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Fantastic Moon will run on sunday in Berlin-Hoppegarten. www.galoppfoto.de - WiebkeArt


Redaktion Turf-Times


Ausgabe 810 vom Freitag, 29.03.2024

It´s nice to get back writing this article again as it means we have got through the winter and can look forward to hopefully another exciting grass season.Dortmund kept us going as usual in Winter and though it cared for the German racing´s needs to keep the sport visual, nine race days throughout the whole winter, small uncompetitive fields, bad horses strung out like three-mile chasers doesn´t make much for entertainment, add also what the Americans would declare a very sloppy track and it becomes a null as a watchable sport. Unfortunately, that is the situation in German Racing at the moment and if Winter racing is to continue really it needs a fibresandtrack (PSF) as soon as possible but the sport has many other urgent needs apart from a winter sport track. 

The German based jockeys on the other hand have shown worldwide what we can offer, with Adrie de Vries having a superb winter in Dubai, sitting in 5th place in the jockey’s championship there with 22 winners and a total prize money of 5.633.590 AED with the big Dubai World Cup night to come this weekend. Adrie actually sits one place in front of Godolphin’s number one William Buick.He will meet up with his colleague and four times German champion, Bauyrzhan Murzabayev, who will be there to partner the Japanese trained Dura Erede for trainer Manabu Ikezoe in the 12.000.000 Dollar main event. Adrie will be in action in the Group I Dubai Turf where he will partner the Ex Peter Schiergen trained Calif from the Brummerhof breeding sheds as well as the Arabian bred Rich Lyke Me in their Group I, and Desert Wisdom in the Godolphin Mile. 

Murzabayav has had a very successful spell in Japan with 17 winners chalked up, whereby Rene Piechulek had 4 winners and cut his stay short to come back to his retained stable and partner Sarah Steinberg. 

Most important, Germany will be represented in the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic Group I by Sisfahan (Isfahan). This 6-million-dollar event has attracted some real stars with the likes of Auguste Rodin for Ireland, Liberty Island (Duramente) for Japan or Rebels Romance (Dubawi), all top star horses in this 2410 meters (1m 4f) Turf Classic. The Darius Racing/Michael Motschmann 6-year-old ran a cracking first start in Meydan finishing third in the Group II Dubai City of Gold but this time he will be running at another level. We wish Sisfahan and all the team the best of luck for their challenge.

On the breeding/sales side, Germany had a Group 1 success at the Cheltenham Festival when Gaelic Warrior, a Maxios son and sold at the BBAG sales arena, won the Arkle Novices Chase Group I for the all conquering Irish trainer Willie Mullins. 

The grass season started in Germany on the 17 March in heavy ground in Mülheim with an unspectacular 8 race program followed by Düsseldorf last Sunday. Again, plenty of rain in Northern Germany produced heavy ground and the races were started by flag as the start boxes were unmovable. We did not have to wait long though to get a glimpse of the season to come as in the first race we seen an excellent performance from the 3-year-old colt Penalty. This son of Frankel out of Praia, trained by Henk Grewe for owner Eckhard Sauren put this race to bed early in the straight and ran out a handheld 5 length winner in the hands of Thore Hammer Hansen who went on to ride a treble on the day. Though pretty keen throughout the race he quickened past his rivals in a canter and with experience and maybe better ground he could prove a very nice horse for connections this year. 

This weekend, Easter weekend, the racing moves up another notch in Berlin on Sunday, also Sonsbeck a very small track with Cologne opening its doors on Easter Monday. An 8-race program in Berlin-Hoppegarten includes two listed races, the Preis des Gestuets Lunzen & Friends, a blacktype contest for 4-year-old and older fillies over the mile. Seven fillies look like going to the post in an open race. Peace of Rose (Soldier Hollow) from the local Roland Dzubasz stable won five races in 2023 and was fourth in a Group III contest. Look at Me (Pastorius), Taiora (Tai Chi), Blueridge Silver (Siyouni) are all Listed placed whereas Wild Perfection (Siyouni) is 1 from 1 and Ithaque (Oasis Dream) has fitness on her side having ran twice in France in 2024 for in form Henk Grewe albeit not showing much. 

The second listed event for 4-year-olds and older over 2000 meters (1m2f) the Preis von Dahlwith is the main event and a real cracker. It is a very interesting first good race of the season bringing together two really stars: Fantastic Moon (Sea the Moon), the fresh crowned Horse of the year and Mr. Hollywood (Iquitos). Six will go to post but the finish should feature the above mentioned two horses. First and second from last year’s Derby it will be interesting to see how they have wintered for the coming season. Fantastic Moonm the Derby and Qatar Prix Niel winner, was put away after the Arc as was the Bavarian Classic winner Mr. Hollywood who finished second in the Union, the Derby and the Grosser Preis von Baden. None of the other candidates can match these two on form with Merkur (Kingman) possibly looking third best. 

Cologne on Monday then opens its doors with nine races including the Grand Prix Aufgalopp a Listed Race for the older brigade over 2400 meters (1m4f). This looks a real opportunity for Assistent (Sea the Moon). Tough and reliable he should collect for the Grewe/Sauren/Hammer Hansen Team as he faces five rivals where Best of Lips (The Gurkha) could follow him home.

Shannon Spratter

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