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The English page - Mixed results last week

Nikkei winning the "Silbernes Pferd", Adler (2nd) and Moonshiner (3rd) were placed. www.galoppfoto.de - Sabine Brose


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 539 vom Freitag, 12.10.2018

The best race run in Germany last weekend was the Group Three Silbernes Pferd over 3000 metres, run in Hoppegarten for the first time since the war after being staged under various names in Krefeld, Hannover, Dortmund and now defunct Frankfurt. The race title is in fact the oldest in Germany, dating back to 1832, in the earliest days of thoroughbred racing in the country. It was therefore good to see it return to its earlier home in Berlin, although it must be said that the quality of the field did not really live up to the tradition of the race.

There were two foreign runners, French-trained but German owned Abadan (Samum) and Slovakian-bred Sulman (Look Honey), but with all due respect neither is anywhere near normal group race standard. On ratings the race appeared to mainly involve Moonshiner and Adler, two sons of Adlerflug, and the seven-year-old mare Summershine (Three Valleys), who have met repeatedly this season. All three ran in both the big spring staying races at Hoppegarten and in the summer they occupied the first three places in the listed Langer Hamburger at the German Derby meeting.

The most interesting runner was Ittlingen´s homebred Nikkei (Pivotal), who had been supplemented by Cologne trainer Peter Schiergen. The three-year-old was taking a huge leap in class after winning two minor events, and was also up in trip, as none of his previous races had been further than 2200 metres. After the raiders Abadan and Sulman had made the running at a decent pace, Nikkei quickened through a gap to take the lead a furlong out and held on well to score by half a length from the fast-finishing Moonshiner and Adler; the former had been very slowly  away, not for the first time, which possibly cost him the race, while the latter was also unlucky, racing wide and also slightly hampered by the winner.

It was nevertheless a good performance by the winner, whose rating has been put up as a result by no less than 16 kilos, from GAG 73 to GAG 89 (international 98). It is unusual to see a son of Pivotal to score over this distance, and he appeared to be tiring, and wandering about, in the final stages. Whether he is a true stayer remains to be seen; Schiergen has entered him in the Prix Royal Oak over slightly further at Saint-Cloud at the end of the month, which will be a proper test. He is well-bred, being out of the unraced Nicella (Lando), a half-sister to the Group One winner and sire Neatico (Medicean) out of the Sadler´s Wells mare Nicola Bella, bought in foal to Rainbow Quest for 100,000 guineas (big money in those days!) at Tattersalls in 2003. As a lightly-raced three-year-old Nikkei should be capable of further improvement and is certainly a good prospect for next year, although it is not yet sure whether this will be in cup races or over more conventional distances. Nikkei´s yearling half-sister by Dansili sold for 220,000 guineas this week at Tattersalls to American agent Shawn Dugan, a successful pinhook for the Doyle team.

There was in any case much more interest in events in Paris last Sunday, and the German fillies Well Timed and Navaro Girl (both daughters of Holy Roman Emperor) were certainly not disgraced when fifth and seventh respectively in the Prix de l´Opera; they could well meet again in the Premio Lydia Tesio, Italy´s last remaining Group One race, whose prize-money has been raised to over 400,000 euros in an attempt to keep that status. The winner of the Opera, Godolphin´s Wild Illusion (Dubawi), also has a German background, being out of a Monsun mare bred by Etzean and racing in Fährhof colours. Waldgeist (Galileo), also out of a Monsun mare, ran another good race when a close fourth in the Arc. He is 75% owned by Gestüt Ammerland and 25% by Newsells Park; the latter stud, based in Hertfordshire and owned by Jacobs Holding is enjoying a sensational week at Tattersalls October Yearling Sale. The stud was founded by Klaus Jacobs, whose father Walther founded Gestüt Fährhof, and whose son Andreas is now effectively boss of both, as well as Maine Chance Farm in South Africa.

One big international success for German breeding was recorded in the United States, when the Karlshof-bred A Raving Beauty (Mastercraftsman) won the First Lady Stakes in Keeneland, her second Group One success since being sold to the USA, where she is now trained by Chad Brown. There could be another big Karlshof winner this weekend in North America, as Sky Full of Stars (Kendargent), last seen winning a Group Two at Baden-Baden, is one of two runners trained by Henk Grewe at Woodbine/ Toronto on Saturday, the other being Preis von Europa winner Khan (Santiago), also bred by Karlshof but now racing in the colours of Darius Racing. Sky Full of Stars will run in Karlshof colours, but it is understood that she is in the process of being sold.

Main event in German racing this weekend is the Group Three Preis des Winterfavoriten for two-year-olds over a mile in Cologne, roughly the local equivalent of the Doncaster Futurity. As the name implies, the winner is, in theory at least, the favourite for the following year´s German Derby. In practice this does not work out very often, and in the past 25 years there have been only two horses to have completed the double - 1995 Lavirco (Königsstuhl) and 2016 Isfahan (Lord of England). It has often however been won by a really good horse, as for example Manduro (Monsun) in 2004, who went on to become the highest-rated horse in the world. Whether any of Sunday´s eight runners will be up to this level seems doubtful. Four of them are trained by Markus Klug in Röttgen on the outskirts of Cologne, and the other four are trained on the racecourse.

While they all have decent form, and all are entered in next year´s Derby at Hamburg, none of them looks really outstanding at this stage. It is a sad fact that not one of them is by a stallion now standing in Germany. Two are from the first crop of Sea The Moon, who has made a really good start and at least he is mainly German-owned, though standing in Newmarket. Two are by Reliable Man, sire of last year´s winner Erasmus, but now in France after starting his European stud career in Röttgen; they include Moonlight Man, the choice of stable jockey Adrie de Vries, the Klug stable jockey. Pastorius, sire of Sibelius, is also now in France, where Dansili, sire of Bristano, was has now retired, was based at Banstead Manor. Campanologist, sire of the likely favourite Django Freeman, sadly died young, while Rip van Winkle, sire of Rip van Lips, is a Coolmore stallion who also shuffles to New Zealand. This looks a very open race indeed as they are all lightly raced and probably capable of showing much better form than is in the book.

David Conolly-Smith

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