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The English Page - First black type race of 2019

Nayala, a classic hope by Maxios. Foto: Dr. Jens Fuchs


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 561 vom Freitag, 29.03.2019

Racing in Germany moves into a higher gear with the advent of spring. Last Sunday we had an informative meeting at Düsseldorf, with three races for three-year-olds featuring some interesting prospects for this year´s classics, and this Sunday there is a good card at Cologne, 20 miles up the Rhine, with the first black type race of the year.

The first race for the classic generation last Sunday, for maiden fillies over 1700 metres, was won in good style by Dr. Christoph Berglar´s homebred Nayala (Maxios). She made all the running and scored by 2 ¼ lengths from Schlenderhan´s homebred Ismene (Tertullian). Interestingly, neither filly is entered in the German 1,000 Guineas, but both are on course for August´s Preis der Diana (Oaks) according to their connections. Both had run twice last year, in the same races, with Ismene finishing in front of Nayala both times, but winning trainer Andreas Wöhler explained after the race that Nayala had come on a lot over the winter and he was not at all surprised by her victory here.

Nayala is certainly bred for the job. She is a member of the best Berglar family and her fourth dam Narola was Dr. Berglar´s foundation mare; his US-breds (he owns Stonereath Farm ln  Kentucky) run under the name Narola Stables. Nayala´s second dam Night Lagoon (Lagunas), herself winner of the Preis der Winterkönigin, is also dam of the outstanding Novellist (Monsun), easy winner in record time of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and now a promising sire in Japan.

Above we have referred to Ismene as a Schlenderhan homebred. This is not strictly true, as she was actually bred by the associated Stall Ullmann. It has in recent years not been easy for outsiders to differentiate between the interests of Stall Ullmann and Gestüt Schlenderhan, but in a recent interview Baron Georg von Ullmann, the head of the family, explained that the problems the family had faced following a spectacular bankruptcy case and the ensuing collapse of the Oppenheim bank have now been mainly resolved, and that in future the vast majority of the family´s horses will run under the Schlenderhan name and sport the traditional red colours with blue sleeves and black cap; only a few will remain under Stall Ullmann name, with yellow and blue colours. This is good news for all fans of German racing and breeding; Schlenderhan, Germany´s oldest private stud, is still owned by the founding family and dates back to 1869, so is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

The second Düsseldorf race for three-year-olds was won very easily by Dormio (Equiano), bred by Volker Käufling, owned by Stall WAOW and trained by Henk Grewe. He also made almost all the running and was well clear in the final stages; this race was over 1400 metres and it seems that his future will lie in sprint races. As a gelding, he is not entered in the classics, but is qualified for the series of valuable BBAG sales races; in actual fact, he was led out unsóld at 26,000 euros but now looks a good buy. He comes from a good Röttgen family tracing back to the 1972 Preis der DIana winner Diu, who has Hungarian roots. Dormio is closely related to Dickens (Kallisto), runner-up in the Deutsches Derby, and to the smart miler Diplomat (Teofilo), who this week made a winning- debut over hurdles at Auteuil, and is also related to Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom.

We had another pillar-to-post “winner” in the third three-year-old event at Düsseldorf, but this ended in controversy. Stall Nizza´s homebred Nubius (Dylan Thomas), trained by Peter Schiergen und ridden by his eldest son Dennis, set out to make the running, with La Pradera (Wiesenpfad), the only filly in the field, chasing him throughout. The pair drew clear in the straight, with Nubius always just holding the filly, but he drifted markedly to his left in the final two furlongs. The jockey on La Pradera continued riding, but he was clearly inconvenienced. The stewards held an inquiry and disqualified Nubius. It must have been a very close decision, and connections of Nubius have appealed, as has Dennis Schiergen, who was given a one day suspension.

However this turns out, it is likely that the two protagonists are both pretty useful. La Pradera, who gave trainer Henk Grewe his second winner of the day, was bred by Gestüt Bona and sold at the 2018 BBAG Breeze-Up sale to current owner Manfred Schmelzer for 30,000 euros. Her dam La Dane (Danehill) was a listed winner and also a half-sister to La Blue (Bluebird), winner of the German 1,000 Guineas. This is basically a Fährhof family, tracing back to the Crepello mare Love In, one of Fährhof´s foundation mares 50 years ago and the direct ancestress of such stars as the outstanding racehorse and sire Lomitas, as well as the Group One winning half-brothers Lirung and Lagunas.  Nubius, who is regarded as a potential Derby horse, is out of a listed-placed mare who has already bred three group-placed performers and is herself a half-sister to Deutsches Derby winner Nicaron (Acatenango).

This Sunday´s three-year-old maiden race at Cologne over 1850 metres has attracted eleven runners and looks the best race so far this season for this age group. Local trainer Henk Grewe has three entered, two of them owned by Darius Racing, Radmaan (Camelot) and Lorestan (Pomellato), both regarded as good prospects,  while Markus Klug´s Accon (Camelot) and Peter Schiergen´s Say Good Buy (Showcasing) finished second and third last October in the Ferdinand Leisten-Rennen, Germany´s richest juvenile event, and Gestüt Schlenderhan´s Surely Motivated (Motivator) is another who is seen as a Derby prospect. We shall have a detailed look at this race next week.

Henk Grewe also has three entered in the listed Grand Prix Aufgalopp over 2100 metres, the first German black type race of 2019. On ratings Khan (Santiago) is clear top, having won the Preis von Europa last year, but he has a chunky penalty for this Group One victory and in any case the ground may not be heavy enough for this proven mudlark. His stable companions Be My Sheriff (Lawman) and Falcao Negro (Canford Cliffs) could provide serious opposition at these weights, while multiple group race winner, Markus Klug´s Devastar (Areion) looks a big danger. We shall know more next week.

Also at Cologne on Sunday: the presentation of the winner of the German Horse of the Year award for 2018. There are three candidates, chosen from a short list provided by racing journalists, but the award will be decided by public vote. The choice is between two classic winners from last year, Weltstar (Soldier Hollow) (Deutsches Derby) and Well Timed (Holy Roman Emperor) (Preis der Diana) and the consistent older horse Iquitos (Adlerflug). This column hopes the last-named will be awarded the prize after a string of top class performances, culminating in a well-deserved triumph in the Grosser Preis von Bayern, his final race.

David Conolly-Smith

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