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The English page - Tünnes looks Group One class

German St. Leger winner Tünnes. www.galoppfoto.de - Stephanie Gruttmann


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 737 vom Freitag, 23.09.2022

It rained all day last Sunday at Dortmund. That is possibly good news for some following the long hot and dry spell we have endured for most of 2022, but it was certainly bad luck for the racecourse at Dortmund which was staging its best card of the year. The going was soft at the start of racing, but turned progressively heavier throughout the day. The track clearly favoured soft and heavy ground performers, and many of the runners were facing such condition for the first time. The result was that many races saw some very easy winners scoring by long distances.

This was most obvious in the main race of the day, the 138th running of the Group Three Deutsches St. Leger. Tünnes (Guiliani), trained by in-form Peter Schiergen in Cologne, was clear favourite here. He had been a top 2yo last year and was ante-post favourite for the German Derby for most of the winter. However after various setbacks in the spring, he had to miss that race and in fact only made his seasonal reappearance during the Grosse Woche at Baden-Baden, where he won a BBAG sales race very easily. With all due respect, he had little to beat there and met much stronger opposition in the St. Leger.

But this time he won even more easily and in fact in the most impressive fashion. It was not planned for him to make the running, but he soon pulled his way to the front and jockey Bauyrzhan Murzabayev let him go on at his own pace - which proved to be too strong for the other runners who were soon toiling in the rear, several of them clearly unsuited by the conditions. It was clear early in the long straight that nobody was going to catch him, and in the end he scored by a long-looking eight lengths from another 3yo Sir Filip (Ito) as runner-up with Schiergen´s other runner Nerium (Camelot) a distant third. The time obviously was slow, but not extremely so.

Whichever way you look at it, this was a mighty performance, and the handicapper has put Tünnes up by nine pounds to GAG 97 (=international 114), i.e. just one pound below his stable companion and German Derby winner Sammarco. He looks well up to Group One class and his next race is likely to be the Grosser Preis von Bayern at Munich in early November; this final European Group One of the year often attracts a strong field, but he certainly seems to be a worthy contender.

Tünnes is owned by Holger Renz, who also owned last year´s German St. Leger winner Aff un Zo (Kallisto) and particularly wanted to win the race again. Renz is a Cologne owner and gives all his horses names relating to Cologne dialect and folklore. Tünnes was a 38,000 euros BBAG yearling, and the story goes that Renz bought the horse by mistake; he had stopped bidding, but an innocent gesture was mistakenly taken for another bid, but of course he has no reason to regret that now. Tünnes is a half-brother to Torquator Tasso (Adlerflug), who won the Arc last year in similar conditions. Schiergen originally wanted to run Tünnes in this Sunday´s Preis von Europa, a strong indication of his positive estimation of his charge: “he is a machine and still has lots of potential.”

Schiergen can of course still win the Preis von Europa on Sunday, in which he saddles Sammarco (Camelot), winner of this year´s German Derby and a close third last time out in the Grosser Preis von Baden to two German older horses who are running in next week´s Prix de l´Arc de Triomphe. The Preis von Europa is being run for the 60th time; when it started out, it was not only the most valuable race in Germany but also one of the richest in Europe. Those days are sadly long gone. It is now just another “ordinary” Group One, worth just 100,000 euros to the winner. However Sunday´s race looks like being a much stronger event than some recent editions. Seven have been declared, and while Sammarco is quite possibly the strongest German-trained contestant, there is an even stronger foreign raider in the shape of Charlie Appleby´s Rebel´s Romance (Dubawi). The Godolphin stable is firing on all fronts at present, and in particular Appleby´s department – three more Group Ones last weekend in North America.

Rebel´s Romance is no stranger to Germany, as he won the Grosser Preis von Berlin at Hoppegarten six weeks ago, with two of these opponents well held. The 4yo gelding started his career on the all-weather, winning four times, including the UAE Derby last year. This year he has been switched to racing on turf, and is now unbeaten in three starts on that more natural surface. He probably has more improvement to come and looks a very tough nut for the locals to crack.

He is actually not the highest-rated runner in the Preis von Europa; that honour goes to Sisfahan (Isfahan), winner of the 2021 German Derby. However his rating is based on 2021 form and he has not run since finishing a respectable seventh in the Breeders´ Cup Turf last November. Trainer Henk Grewe has warned that he will need the race. Grewe also saddles 3yo Assistent (Sea The Moon), fourth in this year´s German Derby and also behind Rebel´s Romance in Hoppegarten.

There are also two 4yo fillies in the field, Amazing Grace (Protectionist) and Alaskasonne (Soldier Hollow). Amazing Grace is a very consistent performer who always runs her race; she was runner-up to Sammarco in the Grosser Dallmayr-Preis over 2000 metres at Munich and then won a Group Two in Baden-Baden over this distance of 2400 metres in convincing style. We prefer her to Alaskasonne, who made all the running to win a Group Three at Baden-Baden. However it would certainly good news if Alaskasonne were to make the running again, as it could otherwise be another very tactical affair run at a false pace. Most of the other runners, including Rebel´s Romance and Sammarco, are usually held up for a late run.

Alter Adler (Adlerflug) was fourth and last in the Grosser Preis von Baden. He was not that far behind Sammarco, but it is hard to imagine his finishing in front of that rival now. Alter Adler was also well behind Rebel´s Romance at Hoppegarten. We must hope that Alaskasonne, or possibly another runner, sets a decent pace and makes it a proper race, but however one looks at it, Rebel´s Romance looks a worthy favourite and can continue Godolphin´s international winning run.

David Conolly-Smith

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