are Albertville (So You Think) and Binti al Nar (Areion), both trained by Peter Schiergen and also not without a chance. This a very open affair and the form on the day will decide.

David Conolly-Smith



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