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The English page - Surprising results

Adrian, winning the RaceBets Grand Prix-Aufgalopp. www.galoppfoto.de - Sandra Scherning


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 663 vom Freitag, 09.04.2021

There was plenty of racing over Easter worldwide and some very surprising results. The most valuable race in Europe was the Irish Grand Narional at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday, which went to the 150/1 shot Freewheeling Dylan, who had been bought for a mere 13.000 euros as a 3yo store at Goffs Land Rover Sale, and earned over 15 times that amount here. It was the highest winning SP ever in the race, but at Hong Kong the main event, the Group Two Sprint Cup went to the 178-1 (!”) chance, the NZ-bred Amazing Star, who had  been sold as a yearling for NZ$ 30,000 (about 18,000 euros if my information is correct) and picked up a huge amount here.

In Germany too there were some major surprises, not so much at Hoppegarten on Easter Sunday, but certainly on Easter Monday at Cologne, where in the main event, the listed RaceBets Grand Prix Aufgalopp over 2100 metres, traditionally the first top race of the season for older middle distance performers, saw the three outsiders in the small field, according to the betting, take the first three places. Six lined up, three of them trained locally by Henk Grewe, including the odds-on favourite Wonderful Moon (Sea The Moon), one of Germany´s best 3yo´s last season when he won the Union-Rennen over almost the same CD, but seemed to fail to stay the full trip in the Derby. This distance appeared ideal, although admittedly he faced a stiff task under top weight, but his fifth place was certainly not what was expected. The only one seriously backed to defeat him was Peter Schiergen´s Nerium (Camelot), winner of 4 races in 2020 and whose Italian Group Two second place had been well boosted by the winner Walderbe at Meydan. He fared little better in fourth place, while third favourite Soul Train (Manduro) did even worse, beaten a long way in sixth and last place.

Although no immediate explanation for the failure of the favourites wasavaialble, it later transpired that Wonderful Moon was suffering from an infection. “If he recovers quickly and completely, we could still run him in the Prix Ganay as originally planned,” trainer Henk Grewe commented hopefully. He could in any case be happy with the result, as his supposed second string Adrian (Reliable Man) ran out the easy winner at over 13-1. Adrian was running for the first time since last year´s German Derby, in which he had finished eighth (later promoted to seventh).He was being scrubbed along at halfway, but picked up really well when switched to the wide outside in the straight and in the end won going away by 2 ½ lengths from the front-running Dato (Mount Nelson), with Grewe´s third runner Only The Brave (Iffraaj) third. Adrian, bred by Röttgen but sold to Gestüt Auenquelle for 52,000euros as a BBAG yearling, is likely to run next in the Group Two at Mülheim in early June, switched from the cancelled Baden-Baden meeting.

Another possible reason for the surprise result was the sudden change in the weather. The month of March had ended a couple of day earlier with record temperatures, but Cologne was cold and windy with frequent snow showers. This topsy-turvy weather is likely to continue for some time yet.

Conditions the previous day at Hoppegarten had been much better, though still chilly, and the two listed races ended with predictable results, which were particularly satisfactory for trainer Andreas Wöhler, who saddled both winners. First it was the 5yo Axana  (Soldier Hollow), bred by Sergei Penner and now owned jointly by Team Valor and Cayton Park Stud, who won the mile race for fillies and mares with great authority by 3 ½ lengths from No Limit Credit (Night of Thunder). The first two had both been runner-up in the German 1,000 Guineas, in 2019 and 2020 respectively, and both confirmed the form here. Axana had looked very promising at three, but had breathing problems last year, which explains some below par performances. She was back to her best here and connections are planning an international campaign, with Lingfield´s Chartwell Fillies Stakes in exactly one month´s time likely to be the first stop. Incidentally, Axana´s 4yo sister Alyxa was an easy winner at Cologne on Monday. She was making a very belated debut and Wöhler commented: “she is a nice filly, but probably did not beat much today so we shall keep her in lesser company for the time being.”

The listed race over 2,800 metres,a trial for the HGroup two Olkeander-Rennen over two milkes here in May, went to Dr. Christoph Berglar´s homebred Praetorius (Novellist), who made all the running at a veryx steady pace and was not hard pressed to resist thelate challenge of Enjoy The Moon ()Sea The Moon), with the favourite Ida Alata (Adlerflug), who clearly would have preferred a stronger space, a never dangerous third. The winner will now obviously go for the Oleander Rennen. He is a rare German winner for Novellist, who won the King George for Christoph Berglar and Andreas Wöhler before his sale to Japan, where he now stands. The dam Ponte Tresa (Sicyos) was a tough and game stayer who won the Group Two Prix Kergorlay at Deauville for Paul Hilger, has so far produced little of note, but in Praetorius she appears to have bred a very promising stayer.

The above mentioned races were all for older horses, but in the meantime promising three-year-olds from some of the top stables have been making their seasonal reappearance. One to catch the eye at Cologne was  Gestüt Höny-Hof´s homebred Sassoon (Soldier Hollow), who despite running very green and not getting much of a run, got up close home for a narrow win over a mile, a distance which is clearly not ideal. He is entered in the German Derby and trainer Jean-Pierre Carvalho, now based at Mülheim after some very successful years training for Schlenderhan, was himself seemingly surprised, having stated beforehand that he was a horse “for the second half of the season.” Sassoon is closely related to Derby winners Samum and Schiaparelli and obviously will show up better over longer distances. According to racecourse rumour Carvalho has even better Derby prospects in his stable, but they will need to be really good, ads this one looks very promising.

There were also two interesting performances in France by German-bred performers with an engtry in the German Derby. They are both by champion sire Adlerflug, whose sudden and totally unexpected death from a heart attack at Easter (more details elsewhere in this issue) was a huge blow to German breeding. He was champion sire in 2020 and among others was represented by In Swoop and Torquator Tasso, the first two home in last year´s German Derby. In Swoop, trained in France by Francis-Henri Graffard, is apparently being aimed at the Coronation Cup. Graffard sent out Martial Eagle, also a Schlenderhan homebred, to win in really good style this week and this Adlerflug colt is now ante-post favourite for Hamburg.

This weekend we have racing at Mülheim on Saturday and Düsseldorf on Sunday and the latter course hosts the first German group race of the year, the Kalkmann Frühjahrs-Meile. Seven horses are declared and it looks wide open, with some course specialists in the line-up, but French-trained Padron Gris de Gris) is the likely favourite. However it may not be that simple and we shall look back at this race in more detail next week.

David Conolly-Smith

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