Preis von Europa (Group 1)
THE Thoroughbred Racing Commentary, a respected website, publishes every week its “TRC global rankings” based on a points system taking the world’s top races into account.
In the latest update, Godolphin are listed as the world’s leading owner, Charlie Appleby as top trainer, Dubawi as most successful sire, and for the first time, William Buick as top jockey.
This follows another highly successful week for the Godolphin operation, ending in the victory of four-year-old Dubawi gelding Rebel’s Romance, trained by Appleby and ridden by Buick, in the 60th edition of Cologne’s Preis von Europa.
This was once the richest race in Germany; this is no longer the case but it is still a proper Group 1 and last Sunday´s field was the best for some time.
At the beginning of 2022 Rebel’s Romance would certainly not have been regarded as one of the brightest stars in the Godolphin galaxy.
At that stage, he had won four of his seven starts, all on the all-weather. His best win had come in the UAE Derby at Meydan, hardly one of the world´s great classics.
But he has been a revelation this year since being switched to racing on turf. He is unbeaten in four starts, including now two Group 1s in Germany, the Grosser Preis von Berlin and the Preis von Europa – both races incidentally won last year by Alpinista, now second favourite for tomorrow’s Arc.
Rebel’s Romance started clear favourite, but faced stronger opposition than at Hoppegarten, notably from the last two winners of the German Derby, this year’s hero, the Camelot colt Sammarco, and the 2021 victor Sisfahan.
The latter however, was having his first race of the year and connections had warned that he needed the race. They were right and he ran accordingly, finishing a well-beaten last of the seven runners. However, Sammarco was a different kettle of fish; he has never run a bad race and once again ran his heart out.
The race was run at a proper pace – quite a contrast to the Grosser Preis von Baden three weeks earlier – and Buick held Rebel’s Romance up, they were almost last coming into the straight.
Buick was relying on the gelding’s turn of foot, which had been so effective at Hoppegarten, and once again the Godolphin runner delivered, quickening past the field to lead a furlong out and always doing enough to hold the game challenge of Sammarco, finally scoring by three-parts of a length in a good time.
The filly Amazing Grace, runner-up to Sammarco in the summer, finished third, and Assistent, fourth to Sammarco in the German Derby, was again fourth. The form has a very solid look, and the handicapper has put Rebel’s Romance up to GAG 98½ (= international 117 and up from 111 before he won in Hoppegarten).
Where the winner goes next is not clear, but as he prefers fast ground, starts in Europe look unlikely and the Breeders’ Cup Turf is being considered.
In the meantime, German racegoers can look forward to tomorrow’s Arc, in which the first two from Baden-Baden, Mendocino and Torquator Tasso, will cross swords again. Both will like the soft ground.