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The English page - Classic crop below par?

Be My Sheriff, winning the Fürstenberg-Rennen at Hoppegarten. www.galoppfoto.de


Daniel Delius


Ausgabe 631 vom Freitag, 14.08.2020

In a normal year, we would now in mid-August be almost two-thirds through the season; the current Deauville meeting and next week´s York meeting mark the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. 2020 is of course no normal year and as we lost almost all racing in Western Europe from mid-March to mid-May, it is hard to say where we are now. But the fact that most of the important classic races were run a month later than usual, and that almost all recognised trials were either cancelled or postponed, seems to result in very disappointing results so far for the current crop of 3yo´s.

This appears to be the case in England, Ireland and France as well as here in Germany. It is of course possible that we have not yet seen the best 3yo´s out; arguably the best of them all is Aidan O´Brien´s filly Love (Galileo) and she is due out again next Thursday in the Yorkshire Oaks, while several leading 3yo milers are under orders for this Sunday´s Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville, but after the results of the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, won by 4yo Mohaather (Showcasing), and last Sunday´s Prix Maurice de Gheest won by won by 4yo Space Blues (Dubawi), not to mention the July Cup, won by 4yo Oxted (Mayson) and the Phoenix Sprint, won by 6yo Glen Shiel (Pivotal), one has to wonder where the 3yo´s are that can beat these – and in many of the top races not a single 3yo has even showed up, as for example in Ascot´s King George and Munich´s Grosser Dallmayr-Preis. After all, we did not think last year that the 2019 crop of 3yo´s was that strong either.

The same is true in Germany. It is not at all clear when we shall see Derby winner In Swoop (Adlerflug) again, as he is trained in France, while runner-up Torquator Tasso (Adlerflug) is not expected to run again before the Grosser Preis von Baden in four weeks´ time. However Grocer Jack (Oasis Dream) and Kaspar (Pivotal), who passed the finish line in third and fourth place, are running in the Preis von Europa on Saturday (of which more later), while Notre Ruler (Ruler of the World), fifth past the post at Hamburg, and Memphis (Jukebox Jury), runner-up in the Italian Oaks, ran respectably in the Group Three Fürstenberg-Rennen at Hoppegarten last Sunday.

That race over 2400 metres was won by 6yo Be My Sheriff (Lawman) by a length from Moonlight Man (Reliable Man), with Notre Ruler half a length back in third and Memphis a further length and a half back fourth of the seven runners. The winner, who was conceding weight all round having won a Group Two on his previous start, is a consistent and genuine performer who was clearly the best horse in the field, but that race lost a lot of its appeal after the 2019 German Derby winner Laccario (Scalo) was scratched by trainer Andreas Wöhler. Be My Sheriff was bred by Gestüt Görlsdorf, was a 36,000 euros yearling at the BBAG Yearling Sale, and runs in the colours of Nadine Siepmann, headmistress of a school in Cologne. Be My Sheriff´s official rating has gone up slightly to GAG 96.5 (=international 113), but Laccario is rated GAG 97.5 (115) and in theory should have beaten him easily enough at these weights. As Laccario is now to run in the Preis von Europa we shall know more on Saturday.

The Preis von Europa is a Group One race, also over 2400 metres, and is normally run in late September. It has only seven runners, but we can certainly call it a strong international field. Laccario, if he runs, will face much tougher opposition than at Hoppegarten, with two strong U.K. challengers, including the supplemented Godolphin 6yo Barney Roy (Excelebration), whose team – trainer Charlie Appleby and jockey William Buick – are enjoying a real purple patch. Barney Roy won the Grosser Dallmayr-Preis last time over 2000 metres and this will be the first time he has ever raced over the full Derby distance. On pedigree he is not at all certain to stay the trip, but one has to assume that his team is convinced that he can stay and he has told the Sport-Welt that the horse has been working very well and that he expects him to get the trip. The other U.K. runner is the 4yo filly Dame Malliot (Champs Elysees), whose trainer Ed Vaughan has just announced his retirement at the end of this year for financial reasons. The third foreign runner also looks very dangerous – the Czech-trained 6yo Nagano Gold (Sixties Icon) who has several very smart performances to his credit, for example his recent second place in the Grand Prix de Saint Cloud and last year his second place to Defoe in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot. On a line through Communiqué (Casamento), who ran several times in Germany last year, he just about holds Dame Malliot, winner of her only start this year, a Newmarket Group Two over 2400 metres. Certainly the distance will be no problem for the two last-named, who have both shown their best form at this trip.  That is also true of the final runner, the 4yo filly Donjah (Teofilo), trained by Henk Grewe, who finished third in this race last year to Aspetar (Al Kazeem), who has confirmed the form since. At her best Donjah would also clearly be a danger to them all, but her only start this season, when fourth at Hamburg, was not inspiring.

The two 3yo´s Grocer Jack and Kaspar are of obvious interest, but we are so far still in the dark as regards the quality of this season´s German classic crop. Both of them ran well enough in the German Derby, but our esteemed colleague, the German handicapper, does not rate the race very highly and he could be right. We hope not, and hope to see them both run a good race to boost the Hamburg form and also hope Nagano Gold also does well and thereby confirms the international status of the race. However it is also worth noting that there have been nine foreign winners of this race already this century, almost all trained in the U.K., and a tenth on Saturday seems highly likely. 

David Conolly-Smith

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