The English page - More success for German breeding
Our article last week on the successes of the „W“,“N” and “S” families has already received some significant updates. Waldgeist (Galileo) ran out an easy winner of the Prix d´Hedouville at Longchamp on Sunday. He is out of the Monsun mare Waldlerche, winner of the Prix Penelope for Gestüt Bernried (a division of Gestüt Ammerland), who is a half-sister to St. Leger winner Masked Marvel and also closely related to German Derby winner Waldpark. Both Waldpark and Masked Marvel are now stallions who will be having their first runners year; this family is however not noted for precocious two-year-olds so the fireworks – if any - can be expected in 2019. However the family, tracing back to the mare Waldrun (Alchimist), continues to flourish and Waldgeist looks a major prospect for Group One glory this year, while his three-year-old half-sister Waldlied (New Approach) is also expected to make her mark at a high level; the top German miler Wonnemond (Areion)is currently the best representative of this line in this country.
At Chantilly on Monday, Intellogent won the Prix de Guiche and is now a leading fancy for the Prix du Jockey Club. A 320,000 euros yearling, he was the first group winner for his sire Intello (Galileo), and more significant from our point of view, out of Nuit Polaire (Kheleyf); a member of the German family that has produced German Derby winners Next Desert and Nutan, Italian Oaks winner Night of Magic, German Oaks winners Next Gina and Night Petticoat and Group One winners Nymphea and Nightflower, all in recent years. Only two days later Intello had another group winner out of a mare from a German family. This was Young Rascal, now second favourite for the Epsom Derby after his easy victory in the Chester Vase. He is closely related to last year´s Preis der Winterkönigin winner Rock My Love (Holy Roman Emperor) from a family that has done well various German breeders, including the late Günter Merkel, Ralf Kredel and Auenquelle. Two very promising three-year-olds from his first crop within two days do not necessarily make a trend, but it could well be that Intello, with the strong Northern Dancer elements in his pedigree, could be a major factor when paired with German-bred mares, who are often entirely free of Northern Dancer.
Another highly influential German family recently has been that of Gestüt Röttgen´s Anna Paola (Prince Ippi), who won the Preis der Diana in 1981 and founded a family that has been successful all around the world. Her direct descendants include Australian champions Epaulette and Helmet, now both promising Darley sires, Champion Hurdler Annie Power (Shirocco), German 1,000 Guineas and Italian Group One Anna Monda (Monsun), and most recently Billesdon Brook (Champs Elysees), easy winner of Sunday´s One Thousand Guineas at Newmarket.
By far the most interesting race in Germany last weekend was the Group Two Gerling-Preis over 2400 metres at Cologne. This, the oldest sponsored race in the German calendar, is usually the starting point for last season´s top three-year-olds, and the field included the winner of the 2017 Deutsches Derby, Windstoss (Shirocco), the Union-Rennen winner Colomano (Cacique), and St. Leger winner Oriental Eagle (Campanologist), as well as the reigning Horse of the Year, the five-year-old Dschingis Secret (Soldier Hollow), who is the highest-rated horse in Germany and started a warm favourite. It was however really too warm for him, as he was never happy on the very fast ground and trailed in last.
Instead it was Oriental Eagle, the outsider of the field, who made all the running to score by three parts of a length from Colomano, with Windstoss, who ran an excellent race on what was for him also unsuitable going, a neck back in third. It was a strange race; Oriental Eagle, a confirmed front-runner, led by about five lengths down the back stretch and his lead was down to three lengths coming into the straight. Here he started to hand badly to his left and drifted right over to the stands rails. His young French jockey Lukas Delozier, who was celebrating his first ever group race winner, wisely let him get on with it, and once he reached the rails, Oriental Eagle picked up again and galloped strongly to the line, invisible to many racegoers. The time of two minutes, 22.6. seconds, is believed to be the fastest-ever for a race over this distance in Germany and certainly reflects the conditions on the day.
Oriental Eagle, a Gestüt Auenquelle-homebred, paid 22-1 last year at Baden-Baden´s summer meeting, more than 12-1 when he won the German St Leger and almost 17-1 here – he has clearly been underrated. He has also improved considerably and his rating has been put up to 114. He is likely to run next in a similar race at Baden-Baden in three weeks´ time, when he could meet not only some of the same opponents, but also Guignol (Cape Cross) and Iquitos (Adlerflug), who finished 1-2 in that race last year and are both expected to make their 2018 seasonal debut there. Oriental Eagle could well improve further and also get longer distances; his family contains many tough stayers who kept their form for years, such as his half-brother Oriental Fox (Lomitas), a Royal Ascot winner last year at the age of nine. The early death of his sire Campanologist (Kingmambo) has been a great loss to German breeding.
Oriental Eagle is trained by Jens Hirschberger, who sent out another significant winner at Cologne, the three-year-old filly L´Ainee (Maxios), who made a most impressive debut, scoring by six lengths from what looked to be a strong field of maidens. The winner, a Gestüt Haus Zoppenbroich homebred, goes next for the Diana-Trial at Hoppegarten, and then for the Preis der Diana (Oaks) itself, a race won last year by her close relation Lacazar (Adlerflug).
This weekend´s racing is of only minor interest, but there then follows an intense period with the big spring meetings at Hoppegarten and Baden-Baden and both German Guineas. More on that next week.