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The English page - Start of Hamburg Derby meeting

Parol, who showed amazing progress. www.galoppfoto.de - Stephanie Gruttmann


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 724 vom Freitag, 24.06.2022

The best race run in Germany last week was the Group Three Grosser Preis der Wirtschaft at Dortmund over the unusual distance of 1800 metres (9 furlongs). This is also the first black type event of the season in which 3yo´s can take on their elders. The youngsters of course receive quite a lot of weight from their elders, and horses from the classic generation won four times running from 2004 to 2007, but strangely enough, there has only been one 3yo winner since then. This time eight lined up, including two 3yo´s, two 4yo´s, three 5yo´s and one 6yo. Both of the 3yo´s came into the race in good form – Georgios (Poet´s Voice) had been third in the German 2,000 Guineas, running on well, while Peace Warrior (Speightstown) had been runner-up, beaten a short neck, in a decent race in Saint-Cloud and had previously won very easily from a subsequent winner in Cologne.

However it was not to be. The race was dominated by the 5yo´s, who took the first three places. This was a slight disappointment, but nothing too worrying; it is well known that German-breds are often slow developers and are frequently at their best at the age of five. The winner Parol, bred and owned by Dirk von Mitzlaff, is a case in point. Unraced at two and only lightly raced at three and four, he only lost his maiden tag last December in a race for 4+ maidens on the sand track at Dortmund, but has since showed amazing progress. This year he was won four of his seven starts and been placed on the other three, gradually moving up in grade all the while. As a result his official rating has been put up by an astonishing 30 kilos, and judging by the style of this success, when he made all the running and won with quite a bit in hand, he has not finished yet. He is a half-brother to Pas de Deux (Saddex), another very smart miler in the Mitzlaff colours who also showed his best form at five. Parol is a first German group race winner for his sire Pastorius (Soldier Hollow), who won the 2012 German Derby but has spent the last years as a stallion in France.

Parol was quite probably the best horse in the race, but the real eyecatcher was runner-up Rubaiyat (Areion), who finished very strongly and put up his best performance for a long time. Rubaiyat was the top German juvenile in 2019, winning all four of his starts, and elected as German Horse of the Year, a very rare accomplishment for a 2yo; at 3 he started by winning the Dr. Busch-Memorial and was then runner-up in the German 2,000 Guineas. However he has found winning difficult since then, but this performance suggests that he will again pick up the winning thread before long. The same applies also to the two 3yo´s in the Dortmund field, who were far from disgraced in fourth and fifth place. This writer is convinced that we shall see plenty of 3yo winners in the big races to come,

There was also racing at Hanover last Sunday, with two listed races. The 1300 metres event was won by Swedish-trained Buddy Bob (Big Bad Bob), who in the end scored comfortably enough by three parts of a length. We remember that another Swedish sprinter took the Silberne Peitsche at the Baden-Baden Spring Meeting and it is clear that Germany has no real sprint stars at present. The other listed race at Hanover was a last ditch Derby trial over 2200 metres, and was won by Assistent (Sea The Moon), who was actually a maiden coming into the race, having been runner-up on both his previous stars; the form of both those races has been boosted since and he started favourite here. Assistant had a troubled race here, being stuck on the inside behind a wall of horses coming into the straight, and had to be switched abruptly (a manoeuvre which cost his jockey a three day suspension) but came flying at the finish to get up in the final strides to score by a neck from stable companion Angelino (Isfahan). Assistent would probably have won much more easily with a clear run. He will now run in the Derby and Cieran Fallon has been booked; he has recovered well from a severe bout of colic in the spring and could well run a big race at Hamburg, but will of course meet far stronger opposition there. Angelino is also to run in the Derby; it was a good day for trainer Henk Grewe, who was not at Hanover to see them run, but at Dortmund to see Rubaiyat´s very promising performance.

The Derby meeting starts this Sunday, but with a relatively low level card, with the top races coming at the end of next week. The top race this Sunday is a listed event for 4+ fillies and mares over 2200 metres. Dr. Christoph Berglar´s homebred Amazing Grace (Protectionist) is clear top-rated and should go close.

Fillies are also in action on Saturday at Düsseldorf, but this time 3yo´s in the listed Diana-Trial over 2100 metres. Dr. Berglar and trainer Waldemar Hickst have good prospects here too, with full sister Ad Astra (Protectionist), who won her only start, at Strasbourg in May, in good style. But the race looks quite open; 8 of the 9 runners have won this year, and most of them are entered in the Preis der Diana, to be run at the same track in early August.

It is too early to say how strong the classic crop in Germany is at present, but the fillies arguably look better than the colts; not only are two strongly-fancied fillies running in next week´s German Derby, last week we had a strong indication, as three German-trained fillies finished 1-2-3 in the Oaks d´Italia. The winner Nachtrose (Australia) made all the running and was most impressive. For Ursula and Jürgen Imm (Stall Nizza), owners and breeders of Nachtrose, it was a trip down memory lane, as the dam Night of Magic also won this race for them. For trainer Peter Schiergen it was also a case of déjà vu, as he won the race in 2011 with Danedream, and nobody in German racing has forgotten how she developed. Nachtrose will now go for the German Oaks and has some ambitious targets for later in the year.

Next week´s English Page will deal in more detail with the Deutsches Derby; we expect a full field of 20 and already know who is likely to run and who will ride. However next Thursday we shall know all this with 100% certainty.

David Conolly-Smith

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