Adlerflug's Mendocino Registers An Upset In Germany

Mendocino eking out a win at Baden-Baden Sunday | Marc Ruehl

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Stall Salzburg's Mendocino (Ger) (Adlerflug {Ger}–Mill Marin {Ire}, by Pivotal {GB}), whose previous career best was a runner-up finish behind Alpinista (GB) (Frankel {GB}) in last November's G1 Grosser Preis von Bayern, initiated a pilot merry-go-round when Rene Piechulek was obliged to take the mount aboard the Sarah Steinberg trainee, but it was all smiles for the jockey as the 4-year-old colt upset illustrious opposition in a stellar renewal of Sunday's G1 152nd Wettstar.de Grosser Preis von Baden at Baden-Baden's Iffezheim venue. Piechulek had ridden last year's winner and G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe hero Torquator Tasso (Ger) (Adlerflug {Ger}) in each of his last seven runs and was also in the plate when Sammarco (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) added to his G1 Deutsches Derby triumph in July's G1 Grosser Dallmayr-Preis at Munich. With punters making the 12-furlong test an effective match between the two elite-level winners, it was a masterclass in waiting tactics as the 69-10 outsider-of-four was delivered late by the rider to register a first black-type success of any kind.

Mendocino had garnered prizemoney in each of his nine prior runs, winning two, and arrived for his date with destiny off the back of a third in ParisLongchamp's May 12 G3 Prix d'Hedouville and a fifth in June's G2 Grand Prix de Chantilly last time. The eventual winner found comfort behind all three rivals and raced fourth, with his head in his chest, passing the judge first time. Inching closer as Torquator Tasso and Sammarco locked horns early and lit each other up off the home turn, he fanned widest of all to the stands' side rail in early straight and refused to yield once hitting the front with 100 metres remaining, holding the late rally of the former by a head in game fashion. Sammarco kept on to finish 1 1/4 lengths further adrift in third.

“I had a mega race, Mendocino switched off well at the back and showed tremendous speed at the end,” said Piechulek after claiming back-to-back victories in the contest. “The result is just awesome and everything worked out wonderfully.” Winning trainer Sarah Steinberg added, “He was coming back off a break, the competition was very strong and we would have been satisfied if Mendocino had finished in the first three. In the race, he was able to stay out of everything and pulled out big at the end. This is a very emotional moment for me. He's supposed to come home before we commit to anything, but of course the [G1 Prix de l'] Arc [de Triomphe] is a very likely destination.” Stall Salzburg's Hans-Gerd Wernicke, who also raced Night Magic (Ger) (Sholokhov {Ire}) to farm this contest in 2010, commented, “The break was worth it. We thought long and hard about running here and, ultimately, we made the right decision. Sarah Steinberg is not only first class as a person, but also a first-class trainer.”

“Unfortunately he had the worst race of all participants, he couldn't find any cover and was always galloping freely,” reflected Torquator Tasso's trainer Marcel Weiss. “It's not his ideal track, even though he'd won here before.” Frankie Dettori added, “There wasn't enough pace in the race and the ground wasn't soft enough either. I started working with a half mile to go, but the winner accelerated faster in the straight.” Gestut Auenquelle's Peter-Michael Endres continued, “It was anything but a good race for him, but that's horse racing. It could look different again in Paris and I've just booked Frankie for the Arc.”

Despite a first reversal in four starts, Peter Schiergen was satisfied with the performance of Sammarco, who looks bound for Cologne and the G1 Preis von Europa. “He attacked well, he ran a great race again today and we didn't disgrace ourselves,” the trainer said. “Sammarco always runs great and the Preis von Europa is an option.”

Mendocino, who becomes the eighth Group 1 winner for his ill-fated sire (by In The Wings {GB}), is the first elite-level scorer for the stakes-winning Mill Marin (Ire) (Pivotal {GB}). Her first foal is G3 Grosser Preis der Landeshauptstadt Dusseldorf victrix Marshmallow (Ger) (Soldier Hollow {GB}) while her fourth is last year's Listed Junioren-Preis third Millionaire (Ger) (Adlerflug {GB}). The March-foaled chestnut's stakes-placed second dam Mill Guineas (Salse), who also produced Listed Prix Herod second Olvia (Ire) (Giant's Causeway), is kin to G2 Falmouth S. victrix Ronda (GB) (Bluebird) and stakes-winning G3 Prix de Conde runner-up Silver Gilt (GB) (Silver Hawk). Ronda, who is the dam of GIII Ack Ack H. scorer Istan (Gone West), is also a half-sister to the dam of G3 Prix du Calvados and G3 Ridgewood Pearl S. victrix Purr Along (GB) (Mount Nelson {GB}), Listed Land O'Burns Fillies' S. winner Katawi (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) and the dual stakes-placed Lady Francesca (GB) (Montjeu {Ire}). Mendocino's fourth dam Memory Lane (Never Bend) won the G3 Princess Royal S. and is a full-sister to G1 Derby hero and leading sire Mill Reef (Never Bend). Mill Marin has a yearling colt by Gleneagles (Ire) to come.

Sunday, Baden-Baden, Germany
152ND WETTSTAR.DE GROSSER PREIS VON BADEN-G1, €200,000, Baden-Baden, 9-4, 3yo/up, 12fT, 2:38.71, g/s.
1–MENDOCINO (GER), 132, c, 4, by Adlerflug (Ger)
1st Dam: Mill Marin (Ire) (SW-Swe, $148,712), by Pivotal (GB)
2nd Dam: Mill Guineas, by Salse
3rd Dam: Memory's Gold, by Java Gold
1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN; 1ST GROUP WIN; 1ST GROUP 1 WIN. (€58,000 RNA Ylg '19 BBAGS). O-Stall Salzburg; B-Gestut Brummerhof (GER); T-Sarah Steinberg; J-Rene Piechulek. €115,000. Lifetime Record: 10-3-2-1, €204,050. *Full to Millionaire (Ger), SP-Ger; and 1/2 to Marshmallow (Ger) (Soldier Hollow {GB}), GSW-Ger. Werk Nick Rating: B+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Torquator Tasso (Ger), 132, h, 5, Adlerflug (Ger)–Tijuana (Ger), by Toylsome (GB). (€24,000 Ylg '18 BBAGO). O-Gestut Auenquelle; B-Paul H Vandeberg (GER); T-Marcel Weiss. €44,000.
3–Sammarco (Ire), 125, c, 3, Camelot (GB)–Saloon Sold (Ger), by Soldier Hollow (GB). (€120,000 RNA Ylg '20 BBAGS). O/B-Gestut Park Wiedingen (IRE); T-Peter Schiergen. €23,000.
Margins: HD, 1 1/4, HF. Odds: 6.90, 0.70, 2.20.
Also Ran: Alter Adler (Ger). Scratched: Ardakan (GB). Click for the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.

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