The German Derby takes place at Hamburg (pictured) on July 10
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By David Conolly-Smith 9:10PM 19 JUN 2016
Report: Germany, Sunday
Cologne: 181st Oppenheim-Union-Rennen (Group 2) 1m3f, 3yo
BOSCACCIO (Christian Sprengel/Dennis Schiergen) confirmed his position as ante-post favourite for the German Derby with a comfortable success in the most important trial, Cologne’s Union-Rennen.
It is difficult to see a German-trained three-year-old that can beat him at Hamburg on July 10. The Mount Nelson colt is now unbeaten after four starts and was not hard pressed to score by three parts of a length from El Loco, who had challenged him unavailingly throughout the final furlong and a half, and the fast-finishing Dschingis Secret.
Bora Rock, ridden by Dennis Schiergen’s younger brother Vinzenz and trained by their father Peter, made the running at a slow pace, with Boscaccio tucked away on the inside, but as the field swung into the straight, a huge gap opened up for Boscaccio on the rail and he was soon in contention and shortly afterwards in full control. Schiergen only had to give him one slap for him to assert without being given a hard race.
“He made the running last time,” reported the winning trainer, who has just 15 horses in his Hanover yard, “but we did not want him to lead today and everything went perfectly to plan. I shall just keep him ticking over now until Derby day.
“I knew when I got him last year as a two-year-old that he had lots of ability, and although his pedigree is not really full of stamina, he runs like a stayer and I am sure that the extra furlong in the Derby will be no problem.”
Sprengel added: “He really pleased me today and I did not have to get really serious with him. When the gap opened up, it was ideal and he ran on really well.”
Owner Rainer Hupe bought the horse privately from breeder Gestüt Fährhof as a yearling, “for a very fair price,” he emphasizes. “I and my wife own 70 per cent of him, and the “friends” are three married couples who each have 10 per cent.” They are all from the Hamburg area, so a Derby win would be cause for huge local celebrations.
There were no obvious excuses for the beaten horses, although the slow early pace did not suit all the runners. The first four – at least – will all meet again in the Derby, and certainly Dschingis Secret and fourth-placed Berghain can hope to show some improvement on this form, but unless some unexpected supplementary entry from abroad arrives, Boscaccio looks certain to start a warm favourite at Hamburg.