Grosser Preis von Berlin

(Group 1)

THE Group 1 Grosser Preis von Berlin, to be run this Sunday at Hoppegarten, was officially rated the best race run in Germany in 2021, after Alpinista defeated Torquator Tasso, form well boosted since. There is nothing of that calibre in this year’s renewal, and the race looked like cutting up badly.

Only five horses were left in after Monday’s forfeits, all of them German-trained. However there were three supplementary entries on Wednesday, and the race now looks much more interesting.

Godolphin have supplemented Rebel’s Romance (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle) and he is likely to start as the clear favourite.

The four-year-old gelding has won six of his nine career starts, four of them on the all-weather, including the UAE Derby, but his two performances since returning from Meydan this year certainly catch the eye, victories at Newmarket and Goodwood, both Group 3 races over tomorrow’s distance of 2,400 metres, and staying on strongly both times, essential at the stiff Berlin track.

His official rating of 113 would not normally be enough to win a prestigious Group 1, but it could well be enough in this company.


The other supplementary entries are the three-year-old Assistent, fourth in the German Derby at Hamburg six weeks ago, and the much-improved three-year-old filly Nastaria, easy winner of her last two races, but it was her earlier second place to Wagnis, with Toskana Belle third, that gives her a chance. Toskana Belle narrowly defeated Wagnis in last Sunday’s Group 1 Preis der Diana.

Nastaria has never yet run over further than 2,000 metres and faces a stiff task on ratings, but must still be respected.

The form of this year’s German Derby is working out well, and Nerik and Ardakan also line up here. They were fifth and eighth respectively, but only just behind Assistent, and all three were running on well at the finish.

There should be little between this trio; Ardakan had previously won the Italian Derby, and it would be no surprise to see Nerik, representing the powerful Peter Schiergen-Bauryzhan Murzabayev team, come out best of them this time.

The other three runners, are all four-year-olds and all ran in the Group 2 Grosser Hansa-Preis at the Derby meeting, where Northern Ruler finished second, Virgina Storm third and Alter Adler a disappointing fifth. The winner there was Germany’s best horse, Torquator Tasso, so that was no disgrace and Northern Ruler could well confirm that form this time.

Alter Adler actually has the highest rating, but that was due to his second place in last year’s German Derby (not as strong a race as the latest renewal) and also his Group 2 win at the Baden-Baden May meeting this year, when he made most of the running.

He needs some cut in the ground to show his best form, but that is most unlikely this week as the long hot and dry spell shows no sign of ending.

However Rebel’s Romance, having twice wintered in Dubai, presumably has no problems with the weather nor the likely fast going, and he seems to be the most likely winner.