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English Page: Supplementary entries make all the difference

Group One-winner Skalleti (Gerald Mosse) in Munich. www.galoppfoto.de - WiebkeArt


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 679 vom Freitag, 30.07.2021

The possibility of making supplementary entries to an important group race, usually for a much increased entry fee, can often completely change the complexion of the race. We saw this at Munich last Sunday and we shall see it again at Düsseldorf this coming Sunday. The main event at Municvh was the Group One Grosser Dallmayr-Preis, Germany´s best middle distance race. This looked like cutting up badly until the news came that French trainer Jerome Reynier was going to supplement his 6yo gelding Skalleti (Kendargent), one of the best horses in Europe over this trip, last time out winner of the Group One Prix d´Ispahan (form well boosted since) and last October runner-up in an extremely strong field for Ascot´s Champion Stakes. These pieces of form- and plenty more posted by Skalleti, were vastly superior to anything his German rivals could claim, and not surprisingly he started as long odds-on favourite.

Star jockey Gerald Mossé was aboard, and he was in no hurry as front-runner Tabera (Gleneagles) set a good pace and she stretched her lead to ten lengths coming into the straight. Skalleti was clear last until halfway, but Mossé brought him gradually into the race and he then showed excellent speed to overhaul the pacemaker slome 300 yards out and sdoon go clar, in the end scoring effortlessly by five lengths from Grocer Jack (Oasis Dream) and the filly No Limit Credit (Night of Thunder), with German Derby fourth Lord Charming (Charm Spirit) a close fourth. Tabera kept on for fifth place money, but German 2,000 Guineas winner Mythico (Adlerflug) was virtually tailed off, and had somehow lost his action during the race. That was very disappointing, but at least Lord Charming, with a solid performance, laid down a positive marker for the classic generation.

Connections of the placed horses were all satisfied; they knew beforehand that they would normally have no chance of defeating Skalleti. Grocer Jack confitrmed his status as Germany´s top 2000 metres performer, and No Limit Credit, who had changed hands for a large sum at Arqana in December had gained her all-important Group One placing.

Germany´s senior handicapper Harald Siemen made a rare appearance in Munich to watch the race, and he has rated Skalleti´s performance at 99 ½ GAG (=international 119), slightly below his best rating of 121 from the Champion Stakes, but clearly he did not have to run up to his best form to win here. Reynier, who had made the long journey for Marseille to Munich in the horse box, stated that the Champion Stakes is once again Skalleti´s main target and that he would have one more race beforehand, possibly in Deauville. Mossé said afterwards that it had been his “easiest ever” Group One victory, and he has over 90 in this record; “he is a really top class horse; the going was perfect today, but he is even better on proper soft ground.” We will be extremely interested to see how he gets on in Ascot this time, and so will the Munich race club, as he in effect has saved the rating of their top race.

The undercard at Munich was, with all due respect, pretty feeble, but that is not the case at Düsseldorf this coming Sunday, as the main feature, the Group One Preis der Diana (German Oaks) is supported by another group race, the Fritz-Henkel-Stiftung Rennen over a mile, as well as a valuable sales race for 3yo´s. Seven run in the Fritz Henkel race, of whom no fewer than three were supplemented, Jin Jin (Canford Cliffs), Liberty London (Maxios) and Marshmallow (Soldier Hollow). Obviously all three must be taken seriously, especially Jin Jin, who won the Badener Meile over this CD in late May, making all the running, often the best tactic at this tight track. Jerome Reynier and Gerald Mossé team up again with Padros, whose French form looks difficult to interpret, while the 4yo filly Lancade (Areion) would be hard to beat at these weights if she can reproduce the form of her victory in the German 1,000 Guineas here last year. Although the race is open to 3yo´s and up, in fact only older horses run.

However the Preis der Diana is clearly the top race and has a maximum field of 16, all German-trained. On Monday it seemed that there were possibly three supplementary entries from abroad going to be made, but none in fact materialized, this is a pity as they would certainly have added spice to the event. One on the likelier candidates was Aidan O´Brien´s Galileo filly Divinely, who would certainly have been a hot favourite had she come to Düsseldorf. As it is, we now have a wholly domestic affair and it looks wide open.

Amazing Grace (Protectionist), one of three fillies trained by Waldemar Hickst, is now the likely favourite at around 4-1. She will again be partnered by Theo Bachelot, who was just touched off on her last time at Hamburg. Before that she had won the Hoppegarten Diana Trial in good style. She looks certain to be in the shake-up. Reine d´Amour (Soldier Hollow) is the number one on the racecard, i.e. she is the filly with the highest rating, and she has won four of her six starts. The problem is that they have all been over distances around a mile, so that her stamina has to be taken on trust. Both of these two have been drawn wide, which is normally a big handicap at Düsseldorf, so we shall look  elsewhere for the winner.

Talking horse of the race is Isfahani, representing the Derby winning team of Darius Racing as owner, Isfahan as sire, Henk Grewe as trainer and Andrasch Starke as jockey. Grewe has been quoted as saying that she is the best 3yo he has ever had in his stable; however, despite some useful form, she has not yet run up to this assessment on the track, and she is also drawn towards the outside. She has to be taken seriously, but has quite a bit to prove. Walkaway (Adlerflug) is very promising but is drawn widest of all.

The two we like best are Palmas (Lord of England), whose trainer Andreas Wöhler and jockey Eduardo Pedroza both have an excellent record in the race, and Alaskasonne (Soldier Hollow), one of two runners trained by Markus Klug. The former is unbeaten kin two starts, including a trial for this race over the CD, but is up in grade here, while the latter made  all to score in good style to win the Mülheim Diana Trial three weeks ago, and has an excellent draw for a front-runner  So far we have no firm evidence regarding the strength of this seasons´3yo fillies in Germany, so we hope to see a convincing winner, but at the moment  there is no outstanding candidate and almost all of the 16 runners are conceivable as the winner, but we certainly hope to have picked the right ones.

David Conolly-Smith

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