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International Classifications

Noble Moon (Andrasch Starke), the only listed German 2yo. www.galoppfoto.de - Sandra Scherning


Daniel Delius


Ausgabe 552 vom Freitag, 25.01.2019

The International Classifications were published this week and from the German point of view they do not make very positive reading, as very few German-trained horses made it into the listings. A quick perusal of the lists however make clear that British and Irish runners now totally dominate European racing, and it was a very poor season indeed for French-trained horses, while the Italians seem to have dropped off the radar altogether. It is also quite striking how strongly horses trained in the USA, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan figure.

The 6yo Australian “mare beyond compare” Winx (Street Cry) and the 4yo Newmarket-trained Cracksman (Frankel) share top spot with a rating of 130. The ages here refer to the 2018 racing season, and of course all Northern Hemisphere thoroughbreds are now a year older. This makes Winx, who has won her last 29 races, with her sex allowance the best horse in the world. She is next due to run in 3 weeks´ time, but is only expected to run a few more times before retirement, and probably only in Australia, which is a pity. We shall certainly not experience Cracksman again as the outstanding 10 furlong performer, so brilliantly handled by John Gosden, has been retired and stands at Dalham Hall for a 2019 fee of 20,000 GBP.

John Gosden had a fantastic 2018 and was also responsible for the top European 2yo Too Darn Hot  (Dubawi), for the world´s top 3yo Roaring Lion (Kitten´s Joy), also now retired, and the top stayer Stradivarius (Sea The Stars); Too Darn Hot (we recommend the Ella Fitzgerald version of the Cole Porter classic) was top of his list by a margin of 5 pounds, the best juvenile filly was probably the US-trained filly Newspaperofrecord (Lope de Vega), although the classifications published this week only rate European-trained 2yo´s. There were 44 European-trained 2yo´s rated 110 or higher, with 20 trained in both the U.K. and Ireland, and astonishingly only 3 trained in France. There is one German 2yo listed, Eckhard Sauren´ s homebred Noble Moon (Sea The Moon), winner of Cologne´s Preis des Winterfavoriten.

Top-rated German performers in 2018 were Dschingis Secret (Soldier Hollow) and Iquitos (Adlerflug), both rated 118 and both now retired to stud. The rating for Iquitos is a bit disappointing, as the German handicapper had him on 120 after his easy win from Defoe (officially rated 117) and Dee Ex Bee (118) in the Grosser Preis von Bayern. Torcedor (Fastnet Rock) is also rated 118, but his only German race so far for his new trainer Andreas Wöhler was very much a damp squib. Wöhler also trains Va Bank (Archipenko), the Preis der Deutschen Einheit and Premio Roma winner who is rated 115.

It was a disappointing year for German 3yo´s and only two are rated, the classic winners Ancient Spirit (Invincible Spirit), who has since been sold to Australia, and Weltstar (Soldier Hollow), both on 115, the lowest rating to be included in the list for 3yo´s and older horses. Weltstar was injured after his Derby victory but is back in training and it must be hoped that he can improve his rating this year, but as it currently stands, the form of the 2018 Deutsches Derby does not look very strong and in fact several of last year´s leading German 3yo´s have been sold to go hurdling in the U.K. and Ireland.

Several horses with strong German connections are highly rated. Waldgeist (Galileo), who is staying in training, is on 122; 75%-owned by Gestüt Ammerland and 25% by Newsells Park, he is a member of the Ravensberg “W” family and out of a Monsun mare. Pakistan Star (Shamardal), bred by Gestüt Wittekindshof  and a dual Group One winner in Hong Kong is on 120. Almandin (Monsun), bred by Gestüt Schlenderhan and a Group One winner in Australia is on 117, while the Karlshof-bred filly A Raving Beauty (Mastercraftsman), a Group One winner in the USA, is on 115.

The highest-rated horses to run in Germany were owned by Godolphin and trained by Saeed bin Suroor: Benbatl (Dubawi) won Munich´s Grosser Dallmayr-Preis and is rated 123, while Best Solution (Kodiac) won the Grosser Preis at Hoppegarten in August and followed up three weeks later at Baden-Baden and is on 121. Both later won Group One races in Australia to confirm the form of these races, and Benbatl arguably did even better when running up to the great Winx in the Cox Plate, Australia´s top race.

The Prix de l`Arc de Triomphe was once again rated the best race in the world in 2018, based on the average rating of the first four to finish. This was despite the fact that the winner Enable (Nathaniel) was dropped from 128, after winning that race in 2017, to 125, a bit mean in the opinion of this writer. The Prix Ganay was the only other French race to feature prominently, once again due to the British raiders (and winner!). Of the top 11 races on this basis, no fewer than 4 were run in Australia (with Winx winning them all, which clearly pushed up the average), 2 in the U.K. and one each in the USA, Japan and Dubai. The German races figured quite well, with 3 in the top 100, the Dallmayr-Preis in 62th place, the Grosser Preis von Baden in 67th and the Grosser Preis von Bayern in 91st, but all these three high scores are due to the foreign runners.

The ratings make it clear that Newmarket is currently by far the most successful training centre in Europe, with John Gosden, the two Godolphin trainers Charlie Appleby and Saeed bin Suroor and William Haggas in particular responsible for a large number of highly-rated performers. Their runners, mainly Saeed´s, contributed a huge amount to the German season and we must hope that Brexit is not going to prevent them from coming this year with similar stars.

The official German handicap (GAG) will be published in the next few days and we shall have a look next week at the German 2yo´s of 2018 and their likely prospects for the coming season.

David Conolly-Smith

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