Danedream faces stiff test ahead of Arc bid
Danedream takes the same path towards the defence of her Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe title, but may find her attempt at a repeat victory in today's Grosser Preis von Baden no cakewalk with the next generation of German talent standing in her way.
For the past 10 years German-bred horses have been increasingly competitive outside of their own country with international champions Shirocco and Manduro paving the way for Danedream, who again beat some of the best British and Irish middle-distance performers when taking the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot by a nose from Nathaniel on her latest start.
But Pastorius and Novellist, first and second in the German Derby, set a decent standard in this Baden-Baden contest and the booking of William Buick for the latter particularly takes the eye.
Danedream will need to be near the top of her game for her last start before returning to Longchamp on October 7. Andrasch Starke partnered Pastorius in his most recent victory in a Group One at Munich but, as expected, renews his association with Danedream. "We gave her a break after the King George," he said. "She was a little tired, but in the last 10 to 14 days she has been very impressive. I think she has improved since the King George and we cannot wait until the Arc. Pastorius was very impressive last time and he has the three-year-olds' weight allowance so he is a danger."
Buick's German venture, another interesting new link for the rider, is a measure of how his reputation has continued to grow this season. The 24-year-old was at his most self-assured in winning the Solario Stakes at Sandown yesterday aboard the Jeremy Noseda-trained 3/1 chance Fantastic Moon, bringing the winner from last to first to steal the Group Three prize in a photo-finish from Tha'Ir and Master Of War.
"He's a really nice horse," Buick said. "I won on him at Newmarket and I really liked him. It was a big step up here, but Jeremy said he should run very well. It was a funny little race, I wasn't sure how it was going to pan out but I'm glad he got there. When he met the rising ground he stayed on."
Another tactical master, Richard Hughes, took the other pattern-race prize on the British programme when the well-backed 7/2 favourite Dank took the Atalanta Stakes, impressing even the winning trainer, Sir Michael Stoute.
"Hughesie gave her a great ride from what I considered to be a horrible draw," he said.
Today's meeting at Newton Abbot, where parts of the course have been waterlogged, must survive an 8.0am inspection before getting the go-ahead. The feature steeplechase has been added to the meeting from yesterday's abandoned card.
Meanwhile, Borderlescott raised the roof when bounding to victory in the Betfred Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes at Beverley The dual Nunthorpe Stakes hero was not rated high enough to make the cut for the York Group One showpiece recently, but showed he retains plenty of ability with a clear-cut success in this highly-competitive Listed contest.
The 10-year-old could now seek further glory in either top handicaps such as the Ayr Gold Cup or the Group One Prix de l'Abbaye following his first success for more than two years. Robin Bastiman's stable star was smartly out of stall one in the hands of Frederik Tylicki, who was completing a 215/1 treble on the day.
There was plenty of speed on the near side of the track with Moorhouse Lad, Masamah and Noble Storm leading the way. However, Borderlescott (8/1) was clear on the far side and kept on strongly to hold Masamah by a length. Confessional was half a length away in third.
"It was great to see him win again and show those young 'uns how to run," said Wetherby-based handler Bastiman. "You must never underestimate a Group One horse. He was coming back to himself and he was on a mission today. You could tell he wanted to do it. I don't know what we'll do and he's ground dependent.
"The owners want to run him in the Ayr Gold Cup, but he has a penalty for that now. It just depends, if the ground was fast up there he'd probably run in that. He might do, it's hard to say."
Last year's Bullet winner Tangerine Trees went on to win the Abbaye at Longchamp, and that is likely to be a target for Borderlescott regardless of whether he goes to Ayr. Bastiman said: "There's a Group Three at Newbury and he's got to go for the Abbaye anyway. They will want to run him in that. It might be his last chance for a Group One."
Tylicki had taken the first two races for trainer Richard Fahey on Laudate Dominum (5/1) and Hi There (3/1 favourite). Laudate Dominum collared Naalatt inside the final furlong to win the Monsieur Bond EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes by a length. Hi There pulled clear to take the Betfred "The Bonus King" Handicap.
The 3/1 joint-favourite Mark Universal, trained by Mark Johnston, made all the running under Adrian Nicholls to defy top weight in the Betfred Mobile Lotto Handicap.
Sunday Indo Sport