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The English page - Double bargain buy wins final Group One of 2020

Sunny Queen (Rene Piechulek). www.galoppfoto.de - WiebkeArt


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 644 vom Freitag, 13.11.2020

It was an amazingly successful weekend for Cologne trainer Henk Grewe, who was firing on all fronts and scored notable successes in three countries. The one exception was his 4yo filly, Darius Racing´s Donjah (Teofilo), the only German runner at last week´s Breeders´ Cup meeting, who finished last on unsuitably firm going in the Breeders´ Cup Turf after stumbling. At the time of writing she has not yet arrived back in his stable, but she will soon leave again as she has a date at the coming Arqana sale.

Apart from that, it was roses all the way. In Germany, Grewe was himself present in Munich, where his charges took the top two races of the day, including the Grosser Preis von Bayern, the final Group One race of the European season, while in Italy his Sir Polski (Polish Volcano) won the Italian St. Leger on Saturday in Milan and on Sunday his 2yo debutant Isfahani (Isfahan) was a rather lucky winner of the Group Three Premio Guido Berardelli; she passed the post in second place, but was awarded the race as the winner was adjudged to have hampered the third home. She thus became the first group race winner for his first season sire Isfahan (Lord of England), the 2013 German Derby winner (trained and also bred by Andreas Wöhler) who stands at Gestüt Ohlerweiherhof and is already receiving very positive reports.

Obviously the Grosser Preis von Bayern, sponsored for the first time by insurance giant Allianz, was the most important race of the weekend and it attracted as usual a strong international field with four British-trained runners and Germany´s two best 3yo´s Torquator Tasso and Dicaprio (both by Adlerflug). Grewe saddled three runners including Dicaprio, clearly his main hope and 3-1 second favourite, and two outsiders the maiden Tax for Max (Maxios) at 54-1, and the 3yo filly Sunny Queen (Camelot), who had good listed form to her credit but had surprisingly been narrowly defeated in a modest Group Three at Hanover last time out and started at 22-1.

The going was much softer than had been expected, very holding and testing, but as anticipated, front-runner Tabera (Gleneagles) set off at a furious pace, closely pursued by Manuela de Vega, one of two Irish-bred fillies trained by Ralph Beckett, and who had been runner-up in this event last year. Not surprisingly, they were both beaten as soon as the straight was reached. Godolphin´s Secret Adviser (Dubawi) was the first to make a move, taking a narrow lead on the inside rail, but 12-5 favourite Torquator Tasso was moving up strongly in the centre of the track, with also Tax for Max and Dicaprio not far away and very much in contention. However it was Sunny Queen, coming from a long way back. who  found the best turn of foot in the closing stages and she led close home to score by a neck from Torquator Tasso, with Dicaprio two lengths away in third, Secret Adviser fourth and Tay for Max fifth; these five finished a long way clear of the other runners, several of whom clearly did not act in the conditions. Grewe´s three runners finished first, third and fifth, an excellent result for his team.

Sunny Queen showed much improved form here, but there seems no reason to doubt the form. The strong pace and the long straight at Munich were clearly in her favour, but she was a deserved winner. She also gave her jockey René Piechulek his first ever Group One victory. Sunny Queen was bred by Anahita Stables (i.e. Dr. Stefan Oschmann of Darius Racing) and was sold as a BBAG yearling to Stefan Hahne for 35,000 euros. This seemed a bargain at the time in view of her pedigree (her sire Camelot now costs 40,000 euros, and she is a direct descendant of the outstanding Schwarzgold) but apparently her conformation did not please everybody. This is one of the best families in the German stud book, and she is closely related to multiple Group One winner Stacelita (Monsun),herself dam of 2017 Japanese Oaks winner Soul Stirring (Frankel), while further back in the pedigree one finds such international stars as Derby winner Slip Anchor and Arc winner Sagace.

She was a bargain for Stefan Hahne, the chairman of a software company, who has been an owner for many years,  and he sold her a few days before the Munich race to Cayton Park Stud, which belongs to the wealthy South African Rupert family (Cartier etc), for a rumoured half million euros. It has of course also turned out to be a bargain for them, as she is worth much more following this Group One success. Sunny Queen is to remain in training with Henk Grewe; he exoects her to continuer to improve, as her pedigree strongly suggests, and she will be aimed at the top Group One events, both in Germany and in other European countries, in 2021.

Sunny Queen was rated GAG 92 (“international 104)going into the race, but her rating has been been raised to 97 ½ (i.e. 115), which seems reasonable as Torquator Tasso and Dicaprio are both reliable yardsticks. They have not met in three Group One races and the former has come out on top every timer, but not by much, and of course they both ran will in the German Derby behind In Swoop, another son of Adlerflug, whose second place in the Arc sets the standard. Adlerflug (In the Wings) , incidentally, has had his fee for 2021 raised to 16,000 euros after his extremely successful year which sees him certain to be crowned Germany´s champion sire for the first time. Another German-bred German Derby winner has also seen his fee increased- Sea The Moon (Sea The Stars), who stands at Kirsten Rausing´s Lanwades Stud in Newmarket, and whose fee goes up by 50% to 22,500 GBP, certainly well justified after another good year with his first Group One winner and excellent sales results.

Grewe not only saddled three runners in the Group One, he also saddled three 2yo´s in the BBAG sales race at Munich, the second most valuable race on the card. And here also he trained the winner, who was again the “wrong one”, at least according to the betting. Surin Beach (Soldier Hollow) led two furlongs out and quickly went clear to score very easily by 2 ½ lengths and four from New Wizard (Amaron) and Vallando (Lord of England). This was probably a decent race and Surin Beach, who is entered in the 2021 German Derby, looks a good prospect. So is Vallando, who was making his debut here and is from a top Gestüt Auenquelle family, and is also entered for Hamburg.

The only racing this weekend is at Krefeld on Sunday, with the Group Three Herzog von Ratibor-Rennen for 2yo´s as the main feature. Henk Grewe has sent out the last two winners of this event, Donjah and Wonderful Moon (Sea the Moon) and both went to more group race success later. This time he has two runners, Dolcetta (Gleneagles) and Virginia Storm (Soldier Hollow), both of them winners of their only start so far. Virginia Storm is the mount of stable jockey Andrasch Starke and could start favourite, but he only scored by a nose from Novellini (Lord of England) at Düsseldorf and the latter could well take his revenge this time. The filly Turandot (Nutan) was fifth that time, but has won easily since and has been supplemented here. Sardasht (Isfahan) has good form in top company to his credit and looks a decent each way chance. This is more a race to watch for future reference than to bet on, and we shall have a look back at the result next week.

David Conolly-Smith

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