The English page - The right results from Baden-Baden
Last week´ s Baden-Baden meeting, the grandly-named Sales & Racing Festival, must be counted as a great success, thanks in particular to fine weather. At this time of year the outdoor conditions are all-important and after several years in which the weather was really miserable, this time everything was perfect: the sun shone non-stop, the temperature was pleasant and betting turnover on the Sunday was up by almost 20% compared to last year – a welcome change from this year´s normal results.
The racing was also good and the three most important events were won by the “right” horses, which certainly added to the positive atmosphere. The opening day´s Ferdinand Leisten-Memorial, a sales race for 2yo´s over seven furlongs and the most valuable juvenile race in the German calendar, was won in convincing style by Gestüt Fährhof´s homebred Ramazotti (Lope de Vega). Trained by Andreas Wöhler and confidently ridden by Eduardo Pedroza, he raced on the inside in fourth place before moving to the outside in the straight, taking the lead a furlong out and quickly putting the race to bed. Accon (Camelot) finished well to go second in the final stages from Say Good Buy (Showcasing) and English raider Julius Limbani (Anodin), who had made most of the running.
All the runners had been through the BBAG sales ring in order to be qualified, and Ramazotti had been led out unsold at 38,000 euros a year ago – in retrospect a great result for Fährhof as their colt picked up 100,000 euros for this victory. He had won his only previous race, against much weaker opposition, equally easily and now goes into winter quarters as a major prospect for 2019. He is well-bred, being out of the Italian Oaks runner-up Rosa di Brema (Lomitas), already dam of ten previous winners, including Qatar Derby winner Rogue Runner (King´s Best) and Italian group race winner Rosa del Dubai (Dubai Destination).
The fact that he has won the richest 2yo race does not of course mean that he is necessarily the best juvenile seen so far, and Germany´s senior handicapper explains in his latest blog how difficult it is to rate these sales races. He has taken a very cautious view and rated Ramazotti at 92 and runner-up Accon on 86; both are with top trainers and it seems quite likely that, all being well, these ratings will have to be upgraded next year.
Markus Klug trains Accon and on the Sunday he saddled five runners in the Preis der Winterkönigin, Germany´s top race for 2yo fillies. His high expectations were fully justified as two of his runners, Gestüt Park Wiedingen´s homebred Whispering Angel (Soldier Hollow) and Gestüt Röttgen´s Akribie (Reliable Man) took the first two places, while two more Sharoka (Rock of Gibraltar) and Peace of Paris (Helmet) finished in the money, despite both of them being badly hampered at different times. It was the fourth successive win for Klug in this event, however it was a messy race and there was a long stewards´ inquiry before the result was confirmed. Whispering Angel was however a worthy winner; she was badly drawn on the outside and was slowly away and held up near the rear of the field, before making strong headway to lead inside the final furlong and score by half a length from Akribie, with Ivanka (Dabirsim), who had always been in the firing line, third. Like Ramazotti, Whispering Angel, who had won her only previous race, a Hanover maiden, by ten lengths, will go into winter quarters as the unbeaten winner of two races. The handicapper has taken a more positive view of this race and rated her at 106, with Akribie on 105.
Whispering Angel is the first foal out of Wamika (Shirocco), only a modest handicapper but a three parts sister to this year´s group race winner Wai Key Star (Soldier Hollow) and a granddaughter of listed winner Waky Na (Ahonoora), herself dam of the Group One winner Waky Nao (Alzao), a successful N.H. stallion in Ireland. The race was an excellent result for owner-breeder Helmet von Finck, who also owns the sire Soldier Hollow (In the Wings), who stands at Auenquelle. Soldier Hollow is certain to be Germany´s champion sire again this year and is clearly the best stallion standing in the country; his fee for 2019 has been raised from 25,000 to 30,000 euros, but this is well justified by results, and only this week one of his daughters was a sales topper at the Arqana Yearling Sale at Deauville.
The top race for older horses at the meeting was the Baden-Württemberg Trophy over ten furlongs, previously run under various different names and at different racecourses. It is now the German leg of the lucrative French series Le Defi du Galop, and two of the leaders in this series, Potemkin (New Approach) and Almorox (Rip van Winkle) have good prospects of landing it. Potemkin had beaten his rival at Clairefontaine in August and repeated that victory here, despite being much worse off at the weights; Almorox ran on for third place, behind the consistent Itobo (Areion). Potemkin made all the running under a finely-judged ride by Bauyrzhan Murzabayev to give Andreas Wöhler his fourth win since the race moved to Baden-Baden. The trainer has done a great job in bringing the 7yo (who was a Group One winner in younger days) back to top form and presumably he will meet Almorox again in Marseille on-November 11th to wrap up the series.
We have more black type races this weekend: on Saturday, Mannheim stage their first ever listed race, while on Sunday there is a group race for fillies and mares at Hanover accompanied by three listed races. Of more interest is Saturday´s Cox Plate in Moonee Valley, in which Godolphin´s Munich winner Benbatl (Dubawi) takes on the mighty mare Winx (Street Cry), Australia´s darling, who has won her last 28 races including this prestigious event for the last three years. Saeed bin Suroor has his Australian team in top form, and Best Solution (Kodiac), winner of two Group Ones in Germany this year, last week won the Caulfield Cup. Saeed bin Suroor also has Racing History (Pivotal) entered in next Thursday´s Grosser Preis von Bayern in Munich. This event, the final European Group One of the year over 2400 metres, has been the highest-rated race in Germany for the past two years, and probably will be again if all the intended runners show up.