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The English page: Racing & Breeding in Germany 13

It's Derby-Time ... www.galoppfoto.de - Frank Sorge


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 374 vom Donnerstag, 02.07.2015

Hamburg, like most of Western Europe, is currently in the grip of a brutal heatwave, which means that the going will be very fast for the final three days of the Derby meeting. The big race itself, the IDEE 146th Deutsches Derby one of seven Group One races in Germany, will be run on Sunday at 5.10 p.m. local time, probably in fierce heat and on firm ground. There is a slight possibility of thunderstorms, but knowing how violent they can be here, that could be even worse.

However this cannot detract from the race, Germany´s most valuable and highest profile event. Unfortunately there are no foreign runners this year, but with two notable exceptions all the top German-trained three-year-olds are running. Those exceptions are Quasillo (by Sea The Stars, sire of last year´s sinner Sea The Moon) and Karpino (by Cape Cross, sire of Sea The Stars and also of this year´s Epsom winner Golden Horn), easy winner of the German 2,000 Guineas. Both are unbeaten, both are trained by Andreas Wöhler and both have had to be pulled out of the race because of a late injury – terrible luck for the trainer and all connections, especially Gestüt Fährhof, who bred them both.

Wöhler still has two runners in the race, including another one owned (like Karpino) by Qatar Racing Ltd and bred by Fährhof – Rogue Runner (King's Best), and locally-owned Fair Mountain (Tiger Hill). According to the trainer, the former, last seen finishing ninth in the Derby at Epsom, needs firm ground and the latter soft, which clearly gives Rogue Runner an advantage on Sunday. He will be ridden by Oisin Murphy, Qatar Racing's second jockey (the first, Andrea Atzeni, is suspended), while stable jockey Eddie Pedroza is on Fair Mountain.

However, with Karpino and Quasillo out of the race, the clear favourite is now Shimrano (Monsun), trained at Hanover by Irishman Paul Harley, bred by Gestüt Brümmerhof and owned by Australia Racing Stables, who acquired him after his impressive maiden win last October on his home track, when three of Sunday´s opponents finished well behind. Shimrano has the perfect pedigree for the job, as most of this century's German Derby winners have either been by Monsun or out of a Monsun mare, while his dam represents a top Aga Khan family. Brümmerhof made a  smart move when buying his dam (by Daylami) as an unraced three-year-old for 220,000 guineas at Tattersalls. That was not cheap for an unraced mare but the pedigree was worth it, and if Shimrano wins the Derby, she can definitely be labelled a bargain buy.

Shimrano certainly seems the logical favourite. He began this season – when badly needing the race- by running second to Quasillo at Munich, conceding three kilos, so no disgrace there, then won  Derby trials at Hanover and Cologne, with three more of Sunday´s runners behind each time. The historic Union-Rennen, always the most reliable trial, was the later race and he scored cosily – but not necessarily impressively- from Areo (Medicean), Nutan (Duke of Marmalade) and Summer Paradise Authorized). Dutchman Adrie de Vries, who partnered him and will do so again on Sunday, “the ground was too fast and the pace too slow, but he still did it well.”

The fast ground may not be to his liking and Monsuns generally prefer it softer, but Paul Harley commented: “ideally we would like some juice in the ground, but so would most of the others. In any case, they have done a good job at Hamburg, and I don´t think the going will be any worse than it was at Cologne. My horse is fit and well, we have had a smooth preparation, and all we need now is some luck in running.”

That of course applies to all the runners in this notoriously rough race. The draw could be significant with 18 runners, but Summer Paradise has applied for the outside box, as it means he goes in last. Owners Gestüt Karlshof did the same last year with their Derby runner and were rewarded with an unexpected third place. However most of the favourites have drawn a favourable inside stall, with Shimrano in 6. Second favourite Nutan (Duke of Marmalade) is drawn one, which gives jockey Andrasch Starke – the top jockey at the meeting so far and the most successful jockey in the race in recent history – a bit of a dilemma. He had to make the running – at a slow pace- in the Union-Rennen and may have to do the same and hope that somebody gives him a nice lead, which is quite likely in this large field.

Nutan is closely related to the Group One winning filly Nymphea (Dylan Thomas), owned and bred by Stall Nizza (Freiburg banker Jürgen Imm). The run of the race was clearly against him at Cologne- he was slightly hampered as well- but he will clearly need to improve to defeat Shimrano. He is one of five runners trained at Cologne by Peter Schiergen, and his number one jockey Starke made it clear long ago that Nutan would be his Derby ride, even though Nordic Flight (byAdlerflug, who won this race in 2007), who won the Derby Trial at Baden-Baden, actually has a higher rating; he will be partnered by William Buick, who has a major Derby to his credit already this year.

Other British-based jockeys are Robert Havlin on Areo, another one who would prefer soft ground, Richard Kingscote on Schiergen's Graasten, who starts from “lucky” stall 4 but otherwise has little to recommend him, and Jack Mitchell on Koffi Prince, who presumably only runs because he is owned by the race sponsor Atti Darboven. Upsets are by no means unheard of in this race, but the only one who looks at all likely to upset the favourites is the supplemented Palace Prince, who finished strongly to win a listed race at Compiegne last time on an objection; he is Areion, so stamina is clearly an issue here, but trainer Andreas Löwe, who saddled another doubtful stayer Lucky Lion to be runner-up here last year, sounds confident: “we ran him at Compiegne to see if he could stay; I was very satisfied with what I saw, and jockey Eddy Hardouin was also happy, and I had no problem in convincing my owner to cough up the extra fee. If he fails, it won´t be for lack of stamina.”

This is a race which has seen plenty of drama over the years, but generally speaking, the best horse wins, and from what we have seen so far Shimrano is the best horse in the field.

The complete race IDEE 146th Deutsches Derby:Klick!

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