by Michael Hähn
One of the seven Group 1’s held in Germany each year, the Grosser Preis von Baden is the highlight of the final day of the five day Baden-Baden festival. Running for the 148th time, the 2400m (12 furlong) race has been a Group 1 since 1972 and like most races this season has seen a reduction in prize money but is still a very respectable 175,000 euros down from €250,000.
Staged at Iffezheim Racecourse in Baden-Baden the home of so many of Germany’s premier races the Grosser Preis von Baden is arguably the best of the bunch, think of it as Germany’s equivalent of the Juddmonte International where the best of the classic generation get to take on the older horses, usually for the first time.
Probably the most famous of recent winners of the race was the wondermare Danedream who won this in 2011 before going on to Arc success and then followed up again in 2012. Last year saw another superstar emerge, as Ghaiyyath, now one of, if not the best in Europe after his Group 1 exploits this season demolished his rivals in this race by an ever widening 14-length success.
This years line-up
Eight runners are set to go to post in this years edition. The top class mare DONJAH reappears having ran an excellent race in defeat to finish 2nd behind Ghaiyyath 12 months ago. She comes here in the form of her life having claimed the Group 1 Preis von Europa last month where she had Barney Roy amonst others behind her. Two runners represent the Classic generation; KASPAR who finished behind Donjah last time and TORQUATOR TASSO the German Derby runner up. Brits have an excellent recent record in the race having won the last two renewals and have COMMUNIQUE and the popular BARNEY ROY who will be aiming to make it a third win in a row for Godolphin. The remainder are QUEST THE MOON, a Group 2 winner earlier in the season and was last seen finishing 2nd to Barney Roy, DURANCE, the Gran Premio di Milano winner and the outsider of the field SATOMI who does have a Group 2 victory this season.
The expected pace
In these types of races a decent pace is not always guaranteed, unlike last year where Ghaiyyath made sure there was no hiding place. KASPAR and COMMUNIQUE usually play a prominent role whilst speed is the great strength of TORQUATOR TASSO and DONJAH so expect them to be positioned further back. The same can also be said of DURANCE and QUEST THE MOON who do their best work late. BARNEY ROY generally is better over a shorter distance so will be ridden to ensure he still has something left for the finish. SATOMI is also expected to be near the back early on.
Our individual analysis of the runners
TORQUATOR TASSO is the liekly the favourite. Trained by Marcel Weiß he was having just his second start when runner up in the German Derby where he looked the winner at one point. You’d expect him to have progressed considerably but with this just being his third career start, immaturity would put a question mark on his chances. He has reigning German Champion jockey Bauyrzhan Murzabayev taking the ride. Very few ride this course better.
Outside of the favourite it will be a competitive betting heat with DONJAH, the suprise Preis von Europa and runner up in this race last year sure to prove tough to beat.
The other three year old KASPAR will probably need to improve to get involved but most certainly can do that and belongs at this level.
QUEST THE MOON loves Baden Baden having won on bothh of his appearances here. This is tougher than those two visits.
BARNEY ROY is a classy perofrmer having won Group 1’s in Munich, Meyddan and Royal Ascot. The last of those was over this distance but this trip is certainly at the upper limits of where he performs best, he won’t want the ground testing so should handle conditions well. Both DONJAH and KASPAR finished ahead of him last time out but it would be no suprsise to see him reverse placings with at least one of them.
SATOMI showed her best form when winning the Hansa-Preis in Hamburg, but the performance after that in the Prix de Pomone at Deauville wasn’t good enough to suggest she can get involved here.
Each Way Bet: DONJAH
1: 8 Torquator Tasso
2: 4 Donjah
3: 3 Quest the Moon
4: 1 Barney Roy