Ausgabe 386 vom Donnerstag, 24.09.2015
Last Sunday's Deutsches St. Leger at Dortmund ended with two four-year-old fillies taking the first two places, hardly a compliment to the current classic crop in Germany, which has been further weakened by the late news that Derby winner Nutan (Duke of Marmalade) is injured and has been retired. At Dortmund Gestüt Auenquelle's homebred Virginia Sun (Doyen) finished strongly up the inside rail to win easily by two and a half lengths from Techno Queen (Manduro), with the rest, headed by the favourite Nordic Flight (Adlerflug) well behind. Virginia Sun had been runner-up here last year, but her performances since had been disappointing; however her trainer Jens Hirschberger was confident of a good performance and was proved right in his assessment. Virginia Sun, whose half-brother by Black Sam Bellamy Valdino won the same race back in 2008, is expected now to be retired to stud. She is yet another big point for her sire Doyen, who stood with such success at Auenquelle for five years, but is now covering N.H. mares in Ireland. Doyen, one of Sadler´s Wells´ best sons, is also the sire of this season´s Preis der Diana winner Turfdonna; he is still owned by Darley, but it seems a pity that he is now almost lost to flat breeders.
The complete race video, photos and full result here (under "Renndetails"/Virginia Sun/No. 3: click!
Looking ahead to this weekend, we have one the biggest fixtures of the year, the Europa Meeting at Cologne. This meeting is no longer as strong as used to be the case when Sunday´s Group One Preis von Europa was not only the richest race of the season in Germany but also one of the most valuable in Europe. Now the race is worth less than half of what is was in the 1970s and 1980s. However this Sunday´s 53rd running looks extremely competitive and features two very interesting foreign runners.
The most interesting is Al Shaqab Racing´s Dubday (Dubawi), who in fact was trained in younger days by Andreas Trybuhl here in Cologne. However he was shown tremendous improvement since being bought by his present connections at the vente d l´Arc two years ago. Transferred to trainer Jaasim al Ghazali in Doha, he has been almost invincible in Doha, twice winning both the Emir´s Cup and the Gold Cup, the two top races in Qatar. He has spent the summer in Newmarket and last time out won the Glorious Stakes at Goodwood from last year´s Newbury winner The Corsican. That was decenrt form and gives him an obvious chance here, especially as Frankie Dettori rides this track very well and won this race three times in his Godolphin period.
The other raider is Jeff Smith´s Cocktail Queen (Motivator), now trained in France by Myriam Bollack-Badel and to be partnered by her son Alexis Badel. She was originally trained by David Elsworth, but the mare was sent to Bollack-Badel last year and has become a bit of a Deauville specialist; she won the Grand Prix there in 2014 and was runner-up there this year. On the form of last year she holds Empoli (Halling)(Peter Schiergen/ Adrie de Vries), who went on to win the Preis von Europe, but the trainer´s main hope must be the supplemented Nightflower (Dylan Thomas), a Stall Nizza homebred who on her last two starts was runner-up in the Preis der Diana and Grosser Preis von Baden.
She is one of two three-year-old fillies in the field, the other being Amona (Aussie Rules), who finished just behind her in the Preis der Diana. Her trainer Andreas Löwe also saddles Sirius (Dashing Blade), who won last year´s Grosser Preis von Berlin, but is also held on this season´s form. He was fourth in that race this time, two lengths behind runner-up, Gestüt Schlenderhan´s homebred Ito (Adlerflug) (Jean-Pierre Carvalho/ Filip Minarik). On that form Ito would undoubtedly have had an excellent chance in the Grosser Preis von Baden, but unfortunately had to be scratched from that race after running a temperature. He is the highest-rated runner on Sunday and will probably start favourite.
Surprisingly, there are no three-year-old colts in Sunday´s field. But there does seem to be a jinx on this year´s classic crop in Germany. Karpino (Cape Cross), impressive winner of the Mehl-Mülhens-Rennen (2,000 Guineas) in May, has not been seen since; however he is expected to be back next season, as is his stable companion Quasillo (Sea The Stars), who was ante-post favourite for the German Derby before a setback finished him for the year. Shimrano (Monsun) was the next favourite for the Hamburg classic but ran badly and has also not been since since; he is Australian-owned and future plans are not clear. And now comes the sad news that Stall Nizza´s homebred Nutan, who actually won the Deutsches Derby, has been injured and will be retired to stud.