Many of the German Group races get plundered by English raiders with Godolphin taking two of the seven Group 1 races last season. That being said there were some stand-out performances from home-based horses in 2018.
The Group action has begun already this season and bearing that in mind I have taken a look at some of the top German horses in 2018 and what the future holds for them.
Biggest Win: German Derby
Markus Klug must have thought a lot of Weltstar as he pitched hi in at Group 3 level for his debut as a two-year-old but he found the occasion a bit much and was a disappointing beaten favourite.
However, he really showed the benefit of that run in his three-year-old campaign last season, progressing with each run to land the German Derby from his old advisory Destino. This race has been on by some top horses down through the years including Lando (1993), Shirocco (2004) and Sea The Moon (2014).
That Group 1 victory proved to be Weltstar’s last appearance in 2018 but he was undoubtedly the best three-year-old-colt in training in Germany in 2018. The son of champion sire Soldier Hollow looks like the type to improve with age.
Biggest Win: Preis der Diana
Well Timed may have only run once in Germany last season but it was a winning one in the German Oaks, where she travelled well throughout and was a comfortable winner in the finish. Connections raced her solely at Group 1 level from the remainder of the season and she ran credibly without hitting the frame on each occasion. If anything these runs were an improvement with the exception of her final run behind God Given in Italy.
There is a nice European programme for this type of mare and although we might not see her race much in Germany, she is one of the best mares in training and may be able to land a Group race outside Germany this season.
Biggest Win: Grosser Preis Von Bayern
The triple Group 1 winning Iquitos was possibly the best German racehorse in training in 2018. He began the previous campaign with a Group 2 victory and although well held by foreign raiders throughout the season, he exacted his revenge when it mattered in the Grosser Preis von Bayern where he demolished a strong field including the Roger Varian trained Defoe.
Unfortunately, for racing fans, this proved to be the last time we will see Iquitos strut his stuff on the track but in two years we should be seeing his progeny grace the racetrack. Iquitos is standing at Gestut AMmmerland in his rookie season at a fee of €6,000.
Biggest Win: German 1000 Guineas
She won last season’s German 1000 Guineas when called Ancient Spirit for trainer Jean -Pirre Carvahlo under a fine ride from Filip Minarik. She then went on to slightly disappoint in the Jean Prat and then winning and placing in a brace of Group 2’s.
She then changed trainer, country and name to head down under for a carrer wit CHris Waller but was bitterly disappointing finishing stone las on each ocassion and she has now joined Jim Bolger for a third country and traner in the last six months. She’s obvioulsy very talented and Jim Bolger has a great rcord with older mares so it may be too early o write her off.
Biggest Win: Preis Von Europa
Khan is a bit of an enigma finishing last or close to last on five of his six starts last season. Then out of the blue, he put in a scintillating performance to run away with the Preis Von Europa. He turned this Group 1 contest into a procession passing the line for a six-length victory.
I know that all his other performances were in a word “dismal” put that victory alone makes him on the best horses in Germany last season.
Best Foreign Raiders
Boggest Win: Grosser Dallmayr Preis
Benbatl isn’t trained in Germany but he was one of the best horses to race there last season. The Godolphin owned horse began the year with a great stint in Meydan winning the Dubai Turf in March and then the Grosser Dallmayr Preis when beating decent yardstick Stormy Antarctic. Saeed bin Suroor’s charge rounded out the year by finishing runner-up to wonder mare Winx in the Cox Plate which shows how classy Benabatl truly is.
Biggest Wins: Grosser Preis Von Baden
Best Solution has always been a regular performer in Germany and had a stellar 2018 campaign winning the Preis Von Berlin and Preis Von Baden on German soil. These were two fantastic performances and he backed them up a victory in the Caufield Cup and a fine performance to finish eight in the race that stops the nation, the Melbourne Cup. I’m sure we will be seeing Saeed bin Suroor’s stable star contesting more Group 1 races in 2019.