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The English page - The most improved horses in training?

Five times blacktype winner India. www.galoppfoto.de


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 742 vom Freitag, 28.10.2022

Last weekend we had a modest meeting at Dresden on Saturday, followed by a much stronger card on Sunday at Hanover, where the 11 races included four black type events. This was preceded by a day-long conference, the so-called “thoroughbred experts´ day”. Many of the leading personalities in German racing were present, and many issues were freely and openly discussed. Among them was the use ,or rather misuse, of the whip, and it seems quite likely that Germany´s strict laws in this regard will be further tightened.

However it is the racing which concerns us here, and one horse in particular stood out, the 4yo Ittlingen homebred India (Adlerflug), who was supplemented for the main event, the Group Three Waldpfad Trophy over 2200 metres for fillies and mares and won in quite amazing style. She was always well placed as Stall Nizza´s homebred Nachtrose (Australia) made the running, and she could be seen still cantering as the field swung into the straight. She soon led and was still cantering as she passed the post 6½ lengths clear of Nachtrose (winner of the Italian Oaks earlier in the season), with the rest a long way back, and in a very fast time.

This was undoubtedly a very smart performance. The handicapper has now put her up to GAG 96½ (=international 113) but still probably still underrates her. She was gone up by 11 kilos this season, during which she won given of her seven starts, all in black type company, and finished runner-up on the other two occasions. She is quite possibly the most improved horse in training in Germany and it will be very interesting to see what connections decide to do next. Trainer Waldemar Hickst, who describes here as “extremely cool” has ruled out such exotic venues as Hong Kong, but she has an entry in next week´s Group One Grosser Preis von Bayern in Munich, but that does not look likely, but a start in Italy later in November is also a possibility. We certainly hope she stays in training, as she could well be up to winning a Group One next season. Like many of Adlerflug´s offspring – and his sudden death last year seems more than ever a huge loss to German breeding -  she is a late developer who improves from start to start. 5yo mares often continue to shine, cf Alpinista this year, and it could be that there is more to come.

Obviously the placed horses had no chance, but did well enough. Nachtrose´s trainer Peter Schiergen commented: “if they hadn´t supplemented India, we would have won!” and connections of third-placed Mythicara (Zelzal) were also happy to pick up some black type. Andreas Wöhler, trainer of fourth-placed Nina´s Lob (Lope de Vega), was also satisfied but said his filly will now go back in distance.

It was still a good day for Wöhler, who saddled the winners of two listed races. First it was British-bred Lady Ewelina (Mukhadram) who won the 2yo event over 1400 metres easily enough by 3½ lengths. The winner had been bought for only 3,500 guineas at Tattersalls. This was her first race for Wöhler; the filly had previously been trained in Poland and had won her only race there by ten lengths, so she is probably pretty useful. Wöhler said afterwards: “We shall enter her for the Preis der Diana, but I think the 1,000 Guineas could be more realistic.”

Wöhler´s other listed winner was French-bred Stall Mandarin´s Waldersee (Olympic Glory) over 1400 metres. He finished strongly here to score by a length from Namos (Medicean). Waldersee clearly likes Hanover, as he won a similar race here in the spring. He was a 35,000 euros Arqana yearling and is certainly one of the best German performers over this distance. Both Wöhler winners were ridden by Josef Bojko, as the stable´s main jockey Eddie Pedroza was on duty in Italy, where he finished a close fourth on De La Soul (Sea The Moon) in the Group Two Gran Criterium in Milan, a head behind another German 2yo, Henk Grewe´s See Paris (Counterattack).

The third listed race, the Alson Trophy for 3yo and up fillies and mares over 1750 metres ended in an easy and very popular victory for Irish-bred Goldana (Galileo Gold), a 40,000 GBP Goffs yearling bought by Gestüt Brümmerhof. She is trained by Peter Schiergen in Cologne, but is owned by the “young breeders´ association stable,” most of whose members appeared to be present. She had never run further than seven furlongs before, but ran on very strongly to score here by six lengths. The other race of note at Hanover was the mile handicap, which was won in good style by the top weight, Gestüt Park Wiedingen´s Western Soldier (Soldier Hollow). The same three horses took the same three places and in the same order as in two previous handicaps at Hoppegarten, quite an achievement by Western Soldier, who has now won five handicaps in a row and rival India as the most improved horse of the season.

The action now moves to Hoppegarten, where the main event on Sunday is the Group Three Silbernes Pferd over 3000 metres. The race suddenly took on a new complexion on Wednesday when four supplementary entries appeared, including one from Poland and one from Sweden. It is difficult to assess what their form is worth. The Swedish hope Quebello (Sea The Moon) is German-bred and ran in this race last year, but was well beaten by Aff un Zo (but see below). The Polish runner Plontier (Planteur) was previously trained in France; he won a minor race in Marseille in the spring and followed up in Madrid, but his form in black type races gives him theoretically little chance here. Even so, he must be respected.

The problem here is that there is a question mark over every single runner. Either they are untested at the distance, or they are out of form. The biggest question mark is over last year´s winner Aff un Zo (Kallisto); on that form we would win again, but on his only run since, after a break of eleven months, he ran deplorably at Munich, brazen more than 20 lengths in a match race by a far inferior runner. That was only a fortnight ago; whether he can recover his old form – wee shall see. Another who would have a good chance on 2021 form is Nerium (Camelot). He won Cologne´s Group Two Carl Jaspers-Preis 18 months ago and later that season twice ran well against Alpinista. However he has not won since then although he has frequently been placed.

One who is certainly in form is Stall Darboven´s homebred Sir Polski (Polish Vulcano), who won the Italian St Leger for the second time only a few days ago. However he has to concede weight all round which according to the ratings looks extremely difficult. The 4yo filly Stella (Neatico) is another supplementary entry. She has plenty of good form over a mile and ten furlongs, but this race is a whole 950 metres further than she has ever raced before. Andreas Wöhler´s Silence Please (Gleneagles) was previously trained by Jessica Harrington in Irelandf. As we saw last week, Wöhler can get them ready, but this 4yo filly finished second last in her last three races, admittedly all in good company. In desperation we have had a tiny bet at 25-1 on the locally trained 3yo filly Pretty Girl (Sea The Stars). She gets a lot of weight, she is by our favourite sire. She is very lightly raced, and after winning her maiden, was a well-beaten favourite here in a modest handicap. On ratings she is by far the weakest candidate. Still, this seems to be a race where anything could happen.

David Conolly-Smith

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