Grosser Preis von Baden (Group 1)
THE Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden to be run tomorrow is generally regarded as the best race in Germany, in which the best older horses in the country take on the best three-year-olds with strong international challengers added to the mix.
We do indeed have the first two components now lining up, last year’s Arc winner Torquator Tasso challenged by the German Derby winner Sammarco. But otherwise the race has cut up disappointingly, with only four runners likely to face the starter.
Torquator Tasso’s presence would appear to be responsible and he seems to have scared off the possible foreign runners.
We are left with just five runners, all trained in Germany, with three older horses versus two three-year-olds.
Torquator Tasso is clearly the star of the show and he looks certain to start at odds-on; the main interest in the race will certainly be the clash with Sammarco, a colt by Camelot who has shown tremendous improvement this season and whose trainer Peter Schiergen continues in top form.
Sammarco followed up by defeating good older horses in the Group 1 Grosser Dallmayr-Preis at Munich.
The other three-year-old in the field Ardakan was a late absentee - reported as sold to Australia and will miss the race.
The race revolves around Torquator Tasso, who ran his one bad race at the spring meeting here, when he was well behind Alter Adler, who reopposes this time. But Torquator Tasso was clearly not fully fit that day and has since put the record straight with an easy win at Hamburg (Alter Adler well beaten) and then an excellent second place in the King George.
A repeat of that performance should certainly see him score here, and the recent rain a welcome rarity this year) means that the going should be perfect.
The big question mark is the four-year-old Mendocino, like the favourite also a son of Adlerflug and who will also appreciate the going.
He looked very promising last season, when he finished runner-up to Alpinista in the Grosser Preis von Bayern, however his three efforts this year, all in France, have not been inspiring.
He will be ridden by his owner’s retained jockey Rene Piechulek, who is normally the regular partner of Torquator Tasso, but the latter’s team has found a more than adequate replacement in Frankie Dettori.
Torquator Tasso won this race last year, easily holding the current German Derby winner, and it would be no surprise to see a repeat of that result tomorrow.