The Weekly Wrap: Euro Delights Aplenty

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Torquator Tasso is led in through the crowd at Baden-Baden | Emma Berry

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We head towards a weekend featuring the final British Classic of 2021, the Arc Trials and Irish Champions Weekend with the last week having offered plenty of food for thought across Europe.

Torquator Tasso (Ger) paid a posthumous tribute to his champion sire Adlerflug (Ger) by adding victory in the G1 Grosser Preis von Baden to his 2020 win in the G1 Grosser Preis von Berlin. Second in last year's Deutsches Derby to another son of Adlerflug, the recently retired In Swoop (Ire), the 4-year-old beat this year's Derby winner Sisfahan (Fr) (Isfahan {Ger}), who hassled the winner all the way to the line to boost the 2021 Classic form in Germany.

Torquator Tasso owns an intriguing pedigree, with both his sire and dam being female-line descendants of Anatevka (Ger) (Espresso {GB}) through the full-sisters Alya (Ger) and Allegretta (GB), both by Lombard (Ger). He thus has a double shot of the the family that can be credited with doing more to raise the profile of German breeding internationally in recent decades than any other. Torquator Tasso's owner Karl-Dieter Ellerbracke has indicated that the Arc is now the likely target for his colt, and that he may well stay in training next year before joining Ellerbracke's Gestüt Auenquelle. The stud is currently home to the veteran Soldier Hollow (GB) and Torquator Tasso's eventual arrival will give breeders another option for tapping into the Adlerflug/In The Wings line which has worked so well in Germany of late.

The Grosser Preis success was also another major feather in the cap of Marcel Weiss, who for the last two years has been training the Auenquelle horses at Mulheim. He had previously served his time as feedman for several trainers, including Heinz Jentzsch and Jens Hirschberger.

Half an hour later and some 500 kilometres away in Paris, Baaeed (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) continued his unbeaten progression to the top with his first Group 1 strike in the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp. He is the 15th Group 1 winner for his sire and the second to have won at the top level over a mile after Zelzal (Fr), who landed the Prix Jean Prat before it was reduced in distance. 

Anatevka and her daughter Allegretta of course appear in Baaeed's pedigree as the third and second dams of Sea The Stars, and on the bottom line the Queen's former star Height Of Fashion (Fr), who has been the bedrock of the late Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell Stud, appears again in another top prospect as Baaeed's fifth dam. 

William Haggas's star pupil Baaeed is out of Aghareed, a listed winner in her racing days for John Hammond and a daughter of Kingmambo. It is a cross which has been seen to good effect with Sea The Stars, whose Group 1-winning sons and young French-based stallions Cloth Of Stars (Ire) and Zelzal are both out of Kingmambo mares.

Ryan On Point For Major Owner

It was a day to remember for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid and Kevin Ryan on Saturday at Haydock, where the freewheeling tactics of Emaraaty Ana (GB) (Shamardal) paid off when narrowly denying the even-money favourite Starman (GB) (Dutch Art {GB}) in the G1 Sprint Cup. The 5-year-old former Gimcrack winner has been in good form all summer and was most recently second to Winter Power (Ire) (Bungle Inthejungle {Ire}) in the G1 Coolmore Nunthorpe S. at York.

The owner/trainer duo had started the day well when supplying the latest stakes winner in a tremendous season for Frankel (GB) through Triple Time (GB) in the listed Ascendant S. The 2-year-old's dam Reem Three (GB) (Mark Of Esteem {Ire}) can very much claim her fair share of the credit, however, as she has been a wonderfully dependable broodmare for the sheikh, providing six black-type performers by six different stallions, including G2 Prix Daniel Wildenstein victor Ostilio (GB) (New Approach {Ire}).

Sheikh Mohammed Obaid has enjoyed a decent run of late, with seven winners from 17 runners over the last fortnight. They include the smart-looking 2-year-old homebred Razzle Dazzle (GB) (Muhaarar {GB}), who has two black-type entries at Doncaster later this week.

Intello To The Fore

It was also a good weekend for Haras du Quesnay's Intello (Ger), who was represented by three new group winners in France and Germany. 

The lightly-raced Waldbiene (Fr) continued an excellent run for graduates of Andreas Putsch's Haras de Saint Pair when winning the G2 T Von Zastrow Stutenpreis at Baden-Baden on Saturday. A daughter of Waldjagd (GB) (Observatory {GB}), she hails from an excellent family which includes the St Leger winner Masked Marvel (GB) (Montjeu {Ire}) and Arc winner Waldgeist (GB) (Galileo {Ire}).

The following day the 11-year-old son of Galileo (Ire) notched two Group 3 winners in just over an hour at ParisLongchamp. The first came with victory for 4-year-old Dawn Intello (Fr), bred by Viktor Timoshenko at Haras de Montaigu, who clearly enjoyed dropping back in trip to 2000 metres for the La Coupe de Maisons-Laffitte.

Bubble Smart (GB) then delivered the Prix Gladiateur for her trainer Mikel Delazangles and the family of his late Moroccan breeder Zakaria Hakam to complete a hat-trick of staying wins since June 26. The 4-year-old half-sister to Prix du Jockey Club runner-up Bubble Chic (Fr) (Chichicastenango {Fr}) was raised at Haras de Maulepaire, not far from Le Mans, and her dam is one of around seven mares kept by Ali and Amina Hakam at the stud.

Run by Pierric Rouxel for the Comtesse de Tarragon, Maulepaire also raised arguably the most famous horse to have emerged from the Delzangles stable, the globetrotting multiple Group 1 winner Dunaden (Fr), as well as some notable stars of the jumps scene, including La Bague Au Roi (Fr).

Ardad And Time Test Step Up

Ardad (Ire) leapt to the head of the European first-season sires' table on Saturday courtesy of his second group winner, Eve Lodge (GB), who notched the second victory of her career in the G3 Sirenia S. at Kempton. Ardad's leading performer of the season is the G1 Prix Morny and Gr Norfolk S. winner Perfect Power (Ire). 

The Overbury Stud resident has had 17 individual winners at the time of writing, so he is eight behind the leader Cotai Glory (GB) in that category, but ahead on prize-money, largely thanks to his stakes winners. 

The freshman who took perhaps the biggest step forward this week is the National Stud's Time Test (GB), who had Group 3 winners on consecutive days and now lies equal with Galileo Gold (GB) for number of black-type winners on three. 

At Baden-Baden on Wednesday, the Peter Schiergen-trained Rocchigiani (GB) became his sire's first group winner in the G3 Renate und Albrecht Woesten Zukunftsrennen, swiftly followed 24 hours later by the success of Romantic Time (GB) in the G3 Dick Poole Fillies' S. The William Stone-trained filly had previously beaten Eve Lodge into second when the pair met in a novice race at Yarmouth on July 7.

For Eve Lodge's trainer Charlie Fellowes, it was a case of as one door opens, another closes, and in this case it was a pretty big door. Thirty-five minutes after Eve Lodge became the trainer's first group winner on home soil, his beloved stable star Prince of Arran (GB) ran his final race when finishing last of five in the G3 September S. That race had been intended as a prep run before the 8-year-old went into quarantine for a fourth tilt at the Melbourne Cup, but the stringent new pre-travel vetting requirements for overseas runners ruled him out of a return to Australia. 

Fellowes will miss him terribly but he can look back with great pride at the career of a really likeable horse who helped to bring his trainer's name to wider attention internationally. Prince Of Arran retires sound and well with six wins to his name from 49 starts, and more than £2 million in prize-money. His most memorable victory came in the G3 Lexus S. on Derby day at Flemington, where he was also placed three times in the Melbourne Cup. There aren't many like him and he deserves a long and happy retirement.

Baden-Baden Gets It Right For Racing

Following an encouraging day at the BBAG Yearling Sale on Friday, BBAG president Karl-Dieter Ellerbracke then witnessed his Torquator Tasso take Baden-Baden's biggest race on Sunday to set him on course for a tilt at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. 

In the spring the sales company became a shareholder in its neighbouring Baden-Baden racecourse, a symbiotic relationship which makes perfect sense. There is great relief in German racing that the action is now continuing at Baden-Baden under a 10-year lease to the newly formed Baden Galopp.

For a start, the closure of any racecourse should be met with regret, and it is no secret that German racing is under threat from dwindling prize-money and a reduction in the number of broodmares in the country. Most people who spent time at Baden-Baden racecourse, or at the sales, over the last few days would not have formed that impression, however. 

The one problem British racing does not face is a lack of racegoers but there is growing consternation about the unruly behaviour, often fuelled by drink and drugs, at a number of the country's top meetings. 

Baden Galopp may be a new company but the people behind it are long-term supporters of and participants in the sport. The meeting they staged over this weekend could be used as the copybook for the perfect racing experience, whether for the sport's professionals or for the casual fan.

For a start, the layout of the racecourse allows visitors to get properly close to the action, both on the track and when the horses are led back in after the race along the fabulous walkway bearing the names of the winners of the Grosser Preis, like racing's own special version of the yellow brick road. There is the history of the great race right there, writ large under our feet.

It was extremely hot over the weekend but plenty of shade was provided by the many lovely old trees in the public areas where there is no segregation, apart from the parade ring and winner's circle area naturally being restricted to owners, trainers and jockeys. But if you want to see the horses you can, very easily, and plenty of people did, as it was three or four deep around the parade ring on both days.  The rail in the long home straight was lined with folk throughout the day, and with the jockeys' tendency to bring the horses wide to that stands' rail, the runners whizzed by so close you could almost touch them, much to the delight of the many children watching on (and one very big child with a reporter's hat on).

For time out from the equine action, there was plenty of seating all around the course to enjoy a picnic from the open air bars and bratwurst stands. Not once over the weekend was there any sense of drunken, loutish behaviour. It was truly a wonderful sporting day out that could be properly enjoyed by family members of all ages, not to mention their pet dogs, of which there were many on course throughout the weekend.

There is much to celebrate about the return of racing to Baden-Baden at whatever level your interest in the sport may be.

One notable absentee from the sales and racing in Germany was leading trainer Andreas Wohler, 59, who suffered a heart attack on the previous Friday but has subsequently been released from hospital to continue his recovery. We wish him well.

Mighty Weekend For Spanish Racing

Among those taking full advantage of all the delights Baden-Baden has to offer was a group of 20 friends and family of Angel Saenz, who travelled to Germany from Madrid with their trainer Guillermo Arizkorreta to plunder group races on the Saturday and Sunday.

It was a mighty raid by Spain's champion trainer, who has long been lauded in his home country but deserves the wider recognition that his first Group 3 and then Group 2 wins internationally will bring.

A former amateur rider who cut his teeth with his friend and fellow Basque-born jockey Ioritz Mendizabal, Arizkorreta spent a number of years assisting Luca Cumani in Newmarket, where he honed his perfect English speaking skills. He returns to the town regularly for the sales, and both his group winners, Kitty Marion (GB) (Iffraaj {GB}) and Rodaballo (GB) (Lope De Vega {Ire}), had been bought at Tattersalls, the former from last year's July Sale for just 3,000gns by Edgar Byrne, and Rodaballo from Ardglas Stables at the Guineas Breeze-up Sale.

Two such notable wins outside Spain, which has a racehorse population of only around 65o, clearly meant an awful lot to Arizkorreta, who has won multiple Classics at home, including last year's Poule de Potros (Spanish 2000 Guineas) with the Aston House Stud-bred Rodaballo.

He said on Sunday, “We are always very passionate about our racing and our horses, so going abroad and proving that we are good enough to compete in these races is very important for Spain. We are very proud.”

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