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The English page: Potemkin put up the best performance by an older horse in Germany

Potemkin with his owner Klaus Allofs (right),jockey Eduardo Pedroza and trainer Andreas Wöhler. Photo: Dr. Jens Fuchs


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 424 vom Donnerstag, 30.06.2016

Five-year-old Potemkin (New Approach) put up the best performance by an older horse in Germany this season when winning last Sunday's Grosser Preis der Wirtschaft at Dortmund. He was probably the most-improved horse in the country last year, when he won six of his seven starts, starting with a maiden race in April and progressing through the handicap, He finished 2015 by winning the Preis der Deutschen Einheit at Hoppegarten in early October, Germany´s most valuable Group Three race.

The Dortmund race was his first outing since, as he had been suffering from an infection in the spring. That proved to be no problem, nor did the very soft ground, nor did the fact that he was conceding weight all round. Fourth into the straight, he gradually improved his position on the inside, leading over a furlong out and he quickly put the race to bed. Although the winning margin was only a length and a half, he was value for more and certainly deserves to take on stronger opposition; this will also be the case as trainer Andreas Wöhler, who also saddled the runner-up Noor Al Hawa, said afterwards that Potemkin´s target is now the Group One Grosser Dallmayr-Preis at Munich at the end of July.

Potemkin was bred by Gestüt Fährhof and is from one of their best families. He was sent to the Baden-Baden sale as a yearling and knocked down for 180,000 euros, but in fact is still half-owned by his breeder with the other half owned by the extremely popular football star Klaus Allofs, who has for years been a keen racing fan and has owned several good horses in partnership with Fährhof, for example Wake Forest (Sir Percy), who won six races in Germany for them, including the Preis der Deutschen Einheit, and now sold to the United States, last month won the Grade One Man o'War Stakes at Belmont Park.

The other two significant races last weekend were listed races for three-year-olds, the BMW Preis at Düsseldorf for fillies and the swb-Derby-Trial atBremen. The former event, a trial for the Preis der Diana (Oaks) was also won by Andreas Wöhler and his stable jockey Eduardo Pedroza. The jockey did well here, as his mount Serienholde (Soldier Hollow) stumbled coming out of the stalls; Pedroza managed to stay in the saddle, and Serienholde made smooth late headway to collar the long-time leader Flemish Duchesse (Duke of Marmalade) close home and win by half a length. Considering the circumstances, this was a good effort and Serienholde has now been promoted to favouritism for the Preis der Diana.

Wöhler's colts however did not shine at Bremen and both finished well beaten. The race here was won by Moonshiner (Adlerflug), who stayed on best of all to score by one and a quarter lengths from Norwegian-trained Our Last Summer (Zamindar). The winner is not in the Derby, but the runner-up is and will take his chance; three of those who finished further back were also Derby entries, but frankly their chances are minimal.

Hamburg's Derby week begins this Saturday, with seven days'  racing, culminating in the IDEE 147. Deutsches Derby, the most valuable German race of the year, on the Sunday of next week. Nineteen are still in the race, of which most are expected to run. There is also the possibility of supplementary entries, which would be due on Monday at a price of 65,000 euros. So far it is unclear whether there any supplementary entries will be made; Coolmore have frequently done so in the past, and it seems that they are at least thinking things over.

Main event on Hamburg's opening day (click to all races!) is the Group Three Franz-Günther von Gaertner Gedächtnisrennen for fillies and mares over a mile. Last year it was won by Karl Burke's Odeliz (Falco), who went on to win two Group One races. This time another British runner takes her chance – Tom Dascombe's Excilly (Excellent Art), who was recently unplaced at Royal Ascot, but had good form at Meydan in the winter. Fellow four-year-old Nymeria (Soldier Hollow) looks a big danger, having been runner-up in good company on all her three 2016 starts. Seven of the eleven declared runners are three-year-olds, the best of which should be Shy Witch (Areion), noted running on really well when runner-up in the German 1,000 Guineas four weeks ago.

Sunday's main feature is the Group Two Grosser Hansa-Preis for three-year-olds and up over a mile and a half, which has attracted a good field. The most interesting runner is Protectionist (Monsun), who won this race in 2014. After that success he was trained by Andreas Wöhler for the Melbourne Cup and in one of the greatest-ever successes for German bloodstock won the “race that stops a nation.” Sold to Australian interests, he stayed down under but lost form completely. He was sent back to Wöhler last December and made a winning reappearance in a minor event at Düsseldorf in early May. Obviously this is much tougher, but he won there in very convincing fashion and at his 2014 best would take all the beating.  

The two main dangers would appear to be the supplemented Iquitos (Adlerflug), who won a similar race at Baden-Baden's May meeting but arguably against weaker opposition, and Sirius (Dashing Blade), who was beaten a head in this race last year. However one should also consider Meergörl (also by Adlerflug), who scrambled home last time in the Diana-Trial at Hoppegarten. That bare form would probably not be good enough, but three-year-old fillies receive a massive weight allowance here, which could well stay things in her favour.

David Conolly-Smith 

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