THE DEUTSCHES DERBY PREVIEW. This is what I wrote before the Derby last year !!!!
The Deutsches Derby is the one that I look forward to most of all the ”Derbys”. The timing of the race is perfect for the late maturing German breds. The German horses are now sought the world over by owners and breeding farms alike due to the stamina that is built in to the breed by successive good management practices by astute Studs and their forward thinking owners.
It is a little known fact outside of Germany itself that not any ”stallion” can stand at stud there. A potential stallion cannot have a wind problem or have bled or have anymore abnormalities that he might pass on to the breed and while of course it does not work all the time you will find that their progeny are a lot sounder than other countries who will gladly stand a stallion on a commercial basis to the detriment of soundness and while the German breds might be a little bit slower than their ”flashier” cousins to be found around the rest of the world due to their historical under usage of the ”Northern Dancer” cross, they are far more durable. It is also worth noting that they [ the German breeders] have been selectively introducing some of the aforementioned N D line into their breed and the result is the horses are now getting faster and when you add this to their durability and toughness you are getting close to the perfect mix.
I will now give a brief assessment of the 18 runners that have been left in at the forfeit stage for this year’s renewal of The Duetsches Derby. The late withdrawals of Orsello and more importantly Protectionist, has robbed the race of a little bit of quality but it is still a mouthwatering contest.
Nicolosia : Made his debut in France early in the year finishing second at Ariens. He followed that up with filling the same position at Chateaubriant before making his German debut on the 20th of May on good going at Hanover in a Listed event and ran out a very impressive winner by seven lengths from the ex Irish Probably. He looked smart there and this strong looking son of Peintre Celebre should run well. However he will have to improve significantly again to win this high class race and his inexperience will be tested to the full in this big field and in what is always a very rough race. He has a rounded action and hits the ground quiet hard so soft ground would not hinder him. He has place prospects at best.
Lucky Speed : Won a newcomers event on the first of April this season at Cologne over nine furlongs on soft beating a filly who subsequently showed smart form. Three weeks later in a Group Three over ten furlongs at Franfurt on soft ground he was rather unlucky as the winner ,Vif Monsieur who re-opposes here, got first run on him and he was beaten by two and a half lengths. I put the loss down to inexperience more than anything. Nearly a month later on the 26th May, he won the big Group Three Bavarian Classic Derby Trial at Munich on soft to heavy going and he showed a remarkable turn of foot in the atrocious conditions to pass seven horses in the last furlong to get up and win. He should further enjoy the additional distance of today’s race and he is bred to get it with his strong German pedigree. He has a big chance.
Empoli : He is bringing decent credentials into this coming off his second to the top class Ivanhowe in the main trial, the Union Rennen. Has only raced this year and his only poor run was in another trial, this time it was the Listed Iffezheimer version at Baden Baden on the 11th of May. He had a valid excuse though. They simply crawled around the track and then he met trouble on the turn in and this run is best ignored. Strip that defeat out of his record and he has won two and being beaten by a potential champion in the other. Not bad at all. However I do have a reservation about his awkward head carriage and he might have trouble manoeuvring in this big field. I am going to pass him over.
Probably : Ex Aidan O’Brien he is now handled in Norway. He ran six times in Ireland winning twice including a Group Two over 6 furlongs. He finished a one paced third of four to Battle Of Marengo on his final run for O’Brien. He made his German debut in a Listed race at Hanover but was well beaten by seven lengths into second by Nicolosia on debut. This was a fair start for his new trainer but he looks outclassed.
Samos : Another lightly raced animal. He finished a very creditable sixth to Lucky Speed in the Bavarian Classic beaten about four lengths. He had won on his debut at Strasbourg in April and followed that up with a second in a conditions event at Longchamp. Those were very good runs and he is entitled to respect but his limitations were exposed in the Bavarian Classic and is unlikely to be good enough to take this .
Tres Blue : This two time winner in France is fancied by some but not by me.
See The Rock : Likeable sort but he was readily brushed aside by the unfortunate Protectionist in the final Derby trial at Bremen on the 23rd of June. I just cannot see him winning.
Schulz : Genuine animal who has gigged twice for this by running a close third in the Iffezheimer [ ahead of Protectionist] and a well beaten fourth to Ivanhowe in the Rennen.Likely to give his running but also destined to be slightly outclassed. Might ultimately prove best over ten furlongs.
Global Bang : An honest type, he was a well beaten second to Chopin at Krefield in April before a much improved flying late burst to finish a close runner up in the German 2000 Guineas. That form though falls a long way short of what is needed to lift this great race and I simply cannot see him being victorious.
Limario : Seemed to improve when second to Protectionist the last day but I will be reviewing my future in this game if he manages to triumph here. He will win more races but not the Derby.
Vif Monsieur : Bombed out the last day and I wonder did anything come to light to explain why ? My theory is that he conforms to the ”rest pattern”.My friend and colleague the great Nick Mordin has written extensively about this condition and basically it means that a horse can take his first two starts of the season but then needs a break of 42 days plus in order to run to his best again. Typically, the rest might be needed to cure an internal burst [ blood vessel] or a wind problem or just basically a horse might run so hard that he needs that amount of rest to recover from his exertions. I believe Vif Monsieur is such a horse and in his case he can only take one run before he needs a break. The big son of Doyen ran very well on his 2 year old debut over an inadequate seven furlongs last season and he reappeared two and a half months later to win his maiden. He came out this year in April to win a Group Three at Frankfurt from the very smart Lucky Speed. Then, as I say, he bombed in the Bavarian Classic just 28 days later. I think he can well outrun his likely big odds off the magic 42 day break in this.
Quinzieme Monarque : Owned by Irishman John Michael B O’Connor this ex American trained horse made his German debut just a few weeks ago in the Rennen against Ivanhowe and did well to finish fifth. He had been well beaten in all of his USA starts . He just has too much ground to make up and looks outclassed.
Flamingo Star : Unusual in the context of this year’s race anyway insofar as he ran four times as a juvenile. Very poor run on reappearance when last in Vif Monsieur’s race in Group Three at Frankfurt. He bounced back to form when nearly stealing the Bavarian Classic from the front. He only succumbed to the whirlwind finish of Lucky Speed who nailed him close home. Flamingo Star showed improved form there and he might be a ”need to lead” horse. He went a ferocious early gallop and kept it going all the way on the heavy going. I imagine he will have no trouble with the step up in trip but is unlikely to have it his own way up front. It is hard to see him lasting home.
Noble Galileo : Won his maiden on debut at two. Placed in Listed and Group Three company behind some of these before being hammered by Ivanhowe in the Rennen.
Bermuda Reef : This is a four times raced maiden son of the great Borgia who herself won this particular race back in 1997. His lack of a win is slightly misleading as he has run some fine races in defeat against most of this opposition. He has been staying on in the Bavarian Classic and in his last run behind Protectionist. He should comfortably turn the tables on Limario and See The Rock from that race and could also reverse placings with Lucky Speed and Flamingo Star from the Bav Classic. He looks like a big baby who is only learning how to race and the extra distance should suit his one paced big pounding action. If it did come up soft I can see him running big.
Nordvulkan : Will be winning more small field races but not here.
Saratino : Outclassed when upped in grade and will struggle again.
Erlkonig : One paced and looks up against it.
IVANHOWE : I have made no secret at all about how highly I rate this son of Soldier Hollow. Like this year’s champion 3 y old filly, Sky Lantern and Derby winner Trading Leather whom I bid for unsuccessfully on behalf of two clients after they ran huge speed figures on our scale last year , I am afraid I can now add IVANHOWE to that failed list . I made an attempt to secure him after the Union Rennen but we did not have enough money and in any case they did not want to sell. I can see why. I have not gone into the speed figures of the rest of the runners in the preview because IVANHOWE swamps them all. I see where Nick Mordin gives him a huge number also, mine is 43. This monster of a horse [ nearly 17hh] made his debut at Dusseldorf last October on heavy ground and running green he failed to pick up the front runner Stellato.That runner has not franked the form. IVANHOWE reappeared on May 20th this year at Cologne over 1m 3f and won without coming off the bridle, as one would expect.One small note of caution was that he did find trouble in a six runner field. He came of age in Germany’s premier Classic Trial, the famous Group Two Union Rennen again over 1m3f at Cologne. He showed a devastating turn of foot on good ground to win easily. His jockey only flicked him once on the shoulder to teach him to race. He beat the best around, and some ,like Nuntias , had big reputations. He sprinted the last 600 metres in an amazing 33.16 seconds to come from third last and four lengths off the leaders to power home and win by two and a half. This was a world class burst of acceleration and he was not fully extended.
Summary. IVANHOWE looks to have a big gap on this field on my ratings. One could argue that he found trouble in running on his first run this year and that the giant field here could cause him some traffic problems. Also, you could venture that he might ”bounce” off his massive speed figure from the Rennen. Another reason to try and oppose him is the racetrack itself. Hamburg has poor drainage and the surface can change dramatically in a dry spell or much likelier after heavy rain. There is always a strip that is safer and quicker. The key is to find it and unfortunately the ground will have been raced on earlier. In reality though, all the above potential factors are clutching at straws in an attempt to try and get him beaten and this high class horse should deliver before going on to prove himself a champion. I confidently expect him to win . He is currently priced at 2/1. I am having a 3 points win at that and will punt him later again if he is a bigger price. Lucky Speed 8/1 and Bermuda Reef 49/1 could be the ones to chase him home.
Bernard Cullinane, Fourmileracing.