Tag Archives: Germany

Saturday Selections: 17th September 2022

10.45 Aqueduct: Group 3 Jockey Club Derby, 1m 4f

This is a rather poor Group 3 turf race even by US standards, which is the reason why two questionable stayers head the market.

Godolphin’s Nations Pride and Classic Causeway have met twice over shorter middle-distance trips as part of the Caesars Turf Triple Series this season, with an even split of victories.

Nations Pride, as a son of Teofilo, is odds-on and expected to stretch out over 12 furlongs after his recent excellent Saratoga Derby success.

On the ever turning Aqueduct inner turf track on firm ground there is a solid possibility he will do get the trip. He’s not unbeatable, though, his price (possibly) still driven by early season reputation when he was an English Derby contender.

I doubt Classic Causeway will find this race distance wise and tactically difficult. On the other hand the German raider Ardakan is probably underestimated here.

Obviously he won’t lack stamina. In fact he’ll relish going up in distance. He won the Derby Italiano over 1m 3f earlier this year where he showed a lot of guts, and then finished like a train in the German Derby.

Especially the Hamburg performance is noteworthy. This was a pretty good renewal but Ardakan had a troubled day. His wide draw didn’t do him any favours. As a consequence he had tons to do turning for home. I reckon, on another day Ardakan would have gone seriously close.

He was not disgraced when third in the Group 1 Großer Preis von Berlin subsequently. I though the race wasn’t quite ran to his liking, with a somewhat muddling pace. More aggressive tactics would have helped.

The firm ground is a concern today, given he has not encountered it before. In contrast some of his best performances came on much softer. On the other hand he did just fine on genuinely good ground. That’s gives hope.

I do hope Andrasch Starke will move forward, utilizing the stamina this son of Reliable Man clearly possesses, making this race a test of stamina, rather than one of speed.

If he does so, and possibly even can get first run hitting the home straight, Ardakan won’t be stopping anytime soon and could be difficult to get to for the rest in this field, as they stamina may run out.

Btw. this race is usually run at Belmont. Due to building works there this race, as others, have moved to Aqueduct. A few years ago I went there on a trip to New York. It was a cold December day. A bit of snow on the ground and in the air. Racing took place on the inner dirt track.

It was one of the bleakest days I’ve ever spent at a racetrack. Aqueduct is a massive place, but it was so sparsely attended on the day. It felt so empty, nearly ghost like – apart from a bustling Casino attached to the stand. It was a completely different sort of atmosphere to the usually much more colourful and interesting atmosphere encountered in the UK and Ireland.

10pts win – Ardakan @ 7/2

German Oaks 2022 Preview

There’s every chance a filly is the best horse in Germany’s classic generation this year. And that says something, given Derby hero Sammarco looks a special colt.

Nonetheless, it was the filly Wagnis who took on the colts in the Derby, who seriously caught my eye that day at Hamburg. With Holly Doyle in the saddle she was fancied in the betting but ultimately encountered the most horrible run from the widest draw in stall 20.

She had to race in rear of the field, which was no advantage at all, and had way too much to do turning for home. Just before the home straight entering the final bend Wagnis stumbled badly and nearly threw Holly Doyle off. The pair recovered, made rapid progress toward inside just to find no room to manouver over 1 furlong out.

Given the circumstances Wagnis confirmed the incredible promise she showed weeks earlier in the Group 3 Diane Trial at Hoppegarten. Then she produced a serious turn of foot to win in style, leaving some solid opposition behind.

It was this dazzling performance so that made connections believe she is good enough to take on the boys in the Derby.

Wagnis is clearly a temperamental filly at the same time. Not an easy ride. She can mess up at the start. She can pull hard. She can find trouble.

That’s a real concern today, where we have with Nachtrose a highly talented and uncomplicated filly, who can go from the front and will stay all day and night.

Nachtrose was a fine winner of the Oaks d’Italia. That was only her third lifetime start, after getting off the mark in a maiden at Munich in April.

She is progressing rapidly and has formally the strongest winning form in this field, given the Italian Oaks are a Group 2. There’s every chance she can improve again. And if she does she may be hard to catch.

In addition Nachtrose has been handed a huge advantage with stall #3. She will get the run she wants, most likely prominent, tracking the pace, if not even attempting to make all.

I don’t rate Toy, Aiden O’Brien’s runner. She improved quite dramatically when a good runner-up in the Irish Derby. But it was a decimated field that day and she doesn’t possess the class some others in this field do.

Well Disposed was a fine winner of the Group 3 Mehl Mulhens-Trophy on the Derby card at Hamburg when last seen. She could improve again but was well beaten by Wagnis in the Diane Trial.

From the bigger prices I give Toscana Belle a solid each-way chance. She changed yards recently, after running on quite well n the Diane Trial. The additional furlong will suit today.

But it’s Wagnis I must go with. She is too big a price. She will need some luck, given most likely she will come from off the pace. I imagine there’ll be a good pace, which will suit, though. It’s a smaller field than at Hamburg, which is a positive too. I have no doubt she is the most talented filly in the race. Here’s hoping she can prove it today.

There is a livestream for Düsseldorf here.

10pts win – Wagnis @ 13/2

Sunday Selections: 31st July 2022

1.20 Munich: Group 1 Grosser Dallmayr-Preis, 1m 2f

Intriguing Group 1 action in Germany today as we see the return of Derby hero Sammarco.

As tight as the outcome of the Derby was, I always felt he was the best horse on the day. I am a huge fan of this son of Camelot and backed him to win at Hamburg.

The step up in trip was clearly in his favour, and I maintain that – if connections would go down the route – he could have a legitimate shot in an Arc this year.

Saying that, dropping in distance to 10 furlongs does the opposite to my excitement about Sammarco’s chances – at least today. This doesn’t look the deepest Group 1 and class may prevail, yet the drop in distance doesn’t do him any favours I reckon.

It makes perfect sense to get a Group 1 over 10 furlongs on board for a future stallion career. He probably find many better opportunities than this. Though, simply from a betting perspective I can’t back him today.

The French mare Ebaiyra is the favourite and quite a short price. She sets a very good standard thanks to her close 3rd place in the Dahlia Stakes back in May. She has tons of strong form in Group races to her name, although winning at the top level has eluded her so far.

Today looks an ideal opportunity to rectify this. The good to soft ground suits, the trip fine and she comes here in fine form after a recent Listed success at Chantilly that will put her spot on.

I still think she’s a little bit too short in the betting. Clearly a consistent mare, she’s no superstar and is potentially vulnerable to an improving sort.

The Andreas Schütz trained Dawn Intello is another well-seasoned performer at Group level. Consistent and solid are words to describe him. If the market principles falter he’ll be bang there, though he always looked a bit short of class to land a major one.

Last years fine Unio-Rennen winner Best Of Lips doesn’t appear to be quite the same horse this season. Rubaiyat may not quite stay 10 furlongs well enough against this strong level of opposition. Amazing Grace will only feature if they go a crazy pace.

Leaves Andreas’s Wöhler’s Queroyal, who fits the bill of a possible improver. The 3-year- old colt is still lightly raced and unexposed over ten furlongs. After a light juvenile campaign he won a 7.5f contest at Mülheim on seasonal reappearance before stepping up significantly in distance when landing the Derby-Trial at Baden-Baden in convincing fashion.

He kicked on as the field entered the home turn and never looked back, always holding, seemingly a shade cosily, the opposition. Connections were not surprised afterwards, saying they thought he’d be a smart prospect.

Although not the likeliest to stay the Derby trip, Queroyal was supplemented for the Hamburg Classic. He travelled strongly for a long time that day, but from a high draw he was forced to wide for the entirety of the race and travelled significantly farther than Sammarco, who had a perfect trip on the inside in contrast.

Queroyal flattened out in the final two furlongs, hanging badly in the home straight and eventually wandering around, clearly at the limit of his stamina. Nonetheless he was only 3 lengths beaten in the end.

The drop in trip is key today. Whether he is truly a Group 1 horse remains to be seen. The Derby-Trial form hasn’t worked out particularly well. But he looked a class above the opposition in any case and should be capable of improvement for his sixth career start and only second attempt over 10 furlongs. In my book he is significantly overpriced in this field.

A live stream for Munich can be found on Youtube.

10pts win – Queroyal @ 12/1

German Derby 2022 Preview

2.45 Hamburg: Group 1 German Derby, 1m 4f

The 2022 edition of the German Derby looks an excellent renewal on paper. As German horses have outran their odds on the international stage for a number of years, there is no secret in saying today could be a pointer towards a future Arc winner.

It’s even more exciting as smart filly Wagnis takes on the colts. She was a sensational winner of the Diane Trial over 10 furlongs at Hamburg four weeks ago. She has the assistance of Holly Doyle today. That shows clear intent as does the fact connections go for the Derby.

The way she won the Group 3 Diane Trial was seriously impressive. She produced a lovely turn of foot to come from the back of the field. She is bred to stay the Derby trip and will be a big runner, if she can get a run.

Drawn in #20 is a huge issue at the tight, turning Hamburg course, though. She will have to come from a long way back and that is a tough assignment.

Talking intent, perhaps even more so represents the booking Frankie Dettori. Schlenderhan has been confident So Moonstruck is the real deal for a while and having the big race jockey in the saddle can only be a positive.

He’s drawn in #10. That’s a workable gate, with So Moonstruck expected to go forward. He’ll be in a good position turning for home and is likely to improve from his recent runner-up effort in the Derby Trial at Cologne, should get the trip and should enjoy the decent ground.

The son of former German Derby winner Sea The Moon has been beaten twice this season already, though, albeit on softish ground. He’s one for the shortlist but I struggle to see why he’s the favourite, personally.

Slightly under the radar flies Bavarian Classic winner Lavello. He won handsomely at Munich and was a good third in the Group 2 Prix Hocquart at Longchamp back in May.

He is another one you would think will improve for the trip as a son of Zarak and out of a Montjou mare, plus possibly will enjoy the better ground as well. He’s got a good draw and looks overpriced.

Ardakan is a multiple Group winner already. He landed the Derby Italiano when last seen in May. He showed serious guts and just got there in the nick of time over the 11 furlongs contest.

He is all stamina, not unusual for a German horse, and will love the additional furlong today. Drawn wide isn’t ideal but expect him to close down the leaders coming with a late charge.

Assistent from gate #1 is a compelling each-way shot with Cieren Fallon in the saddle. A listed winner at Hannover over 12 furlongs, he’s is sure to appreciate the trip and has proven to act on decent ground.

Richard Kingscote makes the trip to Hamburg to ride German 1.000 Guineas runner-up Mylady. She has a good draw but may struggle to see out the Derby distance.

The only German female jockey Sybille Vogt in the Derby sits on a live chance with recent Listed winner Nerik, a son of Epsom Derby winner Ruler Of The World, also bred to get the trip and with untapped potential.

German top jockey Eddie Pedroza has the ride on Queroyal, a winner of a Derby Trial at Baden. 10 furlongs may be more his trip, but he can’t be underestimated if he stays.

That brings me to the one I fancied for a while for the German Derby: Sammarco. This lightly raced son of Camelot was learning on the job in all his three lifetime runs. He looked raw and green but improving all the time.

Only one start as a juvenile, he won over 7.5 furlongs. He made his three-year-old debut in the hot Bavarian Classic when things didn’t go his way. He caught the eye with an impressive late finish as a runner-up behind Lavello.

Next stop was the Derby Trial at Munich. he battled it out with So Moonstruck, who got first run. Sammarco found plenty and seemed to relish the fight in the closing stages to win by a head.

He clearly is progressive, has tons of untapped potential, will stay the trip, can go forward from his low draw to be right where you want to be at Hamburg when turning for home and looks potentially the real deal.

This 2022 edition of the German Derby is clearly a highly competitive one. Nonetheless, Sammarco is the one I am siding with at a bigger price than I would have anticipated today.

10pts win – Sammarco @ 11/2

A Windstoss sweeping past Cracksman?

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3.10 Epsom: Coronation Stakes, 1m 4f

Cracksman was incredibly impressive in the Prix Ganay last month, following on from his very strong three-year old campaign, winning three on the trot in the latter part of 2017.

The son of Frankel is near to impossible to oppose in the Coronation Stakes on all evidence available. With softish ground conditions likely to be encountered by the 6 runners, and Cracksman being at least eight pounds clear on official ratings, one could assume he has the race in the bag.

He probably has. That says, if you want to be negative, Epsom may not be the perfect track for him to show his best. Yes, he won here and finished 3rd in the Derby. On the other hand he should have won the Derby last year, actually, given he turned out by far the best horse of the race. Also simply the way he travells may not be best suited to the quirks of Epsom.

That’s nitpicking, of course. Cracksman is going to win. But – and that is a big but – if for whatever reason he can not quite put his best foot forward there is at least one compelling choice in the race representing tremendous value in my book.

Let’s first deal with the rest of the field: I’m a fan of Hawkbill, however am firmly of the belief he needs a flat, fast track to be at his very best. He’s vulnerable at Epsom. Idaho is a very good horse without being top class. He’ll give his running, though whether conditions are totally what he likes is questionable.

Yukatan is an interesting one. Still generally lightly raced. He can turn out to be a better four-year old simply needing time and experience. Nonetheless, without having shown quite enough in two starts this season as well as never having raced beyond 10 furlongs he’s one to oppose is my belief.

In saying that, as easily as I discount the chances of mentioned individuals above you can also make good cases for each of them running close to challenge Chracksman and finish at least second.

Now, I am eyeing a big price that is not totally without a chance to chase home Cracksman for victory but who certainly has a cracking chance to finish second hence pays some handsome each-way money. Usually, this isn’t quite my cup of tea.

Yet, without being patriotic, I absolutely do love Marcus Kluge’s Windstoss! The four-year old won the German Derby as well one of Germany’s most prestigious Group 1 prices, the Preis von Europa, pretty much under hands and heels. Things didn’t go his way in either race, yet he found a way to get up, producing stunning turn of foots.

Those two forms are certainly below some of the other top performances produced by Cracksman, Hawkbill and Co., nonetheless, the way he did it is what counts in my mind.

Windstoss is expected to be an even better four-year old…. if that is possible. He had a fair seasonal reappearance in the Gerling Preis: one lengths beaten under a Group 1 penalty and likely short of full fitness.

The Coronation Stakes was the intended early season target all way long. So, thanks to an uninterrupted preparation, good prep run and softish conditions sure to suit, this multiple Group 1 winner must be taken into serious consideration.

The betting market doesn’t reflect that at all. That’s wrong. it may turn out he doesn’t like Epsom or isn’t quite good enough in the end. At this point in time I have to say, though, 33/1 is a massive price.

Selection:
5pts Each/Way – Windstoss @ 33/1 PP

Graasten can shock in German Derby

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4.10 Hamburg: Deutsches Derby (Group 1), 1m4f

Without Karpino and Quasillo the German Derby has lost its main attractions. Which makes it now quite an intriguing affair. Shimrano is a fair favourite nonetheless. He has the form in the book. His win in the Oppenheimer-Union-Rennen is the best trial form on offer. From a betting perspective he makes zero appeal though. 2/1 in a big field with many unkown quantities….

I’ll be going with a massive price – Graasten. He was well beaten behind Shimrano at Collogne, however didn’t quite get the run of the race in home straight and was staying one late. He clearly would appreciate an additional furlong and won’t mind the Derby trip at all.

Fitted with blinkers for the first time today, it may help this very raw and green colt to keep his focus better than he has  in done all of his career starts. He’s often sluggish at the start, but has been best when ridden from the front. He enjoys a good draw today, so with the blinkers fitted, one would hope he is much sharper and is going to be well positioned.

This son of Sholokhov is a relentless galloper, big and scopey build, he could be hard to pass over the Derby trip once he is in front. Of course only if he has the class as well. He has to improve dramatically on what he has shown so far. But he has a chance to do so in my mind – a better one than his massive price tag.

Graasten @ 66/1 Coral – 5pts Win

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4.10 Ayr: Handicap (Class 3), 1m

Wide open race, not many appear well handicapped, although Pintura might well be, judged on his former best. He is down to a lowly mark off 89 now – that might well reflect his true potential now – but he seemed to regain something of his best when a fair third over course and distance here at Ayr back in May. He was a good runner-up that day coming of a long break.

I happily ignore his latest run at Haydock in unsuitable quick conditions. This today should suit rather well though. There is a bit of juice in the ground as he likes it and could be underestimated.

Main danger is obviously the lightly raced favourite Obsidian who could easily have still more to offer and should really close. However he’s a short enough price, while Pintura offers a bit of value.

Pintura @ 16/1 Stan James – 5pts Win