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The English Page: Weekend winner

Lavello (Adrie de Vries), winner of the Bavarian Classic. www.galoppfoto.de - WiebkeArt


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 717 vom Freitag, 06.05.2022

The season is now getting into top gear, and there were some very interesting races last weekend in Germany. There is no doubt either about who was last weekend´s big winner: Manfred Ostermann, who breeds under the name Gestüt Hof Ittlingen and races under the name Gestüt Ittlingen, won the top four races, all with homebreds. The sequence began with Danelo (Exceed and Excel), an easy winner of a good 1400 metres handicap at Mülheim on Saturday under top weight. Trainer Andreas Wöhler indicated later that handicaps are now out for the 4yo, who was making his seasonal debut, and he will now be racing in black type events. Judging by the way he won here, he looks well up to listed class at least.

Even better was to come on Sunday, when Ittlingen won all three black type races run in Germany, the Group Three Bavarian Classic at Munich over 2000 metres, and two listed races at Hanover for fillies and mares. First up was the Munich race, generally regarded as one of the best trials for the German Derby in two months´ time. Trainer Markus Klug, currently leading the German statistics, saddled four runners here, including the Schlenderhan homebred So Moonstruck (Sea The Moon), who started as 2-1 favourite, but it was his Lavello (Zarak) who ran out the easy winner at odds of almost 16-1.

Lavello had run four times at two, winning his maiden at the Baden-Baden October meeting and finishing the season with a fourth place in the Ratibor-Rennen. Klug admitted later that he had rated the Ittlingen colt as his best 2yo at the start of last season, but that he had not met his expectations. He certainly did so here, coming with a smooth run on the outside to lead a furlong out and in the end scoring comfortably enough by 1 ¾ lengths from Schiergen´s Sammarco (Camelot) and Wöhler´s Maraseem (Nathaniel) with So Moonstruck only fourth. The first four are likely to meet again in the last big Derby trial, next month´s Union-Rennen at Cologne, and probably again in the Derby itself, However we are not convinced that the Munich form will be confirmed, although the German bookmakers certainly treat it as gospel and now make Lavallo clear favourite for Hamburg.

However the Munich race was a very messy affair and run at a slow pace (slower than the maiden race over the same trip an hour earlier). On top of that, there was a great deal of jostling among the horses on the inside, with Sammarco and So Moonstruck among those inconvenienced. If the race were run again, especially at a stronger pace, we would probably have a different result. As it is, it would come as no surprise were the placed horses to finish in front of Lavello next time they meet. Lavello clearly had the run of the race here and stayed out of all the trouble towards the inside. However he is obviously a smart performer, and also has the right pedigree for the job, being by hot sire Zarak out of a Montjeu mare from the immediate family of Lando, Laroche and Laccario, all of whom won the German Derby for Ittlingen. The Derby picture is still muddied but the first four from the Munich race are definitely players.

The two Ittlingen listed winners at Hanover were India (Adlerflug), who made all the running to score easily for trainer Waldemar Hickst, and Stella (Neatico), who also scored comfortably to win from Irish raider Emilie Gray (Dubawi); she is trained by Markus Klug, who continues to fire on all fronts. Dermot Weld, trainer of the runner-up was satisfied but the Moyglare Stud filly would obviously have preferred more cut. However, to be frank, neither of these races were strongly contested for the grade.

Andreas Wöhler had two winners at Mülheim on Saturday, while Peter Schiergen had a winner there and the following day another one at Munich. Both of his winners looked highly interesting; at Mülheim, Wild Man (Mastercraftsman) won his maiden in very promising style; that was over 2100 metres and he looks certain to stay the full Derby distance. Bred by Brümmerhof, he cost 50,000 euros as a BBAG yearling and could well be a bargain as he is from the celebrated Ravensberg “W” family and can be expected to show further improvement. Schiergen´s Munich winner was Stall Nizza´s homebred filly Nachtrose (Australia), who just held on in a tight finish; her dam Night of Magic (Peintre Celebre) won the Italian Oaks, and that race could well be the next target for her daughter.

Klug, Wöhler and Schiergen were all in Munich, and so was Henk Grewe, another trainer now hitting top form. He sent out what was arguably the easiest maiden winner of the weekend, Darius Racing´s Zandjan (Counterattack) who made all to win over 1400 metres in excellent style. He was bred by Gestüt Karlshof and was a 61,000 euros BBAG yearling. That was only his second career start and he seems certain to shine in much better company before long. He is in the German 2,000 Guineas, but the mile could well be his maximum distance, and he might end up as a sprinter. Better was still to come for Henk Grewe and Gestüt Karlshof when See Hector won the Italian 2,000 Guineas later in the afternoon, with Schiergen´s Fire Of The Sun (Areion) runner-up; the two German runners 1-2 in a field of 19! See Hector was bred by Karlshof and is the first group race winner for Counterattack, who stands at Karlshof; he has already had several winners from his first European crop. Counterattack (Redoute´s Choice) was a leading sprinter in Australia and his arrival in Germany could well be a boon. Zandjan incidentally is a half-brother to Zargun (Rock of Gibraltar), a listed winner and group-placed over sprint distances in Germany; he has now been sold to the U.K. and last year won the Catterick Dash over five furlongs! German-breds are not noted for such speed, but Zandjan looks an intriguing prospect.

This weekend s racing Germany looks less exciting than the one we have just had. Main event is the Group Three Schwarzgold-Rennen at Cologne, a trial for the German 1,000 Guineas. Nine have been declared, including a supplemented runner trained by Fabrice Chappet in France. Markus Klug has three runners entered, and Schiergen and Grewe one each. The race looks wide open, and we shall report on this next week, as well as previewing Hoppegarten´s Irish Race Day, when several foreign runners can be expected to run.

David Conolly-Smith

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