Ausgabe 670 vom Freitag, 28.05.2021
The long Whit weekend featured three major races for 3yo´s, all with a direct bearing on the two major German classics, the German Derby at Hamburg on Juily the and the Preis der Diana (Oaks) at Düsseldorf on August 1st. They were the Derby Trial and the Diana Trial at Hoppegarten on Sunday and the Mehl-Mülhens-Rennen (2,000 Guineas) at Cologne on Monday. However instead of clarifying the situation, if anything they muddied the waters still further. All three races ended with an exciting finish, and none of the three winners scored by more than three parts of a length, and it looks quite likely that the form could well be reversed before the season is out.
The most convincing winner was Dr. Christoph Berglar´s homebred Amazing Grace (Protectionist), who came with a long sweeping run to win Hoppegarten´s Diana Trial by ¾ length from the favorite Noble Heidi (Intello), with Theodora (Itó) 1½ lengths back in third. Amazing Grace was actually a maiden coming into the race, but had been placed in decent company on all three starts at two. On her only previous 2021 start she had been 5th of 12 in Chantilly. She is obviously smart, but the fast ground was in her favour, whereas some of the fancied fillies did not act so well on the ground. Noble Heidi had looked certain to win when moving into a clear lead at the distance, but Amazing Grace cut her down with the minimum of fuss in the final half furlong. The winner, the second group race winner this month from the first crop of Protectionist (Monsun) is a direct descendant of Röttgen´s Anna Paola, one of the most influential German mares of the last half century and herself winner of the Preis der Diana in 1981. That race is obviously her main target now and according to trainer Waldemar Hickst she will run one more beforehand, probably at Hamburg.
Amazing Grace is now quoted as 9-1 joint favourite (together with four other fillies, including Nobel Heidi) for the Preis der Diana. Another joint-favourite is Isfahani (Isfahan), who like Noble Heidi is trained by Henk Grewe. Isfahani has had a rather unconventional career so far, she has only run twice, both times in Italy and both times against colts. She won her only start last year, a Group Three in Rome in November, and reappeared last Sunday to run a good fourth in the Italian Derby, also at Rome. It is almost impossible to bring this form into relation with German form, but she must be very useful. She was bred by Gestüt Karlshof, but is from a well-established Schlenderhan family. She was a 36,000 euros BBAG yearling and now runs in the colours of Darius Racing, who won the 2016 German Derby with her sire Isfahan (Lord of England); she is a member, and so far easily the best, of his first crop. She is entered in both the Italian and German Oaks, as well as the fillies´ race at the Hamburg Derby meeting.
The situation regarding the colts is even more confusing. The race at Hamburg was a messy affair and there was a stewards´ inquiry before the result was confirmed. Victory went to Gestüt Höny-Hof´s homebred Sea of Sands (Sea The Stars) who finished strongly on the outside but hung right, finally scoring by a head from Lord Charming (Charming Spirit) and Vallando (Lord of England). One to note from this race is Gestüt Ravensberg´s Wiesentau (Mukhadram), who ran on really well from the rear to go fourth close home. He is from the famous Ravensberg “W” family and looks certain to improve from this, but the same could be said for several of the other runners. There was only just over 3 lengths separating the first six home, but Sea of Sands was the best horse on the day and would probably have won more easily had be kept straight. He was acting up beforehand in the paddock and seems to be rather a nervous type. Trainer Jean-Pierre Carvalho puts this down to inexperience and he will have another race before the Derby, probably the Union-Rennen.
The problem for Carvalho and his main owner, Manfred Hellwig´s Höny-Hof, is that they have two other 3yo colts who are just as good, as far as one can tell, as Sea of Sands and they are all closely related as well, all being descendants of the good mare Salve Regina (Monsun), winner of the Preis der Diana and also runner-up in the German Derby and three other group one races; on top of that she was an own sister to two German Derby winners in Samum and Schiaparelli and also to the dam of another one, Sea The Moon, so all of them have clear signals in their pedigree that they could be Derby horses. Of course there is the old saying: “if you think that you have three Derby horses in your yard, then in reality you have none”, but we are optimists and hope that this is not the case here.
In any case, Carvalho´s best 3yo, at least on official ratings, is Stall tmb´s homebred Mythico (Adlerflug), narrow winner of Monday´ s Mehl-Mülhens-Rennen. This was a quite a coup for the trainer, as the original plan was for Mythico to run in Hoppegarten, but he was taken out of that race and supplemented for this, in retrospect clearly an excellent decision. Mythico was always prominent, led two out and just held on by a short head from the fast-finishing Best Lightning (Sidestep) with the favourite Best Of Lips (The Gurkha) third. The two placed horses, both trained by Andreas Suborics, were the last two coming into the straight, but finished best of all, particularly Best Lightning, who would have won in another two strides. He must be regarded as slightly unlucky, but it is Mythico´s name that will go down in the record books. Mythico was actually foaled in France and is thus technically French-bred. He was bought in for 24,000 euros at the BBAG Yearling Sale. His pedigree as a son of Adlerflug out of a Monsun mare suggests that he will stay the Derby distance, but further examination raises doubts, and this is basically a family of milers; his fifth dam Luth Enchantee (Be My Guest) was in fact Europe´s champion miler in 1983. Carvalho has now indicated that Mythico will probably miss the Derby, have a short rest and run next in the Grosser Dallmayr-Preis at the end of July. Connections of Best Of Lips are now more certain that he will stay twelve furlongs and he will now be aimed at the Derby, but the trip could certainly still be a problem, although he was clearly staying on at the end here. Hamburg however is a stiff track and stamina is essential.
The other big race was the Silberne Peitsche over 1300 metres one of Germany´s very few group races over sprint distances. Andreas Wöhler saddled two runners here and they finished one-two, with the superconsistent Majestic Colt (Clodovil) finishing best to defeat his 3yo stable companion Waldersee (Olympic Glory) by half a length. The winner, owned and bred by Jaber Abdullah is a model of consistency and has never yet been out of the first three. Waldersee, one of four 3yo´s in the field, ran an excellent race and for a long time looked the likely winner. The pair will be hard to beat in similar races, as long as no strong foreign rivals turn up. The current situation is that it is almost impossible for British-trained runners to come here; there was no U.K. runner in the 2,000 Guineas last week, and there will be none in this Sunday´s top race, the German 1,000 Guineas at Düsseldorf. This of course could well change before long; we certainly hope so, as these races without foreign competition are much less exciting than usual.
Twelve have been declared for the 1,000 Guineas, including two Pantall-trained raiders from France. However their form does not look enough to strike terror into the hearts of the locals. Godolphin´s Sky Angel (Dark Angel) is possible the better of the pair, but the British entrants who were hoping to come looked much stronger. There could still be a French “winner” however as jockey Fabrice Veron has been booked for the likely favourite Reine d´Amour (Soldier Hollow), winner of the main trial over this CD. Libre (Exceed and Excel) and Novemba (Gleneagles) were second and fourth that day and could be her most serious rivals again.