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The English page - "Grosse Woche" starts on Saturday

Say Good Buy, son of Showcasing, surprised at Hanover. www.galoppfoto.de


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 582 vom Freitag, 23.08.2019

Last weekend in Germany was very low key, hardly surprising following three successive Sundays with Group One races, and with Baden-Baden just around the corner. The most valuable event was a BBAG sales race at Hanover over the intermediate distance of 1750 metres. King (Lord of England) and Say Good Buy (Showcasing) had top weight here, but the former started at odds on after an impressive success in a similar race at Hamburg, where Say Good Buy had only finished sixth. However it had been raining for several hours, and King never featured and did not seem to act on the ground, while Say Good Buy clearly loved it, going well clear in the straight to win by ten lengths at the lucrative odds of over 18-1. He cost his owner, Cologne president Eckhard Sauren, 36,000 euros as a yearling, but can now consider himself well-named, as he has already earned almost twice that amount. What the form is worth remains to be seen, but this was still a good performance by the winner, who was conceding no less than 8 kilos to the runner-up. It was also good news for the breeder, Gestüt Fährhof, who have his half-brother by Footstepsinthesand in next week´s BBAG Yearling Sale.

Another yearling to be sold next week with an update from Hanover´s meeting last Sunday is Gestüt Karlshof´s Pastorius colt out of group race winner Lady Jacamira (Lord of England). Her first foal Ladykiller (Kamsin) was an easy winner of the listed race over 2200 metres, despite swerving sharply in the straight. Ladykiller was regarded as a serious prospect by the Andreas Wöhler stable, but he has obviously had some issues and this was only his fourth start. He can make up for lost time and is probably capable of better. In this race also we had an odds-on favourite who could not act on the rain-softened ground, Gestüt Röttgen´s Weltstar (Soldier Hollow), having his first run since winning the 2018 German Derby. He has also had his problems and is clearly much better than this form suggests.

There was also a decent race last Sunday at Düsseldorf, a listed event for fillies and mares over 1400 metres. There were two foreign runners, Henri-Alex Pantall´s  Magic Image (Dubawi) from France, and Tom Clover´s Gypsy Spirit (Gregorian) from England, and it was widely expected that this was another race destined for export. But surprisingly this was not the case; Pantall´s Godolphin-owned filly was never seen with a chance, while Gypsy Spirit ran well enough, taking the lead early in the straight, but she had no answer to the strong finish of Gestüt Paschberg´s homebred Emerita (Areion), who in the end won going away by a length and a quarter. This was far from the best listed race ever run, and the handicapper has only put Emerita up to GAG 89 (=international 98); she was fourth on her only previous start in a group race and may get another chance in a Group Three in Düsseldorf over 300 metres further in late September.

Attention now turns to Baden-Baden, or more specifically to the village of Iffezheim where the “Grosse Woche”, Germany´s most important race meeting, starts on Saturday. There are six days of racing, with a couple of free days in between, until the meeting finishes with the Group One Grosser Preis von Baden a week on Sunday. There used to be a group race every day, but the programme has been rejigged so that there now two group races on both the final Saturday and Sunday; this has clearly strengthened the last weekend of the meeting, but at the expense of the midweek race days.

The first day features the Group Three 64th Preis der Sparkassen Finanzgruppe, previously known as thr Spreti-Rennen, over 2000 metres. Eight, all German-trained, have been declared, including last year´s winner Wai Key Star (Soldier Hollow). The six-year-old ran an excellent race last time when runner-up to the smart Danceteria in a Group One over this trip in Munich, and has a clear chance of doubling up. However he faces two strong opponents in Itobo (Areion), winner of the big race here at the Spring Meeting, and Royal Youmzain (Youmzain), a good fourth last time in the Group One Grosser Preis von Berlin. Itobo has a two kilos penalty for his win and it will be very tough for him to beat Wai Key Star and Royal Youmzain on these terms, but there could be very little between the other two.

The other interesting race on Saturday is a poor handicap over a mile, but this “legends” race for retired jockeys is notable for having attracted one of the very best jockeys of the modern era, 54-year-old Kieren Fallon.  He rides Griffone, one of two runners trained in Munich by his compatriot John Hillis. No disrespect to the other jockeys in this race, and Austrian Andreas Suborics and Frenchman Jean-Pierre Carvalho were all pretty successful in their jockey careers, but Fallon has by far the highest profile and will certainly generate many inches of press coverage.

Sunday´s main feature is the Group Two 149th Casino Baden-Baden Goldene Peitsche over 1200 metres, Germany´s  top sprint. This race has repeatedly been won by top sprinters from abroad, usually Britain or France – although we have certainly not forgotten the “Budapest bullet” nor sundry Scandinavian winners – but this time there is only foreign runner, Ed Walker´s three-year-old filly Royal Intervention (Exceed & Excel), half- owned by Andrew Lloyd-Webber. She ran very well at Goodwood last time and before that won York´s Group Three Summer Stakes over this trip. The only two local runners with a hope of beating her are both trained by Dominik Moser at Hanover, who has become Germany´s sprint king in recent years. Waldpfad (Shamardal) won the Hackwood Stakes at Newbury in good style last time and is probably the more dangerous of his pair, but Namos (Medicean), winner of the Silberne Peitsche over this course and distance at the beginning of June should not be underestimated.

David Conolly-Smith

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