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The English page - Convincing Preis der Diana winner

Classic winner Well Timed. www.galoppfoto.de - Sarah Scherning


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 530 vom Freitag, 10.08.2018

When Rüdiger Alles (German International Bloodstock/ IVA) paid 880,000 guineas in 1993 for the Niarchos-bred filly Wells Whisper (Sadlers Wells) on behalf of the Ullmann/ Schlenderhan stable, hopes were clearly very high. This was a huge price for those days, but Wells Whisper came with an extremely strong catalogue page. The dam Whakilyric (Miswaki) had not only been a very useful performer and Group One-placed in her racing career, but she had already bred several top notch performers, notably the young filly´s own brother Johann Quatz (winner of the Prix Lupin, third in the Arlington Million and subsequently runner-up in the Breeders´ Cup Mile) as well as her half-brother Hernando (Niniski), winner that year of the Prix du Jockey Club and runner-up in the Irish Derby and Arc.

Wells Whisper ran six times at three without winning for trainer Geoff Wragg, but her record at stud was respectable enough, even if not nearly as successful as had probably been hoped for. However she did produce three black type performers, including Wells Present (Cadeaux Genereux), a listed race winner and also group-placed. Her final foal Wonder Why (Tiger Hill) bred Hong Kong Group One winner Akeed Mofeed (Dubawi). Wells Present herself was obviously destined to be a broodmare, but until last week her record was deplorable. Her first seven foals all turned out to be more or less useless, even though six of them were by champion Monsun, and she was sold off last year for only 4,000 euros at the Arqana Breeding Stock Sale.

Now we know that her new owner has possibly got a bargain, and that Wells Present was not such a dud after all, as her daughter Well Timed (Holy Roman Emperor) was a most convincing winner of last Sunday´s 160th Henkel-Preis der Diana (German Oaks) at Düsseldorf. Well Timed started favourite here at 22-10 and is now unbeaten this year after four wins, including the main trial for the Diana.

The story of the race is quickly told. Local hope Come On City (Wiener Walzer), had been supplemented by her new owner Team Valor and set off like a scalded cat, but jockey Filip Minarik quickly had Well Timed in second place. The field was well strung out down the far side, with Come On City leading by about four lengths from Well Timed, who in her turn was three lengths clear of Night of England (Lord of England). Come On City began to weaken two furlongs out and Well Timed went on from Night of England. The latter tried to launch a challenge, but Well Timed saw her off easily enough and went on to score by 1 ¾ lengths.

Night of England was clear second best and finished 2 ½ lengths in front of Wonder of Lips (Champs Elysees), who finished well and just pipped Sword Peinture (Peintre Celebre) for fourth. Some of the beaten horses were obviously below their best and some also were hampered on the tight bends, but there is absolutely no doubt that the winner was the best horse in the race and the runner-up second best. Well Timed, a Stall Ullmann homebred was given a provisional rating of 110. This seems a bit mean – it is in fact the lowest rating for a Diana winner since 2010 – although the handicapper admits that this rating is objectively based on the arguably low class of the field in general and the lack of a foreign runner, and that Well Timed can certainly be expected to leave this rating well behind in future. Trainer Jean-Pierre Carvalho has stated that: “she has proved that she is the best filly in Germany and we now want to find out where she stands internationally.” Her next race is likely to be the Prix Vermeille and she has also been entered in October´s British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot (a race also won by Diana winner Dancing Rain in 2011) and in these races she will presumably face the best fillies in Europe.

The time of her race at 2 minutes 12.63 seconds was extremely fast (in part thanks to the suicidal pace set by Come On City) and a record for the race. The ground was riding very fast and earlier in the afternoon Destino ran 2400 metres in 2 minutes 24.07 seconds when winning the Group Three Fritz Henkel Stiftung-Rennen, which is believed to be the fast time ever for a German horse over this distance. Destino (Soldier Hollow) won that race by half a length from Salve Del Rio (Rio de la Plata); as they had earlier finished second and third in the Union-Rennen and then second and fourth in the Deutsches Derby, this was a clear confirmation of this year´s German three-year-old form.

Weltstar (Soldier Hollow), winner of those two races, is expected to be seen out next in the Grosser Preis von Baden in early September, but the Derby form will be put to the test this Sunday when Royal Youmzain (Youmzain), an unlucky third at Hamburg after starting favourite, runs in the Grosser Preis von Berlin at Hoppegarten. Seven have been declared here, including Sound Check (Lando), who has an alternative engagement. He has already won three times at Hoppegarten and will like the expected fast going, but is normally more at home over longer trips.

The main opponents for Royal Youmzain should be last year´s winner Dschingis Secret (Soldier Hollow) and last year´s German Derby winner Windstoss (Shirocco), both trained by Markus Klug, and U.K. raider Best Solution (Kodiac), a Godolphin-owned four-year-old trained by Saeed bin Suroor. He is a major threat and bin Suroor has already one German Group One to his credit this summer in Benbatl, who took Munich´s Dallmayr-Preis a fortnight ago. Best Solution (no relation to the 2yo of the same name who also runs at the meeting) ran twice without winning in Germany last year, but seems to be improved; his fifth place in the Sheema Classic was good form and so was his win last time out in the Princess of Wales´s Stakes at Newmarket. However he is officially rated three pounds inferior to Dschingis Secret, the top-rated horse in Germany, and could find him and Royal Youmzain two tough nuts to crack.

David Conolly-Smith

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