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The English page - Wonderful Moon back to wonderful form

Wonderful Moon, Andrasch Starke on board. www.galoppfoto.de


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 642 vom Freitag, 30.10.2020

Last Sunday´s Hanover meeting, with 12 races including four black type events, went off very well and the most impressive performance of the day came in the best race, a Group Three over 2000 metres which had been transferred from Baden-Baden. Wonderful Moon (Sea The Moon) started as even money favourite and made all the running to win with ears pricked by a long-looking four lengths margin from Dato (Mount Nelson) and Enjoy The Moon (Sea the Moon). It was not the strongest group race but Wonderful Moon could hardly have won more easily and certainly outclassed this opposition.

Bred by Gestüt Görlsdorf, who also raced his sire, Wonderful Moon was a 55,000 euros BBAG yearling and is trained in Cologne by Henk Grewe. He was Germany´s top-rated juvenile last season after an equally impressive victory in the Herzog von Ratibor-Rennen and started off 2020 with convincing wins in the two main Derby trials, the Cologne Classic and the Union-Rennen and was carrying a 2 kilos penalty here for that Group Two success, which clearly did not bother him in the slightest. He started favourite for the Deutsches Derby in July and came with a very promising run in the straight which however petered out in the final furlong, giving the strong impression that 2400 metres was too far for him. However it is possible that he will have another try at that trip, as Munich´s Group One Grosser Preis von Bayern next week seems to be the only feasible race left for him this year. He would meet much stronger opposition there, including horses that finished in front of him in the Derby (a race whose form now looks very strong), so he has a bit to prove, but Hanover showed that he is in any case back to his best and the handicapper has kept him at GAG 96 (international 112), which equals his best rating from earlier. His owners, Stall Wasserfreunde, a group of four well-known characters in German racing, say that he is not for sale, although many tempting offers have been made for him, and he is to stay in training next year.

Most of the races at Hanover were sponsored by leading German studs, and the second group race, the Grosser Preis der Mehl-Mülhens-Stiftung (Gestüt Röttgen), was for fillies and mares only and over the distance of 2200 metres. Black type races for fillies always attract plenty of runners and eleven lined up here, nine of them 3yo´s, including three foreign raiders. Henk Grewe once again had the hot favourite in Sunny Queen (Camelot), twice a listed winner here, and she also looked like winning when launching a persistent challenge to the front-runner, French-trained Lucky Lycra (Olympic Glory), who had led right from the off. But the latter kept on stoutly and Sunny Queen just could not get by, finally going under by a short head. Lucky Lycra had been running over longer distances in France, and possibly it was her stamina that won the day. The 4yo is owned by Al Shaqab Racing and trained by Francois Rohaut.

Of the two listed races, one was for 2yo fillies and the other for 3yo´s and up over 1400 metres. Jaber Abdullah´s Majestic Colt (Clodovil) was the even money favourite for the latter race, and he did not let his supporters down, coming with a strong and well-timed run up the stands rail to lead 100 yards out and hold on by a neck from old rival Sugar Daddy (Areion). Majestic Colt was conceding weight all round and this was a decent performance; the 5yo is most consistent and has never yet been out of the first three. He loves Hanover, where his form figures are 12111. He also has good form over six furlongs, but this distance appears ideal. He is a real credit to his trainer Andreas Wöhler, forced to watch the race from his hotel room in Sydney, where he has been confined for the past fortnight, while preparing his good stayer Ashrun (Authorited) for a run in the Lexus Stakes on Saturday, and then, if all goes well, in the Melbourne Cup next Tuesday.

Wöhler and his stable jockey Bauyrzhan Murzabeyev had earlier won the mile maiden for 2yo fillies with the well-bred Sea Shepherd (Sea The Stars) who won comfortably by  2 ¼ lengths after leading early in the straight. She was still a maiden going into the race, as she had finished fourth on her only previous start, but that had been in quite a strong maiden at Baden-Baden and she showed the necessary improvement here. Sea Shepherd was a 190,000 euros BBAG yearling and is from a top Wittekindshof family. She looks a great prospect for next season and is entered in the 2021 Preis der Diana (Oaks). However so is the runner-up, the Görlsdorf homebred Sophie Katharina (Sea the Moon), who made an eye-catching debut, finishing very strongly indeed, and she looks to be certain to show great improvement when racing over longer distances.

Another eye-catching runner-up was Nottingham (Excelebration) in the listed Sea The Moon-Rennen  over 1400 metres for 2yo fillies, who finished fastest of all and would probably have win in a few more strides. However she was just too late to catch the Irish-bred winner Belcarra (Estidhkaar), who appropriately enough is trained by Markus Klug, who also trained Sea The Moon to win the German Derby. Belcarra was a 14,500 guineas purchase at the Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up Sale last year and it would appear, both on pedigree and on the way she won here, that she will be best at distances up to a mile.

The racing this weekend is centred on Hoppegarten´s Sunday meeting, where the main event is the Group Two Comer Group International 49th Oleander-Rennen over two miles, Germany´s top staying race, which is normally run in May. Luke Comer himself, whose European HQ for his building and property empire is situated in Berlin, won the race last year with 32-1 outsider Raa Atoll (Sea The Stars), whom he trained himself. Obviously that success has given him a taste for the race, as he this time saddles no fewer than five runners, all of them running in his own colours. The form is difficult to decipher, one of them Hollow Sound (Beat Hollow) has won a bumper but has never yet raced in a normal flat race. Possibly Aircraft Carrier (Declaration of War), to be partnered by Andrasch Starke, is the best of them; he was runner-up last time in the Irish Cesarewitch;  Questionare (Galileo) also ran in that race, but was well back, is however slightly better off at the weights. Josef Bojko, who rode Raa Atoll last year, has been booked for Cypress Creek (Galileo), previously trained by Aidan O´Brien, who also has a definite chance, while Andreas Helfenbein rides the 3yo He Knows No Fear (Mourayan), whose place in the history books is secure after he won a Leopoldstown race in August at odds of 300-1, and became the longest-priced winner ever in British and Irish racing history.

Best of the six German-trained runners is Quian (Mastercraftsman), winner last time out of the German St. Leger and on overall form currently the best stayer in Germany.  However the 2017 German Derby winner Windstoss (Shirocco) would be a big danger if anywhere near back to that form, while the enigmatic filly Apadanah (Holy Roman Emperor) would also have a good chance of she gets off to a level start.

David Conolly-Smith

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