Arc Winner Takes on Germany's big hitters

Arc winner Torquator Tasso adds star quality to the Grosser Preis von Baden

It's the “Grosse Woche” (Big Week) for German racing - the Baden-Baden fiesta being the country's answer to Royal Ascot. So, it is fitting Torquator Tasso, the country's best horse and shock 72-1 winner of last year's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, will have his last race on home soil in Sunday's (4 September) G1 Grosser Preis von Baden, a race he also won last season.

Baden-Baden is located to the very south of Germany in the picturesque Black Forest, and the G1 Grosser Preis von Baden (2400m) - one of only seven domestic G1 events - is Germany's premier race in open age company, with an extensive and prestigious narrative and famous for emphasising the stamina-laden breed Germany is so famous for.

The winners in its approximate 150-year history represent a Who's Who of German racing. In addition, this century Marienbard, Danedream as well as Torquator Tasso have augmented Baden-Baden victory with Longchamp Arc glory in early October.


To be ridden by Frankie Dettori for the first time, Torquator Tasso is trained by Marcel Weiss who has a long-standing reputation of not over-racing his charges and this will be only the five-year-old son of Adlerflug's fourth race of the year. The Arc is again the ultimate goal, with Weiss suggesting that the Paris encounter may be his racecourse swansong.

Sammarco, winner of the 2022 G1 German Derby (2400m) at Hamburg in July, looks the Arc winner's strongest opponent. Named after an Italian red wine, this son of Camelot is small in stature but has the heart of a lion.

Trainer Peter Schiergen says of the winner of his last three races: "He has worked really well, and we are going to Baden-Baden to win. He is not ground dependent at all and runs off a nice weight (receiving weight for age). And his victory at Munich (G1 Grosser Dallmayr Preis-Bayerisches Zuchtrennen, 2000m) shows that this year's three-year-olds can hold their own against older horses."

Bauyrzhan Murzabayev, who steered him to that German Derby win, rides again.

Markus Klug, long regarded as one of Germany's top trainers, also reports good homework vibes for Italian Derby winner Ardakan (Andrasch Starke). He ran a solid third in Hoppegarten's G1 Grosser Preis von Berlin (2400m) last month, just a head in front of Alter Adler (Adrie de Vries), leader for much of the way that day.

Some controversy surrounds trainer Sarah Steinberg's runner Mendocino as his jockey Rene Piechulek had to sacrifice the ride on Torquator Tasso in order to fulfill stable commitments. Mendocino won at this meeting - and at this trip - last year and Steinberg says: "His work has been really good and, if all goes to plan, the Arc is the next aim."

The G2 Oettingen Rennen (1600m) is another fascinating and high class contest. While there is no stand-out performer, Best Lightning (Martin Seidl), Calif (Bauyrzhan Murzabayev) and Dapango (Thore Hammer-Hansen) all appear in the mix. Trainer Roland Dzubasz says of the latter: "He is long due a Group win so let's hope it happens on Sunday. He's in great form."

If Rubaiyat is in the right mood he is a danger to all and it looks as though Hurricane Dream means business given that Dettori has been booked by prominent French trainer Francis Graffard.

Current weather predictions suggest that the ground will be in the good, good to soft bracket.

© 2009 All rights reserved.