With their best day of the year today, I have written a preview for the German Derby and the lead up races to the feature. I work, write and commentate for German Racing Review, who provide an excellent service on German Racing and I recommend you check them out! http://germanracingreview.com/index.php.
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Race 1 – Preis der Generali Versicherung AG Handicap –
For 3 year olds and upwards | Distance: 7f210y | Purse: 13,500 EUR
EL TREN has only had three starts and won two of them, including on her debut. She’s 6/5 in the market and clearly no longer a backable price, despite looking the most progressive member of the field. LIPS DANCER is top-weight but is seeking his hatrick here and deserves to be second favourite. However, can he give the massive 1 stone 8 pounds to EL TREN? I doubt it.
Instead I look towards one of the outsiders ROCK OF CASHEL who has been struggling in Group events his last two starts. He, unsurprisingly, finished down the field both times, but dropping back to a much more suitable level here is eye-catching. His maiden win at Leipzig last year was impressive, winning by 8L for Roland Dzubasz. He’s changed hands since and this begins to explain his big price, but the return of the winning jockey that day, the very capable Alexander Pietsch is another thing to catch the eye. They put into place forcing tactics there and, given his pedigree, stretching the field could bring him back into the winner’s enclosure.
Advice: Rock Of Cashel 11/1 e/w
Race 2 – Hanshin-Cup – Handicap
For 3 year olds and upwards | Distance: 7f210y | Purse: 22,500 EUR
I’ve been a fan of the favourite ROYAL FOX for over a year now, having commentated on him for German Racing Review. As Adam teases, he is one of the many horses in Germany who has won by six lengths or more! He was back to form last time out in a minor event, beating SIR OSCAR. ROYAL FOX was cantering all over SIR OSCAR last time out before seemingly not enjoying his time in front, winning by less than a length. However he still looked to have the measure and they’re off the same weight today. The shrewd yard should have him ready to back it up here on the big day. At 6/4, I couldn’t put you off.
The only serious challenger I can see to him is KOFFI ANGEL who won a Listed affair at the end of last year and has been running in Listed events this year. This year he’s cut little ice, but the drop in grade here could spark a much needed revival. Furthermore, he does appear a little one-paced, and his listed success came on soft ground, so the rain that has come is only to his advantage.
Advice: Royal Fox 6/4, Koffi Angel 7/1
Race 5 – BBAG Meiler Auktionsrennen – Auction Race
For 3 year olds | Distance: 7f210y | Purse: 52,000 EUR
MARUNAS deserves favouritism having won on debut and been beaten a length by the already Group-placed Simba next time out (beaten by more experienced 5yo). On both of his starts, he has held second favourite FABIO by at least ½ L. Already winners have began come out of that good sales race won by SIMBA so it’s not difficult to see him following up here.
For the places I’m very interested in SOVALLA who broke her maiden tag in very impressive fashion at Baden-Baden last time. She had struggled when set some tough tasks as a 2yo and on her seasonal return she beat DIME DANCER by a bigger margin that SIMBA did on seasonal return (beaten a head by Simba, beaten ¾ L by Sovalla). I’m not suggesting we take this race on face value, but the impressive fashion in which SOVALLA won promises much more, and at her very tempting price I’m happy to take the favourite on. NEW WORLD will appreciate return to this trip after lesser effort last time out.
Advice: Sovalla 7/1
Race 6 – Hamburg-Trophy – POSTPONED FROM SATURDAY – Group 3 (A)
For 3 year olds and upwards | Distance: 1m1f207y | Purse: 55,000 EUR
Decent Group 3 this and it’s great to see the old seven year old NEATICO fighting on once again. He’s certainly still capable on his day and last year it took him three starts to win, even if the rain wouldn’t be in his favour. This distance looks perfect for him nowadays and he’s beat a whole host of these in years go by.
PETIT CHEVALIER, who lowered the colours of Cirrus des Aigles during his poor early season in 2013, is another of the old guard to step up to the plate. He was put in his place last time however by re-opposing BERMUDA REEF and would need a significant reversal there. Nevertheless, the juice in the ground will not be a problem for him and he’s not one to discount.
The young guns of BERMUDA REEF and MAJESTIC JASMINE have both won their last starts, but this is another step up for both of them and they have still have it all the prove. BELANGO is typically consistent and I’d suggest backing him for a place.
Advice: Watch it! No odds available at present.
Race 7 – BBAG Steher Auktionrennen – Auction Race (C)
For 3 year olds | Distance: 1m2f206y | Purse: 52,000 EUR
The favourite, NOTRE SAME, is really surprising. Having only had the one start, albeit it for good connections, it’s going to be a massive step up for him here. That maiden hasn’t produced any stars as of yet so unless there’s a huge stable gamble I’m completely missing, I’m at odds to why his odds are so short. A more obvious second starter for me would be FLAMINGO ROSE, who was beaten by Novellist’s half-sister NINFEA last time out. NINFEA has raced twice, winning that race and being beaten by none other than SEA THE MOON on debut.
GINA’S DREAM, who also gets the full weight allowance like FLAMINGO ROSE, was very impressive on her debut against the colts and is clearly held in high regard. She did perhaps benefit from the front two taking each other on, but all but one other in the field had had previous experience and her professionalism was very taking, sprinting for home to gun down her experienced rivals including FIRE STORM, who she’s another 1kg better off with today.
SPRINGBOK FLYER is the most solid player of the field but his consistency has been rewarded with heaps of weight, only second to FIRE STORM who was second in the Swiss Derby last time out. Both of these should run their races if the unexposed three (FLAMINGO ROSE, GINA’S DREAM and NOTRE SAME) fail to be above average. I believe GINA’S DREAM could be.
Advice: Gina’s Dream 6/1
Race 8 – 145. Deutsches Derby – Group 1 (A)
For 3 year olds | Distance: 1m3f205y | Purse: 650,000 EUR
Excellent renewal this, with twenty runners all – statistically – in with a chance. No favourite has won this, at times brutal, race since Schiaparelli in 2006. At this time I’ll direct you to German Racing Review’s comprehensive preview with factfiles on the main contenders.
The three my pin has landed on are LUCKY LION, MAGIC ARTIST and RUSSIAN BOLERO.
LUCKY LION this year has been empathic on his journey from maiden to 2000 Guineas, progressing quickly and impressing on each start. The way he travels through his races and quickens clear, it’s difficult not to be taken by him. He even had trouble on the way to the start in the 2000 Guineas but still came home in front. He deserves his chance – coming into the race unbeaten – but has a lesser reputation than the Markus Klug-trained counterpart Sea The Moon and the market reflects that. Nevertheless, the question of his stamina has eked into everyone’s mind-set. The lack of any sufficient proof that he stays in his pedigree is a question only the horse can answer on Sunday; and the rain that has arrived will not help either. However, rain will not help a colt sired by SEA THE STARS, who’s progeny have appeared to be good ground dependent.
Many, until pricewise decided they’d have their say, had overlooked MAGIC ARTIST. If you want to still get 19/1, it is available with German firm Racebets.com, as most domestic firms have dropped to 12/1. He won the Bavarian Classic impressively last start and suggests this horse has not stopped progressing. He was beaten fair and square by SEA THE MOON two starts ago at Frankfurt by 2 ½ L but over the extended distance with his steady progression, 19/1 is very generous considering the prices of other contenders SEA THE MOON has swept aside, namely SWACADELIC 12/1.
My third and final selection is the lively outsider RUSSIAN BOLERO. Looking through the card on Thursday night, the maiden stood out at me as a bit overpriced at 74/1 on Racebets.com. Since, he’s been cut down to 50/1 with that firm but remains 80/1 with Paddy Power. This consistent horse hasn’t suggested he’s a superstar but hasn’t been out of the places on all four of his starts, latest when narrowly denied by AMAZONIT two weeks ago. Interestingly, his full brother RUSSIAN TANGO finished fourth (placed third) in the 2010 Deutsches Derby. He’s not an 80/1 shot for me.
Advice: Lucky Lion 9/1, Magic Artist 19/1 (e/w) & Russian Bolero 80/1 (e/w – Paddy Power)