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Quian, winning the German St. Leger. www.galoppfoto.de - Stephanie Gruttmann


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 637 vom Freitag, 25.09.2020

The most important race run in Germany last week was the Group Three 136th Deutsches St. Leger at Dortmund on Sunday. The race is named after the 18th century British officer Antony St. Leger, who founded the original race, which has always been run at Doncaster, in 1776. It is the world´s oldest classic race, and is still regarded as a classic, even though it has been opened up to older horses in almost every racing country, including Germany. Only in the U.K. is it still a race restricted to three-year-olds. However last Sunday´s edition was certainly curious, in that not only were there no 3yo´s at all in the field, all seven runners were 4yo´s. There was also a foreign-trained runner, Mark Johnston's filly Vivid Diamond (Cape Cross); however her form did not look good enough, and so it proved. She dropped out tamely in the straight and was beaten more than 13 lengths in second last place.

The winner was in fact the logical form choice Quian (Mastercraftsman), trained by Peter Schiergen, bred by Gestüt Fährhof, and running in the colours of Stall Hornoldendorf. He had been a 54,000 euros BBAG yearling and is out of a Monsun mare who is a half-sister to multiple Group One winner Quijano (Acatenango). On his previous start Quian had been well beaten in the Prix Gladiateur at Longchamp, but this opposition looked much weaker (no runner had won a group race, and most of them had never even run in one) and he had won his three races before that in good style, including the listed St. Leger trial.

Punters made the much-improved Sommelier (Soldier Hollow) favourite, who had won five of his six previous starts, and he took the lead early in the straight, but was quickly challenged by Quian, who stayed on the better to score by two lengths with longshot Rip van Lips (Rip Van Winkle) finishing well to go third. Quian´s rating has been put up to GAG 93 (=international 106), hardly an advertisement for the form of the race, but he is probably Germany´s best stayer at present and he could go next for the Group Two Oleander-Rennen at Hoppegarten on November 1st (normally run in May). The placed horses from Sunday are also entered there, though it is hard to see why they should ever defeat Quian.

Until recently only one fixture per day was allowed in Germany, but now two parallel meetings are possible, and there was also a good card at Hanover last Sunday, with two listed races for fillies and mares. Hanover has specialized in such races for some years now and has frequently been rewarded with good foreign-trained runners hoping for black type, but with these races now worth only 7,000 euros to the winner, this was not the case last week.

However the two winners, both 3yo´s and both  of whom made all the running and scored very easily, look very useful and could be up to winning in a higher grade. First English-bred Leopoldina (Sepoy) won over a mile for Rennstall Darboven and trainer Henk Grewe, then Litex Commerce's homebred Tabera (Gleneagles) followed up for trainer Miltcho Mintchev, who completely outclassed the opposition to win by 3 ¼ lengths over 2000 metres. Litex Commerce is a Bulgarian outfit, but their horses are bred at their Britton House Stud in Somerset. Trainer Mintchev is also Bulgarian, and was a member of the national equipe at the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992, but he has been based in Cologne for several years and has been especially successful with fillies.

Tabera is certainly bred for the job, as her dam, the Irish-bred Temida (Oratorio) won the 2012 Group One Grosser Preis von Bayern (in those days run in August); she was a major fancy for this year's Preis der Diana (Oaks) until forced to miss the race following a setback, but on this form would certainly have had a chance. She could now go for the Munich race won by her dam, which is now run in November, she also now has a rating of GAG93, and although more will be needed in that Group One event, which normally has strong foreign contestants, she certainly deserves her place in the line-up.

The other interesting feature of last weekend´s racing was that Manfred Ostermann's Gestüt Ittlingen sent out three homebred juvenile winners on Sunday, all within the space of an hour. The colts in particular left a very pleasing impression – Sampras (Iffraaj), who won by three lengths at Dortmund (where Ostermann is vice president of the race club) over a mile, and Danelo (Esceed and Excel), who scord by four lengths over 1400 metres at Hanover. The former is trained by Markus Klug and the latter by Andreas Wöhler and they were both making their debut. Both are entered in next month´s Preis des Winterfavoriten at Cologne, usually Germany´s best 2yo race of the season and they certainly look to be top prospects.

News of Ostermann's 2019 German Derby winner Laccario (Scalo) incidentally is that he will run in Belmont Park´s Turf Classic next week; he is to run on Lasix which possibly suggests a reason for his below par effort in the Preis von Europa.

This weekend´s racing is weak by comparison, with only one black type race, the listed Winterkönigin Trial for 2yo fillies at Cologne on Sunday. Eight have been declared, but although most of them have already been placed in good company, only two of them has actually won. To mention is Gestüt Röttgen's homebred Alaskasonne (Soldier Hollow), who scored in good style at Düsseldorf. She could well win, but this is definitely a race to watch rather than to bet on.

David Conolly-Smith


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