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The English page - The lull before the storm

Marlar (l.), winning the listed race at Düsseldorf. www.galoppfoto.de - Stephanie Gruttmann


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 682 vom Freitag, 20.08.2021

Mid-August is always a quiet period in German racing. After three successive Sundays with Group One races (Munich, Düsseldorf, Hoppegarten), last weekend we had no group races at all, and only one black type event, a listed race at Düsseldorf, of which more later. This coming weekend there are no black type races at all. However in a week´s time the all-important Grosse Woche starts at Baden-Baden, and although the start will be relatively quiet, the weekend following is arguably the most important of the whole year starring the Group One Grosser Preis von Baden, backed up by several group and listed races at the Iffezheim track. Traditionally the Grosse Woche has six days of racing, but this year we have only four, partly due to the covid-19 pandemic but also to the fact that the racecourse is now under new management and this will be their debut.

The going at Düsseldorf last Sunday was on the fast side, and under those circumstances, as we have seen so often in the past, front-runners have a big advantage, and it comes as no real surprise to see from the results that no fewer than seven of the nine races were won by a horse that made all the running. That was also the case with the main event,  the listed Grosser Sparkassenpreis for fillies and mares over 1400 metres. 5 of the 7 runners were three-year-olds, and three of them were trained abroad, two in France and one in Sweden. Of these the Swedish 4yo Victoria Placa (Wootton Bassett) rather surprisingly did best; she finished fastest of all and only failed by a short head to reach the pacemaker Marlar (Kallisto) who only just held on. The winner, a Dr. Margarete Renz homebred, was one of two runners saddled by Markus Klug; the other, who actually strated favoirote was Gestüt Röttgen´s homebred Diadora (Dansili), who also finished strongly and was only a neck behind in third. It was in fact a very tight finish and only 3 lengths separated the first six home.

The winner is a half-sister to Dr. Renz´ smart Millowitsch (Sehrezad), one of the best German sprinters of recent years. That one was also a Düsseldorf specialist and scored several black type victories there, over distances ranging from six to eight furlongs. 1400 metres was quite possibly his best distance, and the same probably holds for his half-sister. The handicapper was not overly impressed by this race and has reduced Marlar´s rating to GAG 87 (i.e. international 94), certainly not a very high figure for a listed winner. Millowitsch, whose highest rating was GAG 96 (=112), now stands at Gestüt Röttgen for a very modest 1111 euros; some of  his first crop yearlings will be offered at the upcoming BBAG Yearling Sale.

With reference to the BBAG, today (Friday) sees the inauguration of their Horses in Training Sale. The sale will be held in their Iffezheim sales ring, but only a few horses, those actually trained in Iffezheim, will be present, the majority will be at home in their stables, but can be viewed online. Most of the horses in the sale also have entries for the Grosse Woche at various levels, so the new purchaser can see his or her horse in action in the next few days. This is an excellent idea and an absolute innovation for Germany, and we wish the sale every success.

As mentioned earlier, there are no black type races at this weekend´s four meetings in Germany. Most trainers are keeping their powder dry for the Grosse Woche, so there will be hugely more interest then. There has of course been some top class racing this week in Europe, notably at Deauville and York, and some of the results read very positively from the German point of view. The Group One Juddmonte International at York saw an impressive victory for the Gosden-trained Mishriff, but the German-bred Alenquer (Adlerflug) was an honourable tunner-up: he had no chamce with the winner, but this was a very lucrative performance. The same afternoon saw the Godolphin homebred Yibir win the Great Voltigeur Stakes. He is by Dubawi out of the Monsun mare Rumh; he could go next for the St. Leger at Doncaster, while Alenquer is entered in the Irish equivalent. The big staying handicap at York was won by the favourite Arcadian Sunrise, who is trained in Ireland and has also won four times over hurdles; he is by Arcadio (Monsun), whi is doing very well covefring mainly N.H. mares in Ireland.

Last Sunday at Deauville Gestüt  Höny-Hof´s homebred Sun of Gold (Golden Horn) ran out a cosy winner of a listed race over 2800 metres. He had previously finished eleventh in the German Derby and is likely to be aimed at longer trips now. In the same race, Darius Racing´s Alborz (Reliable Man), who had been just ahead of him at Hamburg, finished a respectable fourth. This was certainly a much stronger listed event than the one o9n Düsseldorf. And at that latter track, Liban (Protectionist), last of the 20 runners in the German Derby, ran out a very easy winner of a minor conditions race. Perhaps the German Derby form is not as bad as we had thought at the time.

David Conolly-Smith

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