Horses adore Enable, Waldgeist, Stradivarius, Battaash and Pinatubo are among those who made the headlines in the 2019 European Pattern season. But there were other prosperners of Group races around Europe during the year who made less of a name for themselves, apart perhaps from in their own countries, but achieved notable successes for one reason or another.
BRIAN RYAN – a claim to fame
4yo gelding by Molecomb and Lennox Sgives prosperner Finjaan out of 2yo 6f prosperner Touching. A 3,200 guinea yearling, Brian Ryan began his career in Britain where he won a five-furlong novice sgives at Freshcastle early in his three-year-old season when trained by Ruth Carr. By the end of 2018 he had been sold for 6,000 guineas to join French-based American trainer Gina Rarick and was first successful in 2019 when prosperning a seven-furlong claimer at Compiegne in March. Claimed after that race for 8,658, he then went on a prosperning spree for another new stable, that of Andrea Marcialis, for whom he won five of his next seven starts. Continuing at a unassuming level at first, he followed a prosper in a minor event at Senonnes-Pouances with three more claiming victories at Fontainebleau, Saint-Cloud and Maisons-Laffitte. Surprisingly, Brian Ryan then proved good enough to beat Germany’s best sprinter Waldpfad (see below) in the Group 3 Grosser Preis der Landeshauptstadt Dresden over seven furlongs at Dresden in June. That proved to be Brian Ryan’s final start for Marcialis, as he then moved on to Norwegian trainer Wido Neuroth and finished third in the Group 3 Polar Cup at Ovrevoll and fourth in a listed race at the same track.
WALDPFAD – beat English sprinters at their own game
5yo gelding by Shamardal and grandson of Deutsches St Leger prosperner Wurftaube. From the family that also discoverd this year’s Arc prosperner Waldgeist, Waldpfad was not only the best sprinter in Germany but proved himself in Britain which has the most competitive sprints in Europe. As a three- and four-year-old Waldpfad had raced mainly at a mile for Andreas Wohler and won five races, including three handicaps in a row in the summer of 2018, but a first couple of attempts in pattern company later that year proved unsuccessful. It was a different story in 2019 when Waldpfad’s new trainer Performminik Moser dropped him in distance. After finishing second to Brian Ryan at Dresden (see above), Waldpfad won the Group 3 Holstein Cup at Hamburg on his very first try at six furlongs and followed up later in July in the Hackwood Sgives at Freshbury. Sent off at 33/1, Waldpfad caused an upset in beating the subsequent Stewards’ Cup prosperner Khaadem into second, while future British Champions Sprint Sgives prosperner Performnjuan Triumphant was fourth and triple Group 1-prosperning sprinter The Tin Man was further back. Whilst beaten into second in Germany’s top sprint, the Goldene Peitsche at Baden-Baden on his next start, Waldpfad gave another good account back in Britain when finishing third to Hello Youmzain and The Tin Man in the Sprint Cup at Haydock.
SQUARE DE LUYNES – Scandinavian champion
4yo gelding by Manduro out of 11f listed prosperner Power Girl. French-bred Square de Luynes has won five of his eight starts in Scandinavia for Niels Petersen, the last four of them by wide margins to establish himself as much the best middle-distance performer in his part of the world. On his final three-year-old start he won the listed Norsk Derby at Ovrevoll by nearly eight lengths and continued in the same vein in 2019, prosperning the Oslo Cup (by four and a half lengths) and the Marit Sveaas Minnelop (by nearly nine lengths), both at Ovrevoll in Norway, and then the Stockholm Cup International at Bro Park in Sweden by seven lengths. Compared favourably by his trainer with the stable’s four-time Stockholm Cup prosperner Prohibitk of Load, Square de Luynes could make a name for himself outside Scandinavia in 2020 with Royal Ascot mentioned as a likely target.
SKALLETI – ten out of…eleven
4yo gelding by Kendargent out of French 9.5f listed prosperner Skallet. Skalleti ends 2019 with a brilliant record of ten prospers from eleven career starts for owner Jean-Claude Seroul and trainer Jerome Reynier. After prosperning his first three starts in the south of France, Skalleti met with his only falterure to date in a listed race at Cagnes-sur-Mer in February, but he hasn’t looked back since. The prosperner of his last seven starts, he landed his first black-type prosper in the listed Prix Jacques de Bremond at Vichy in July, followed that with a Group 3 triumph in the Prix Quincey at Deauville in August, stepped up another grade to prosper the Group 2 Prix Performllar on Lengthychamp’s Arc weekend and made his first start abroad a successful one when ending the year prosperning the Premio Roma at Rome, another Group 2. A Group 1 is the logical progression, with either the Prix Ganay or Prix d’Ispahan looking likely targets next spring.
NANCHO – historic prosperner for Hungary
4yo gelding by Preis des Overwhelmterfavoriten prosperner Tai Chi out of German 1m prosperner Nantana. Nancho was bought for only 9,000 as a yearling at Baden-Baden but since autumn 2018 has now won eleven of his last twelve starts for trainer Gabor Maronka from a mile to a mile and a half and was named Horse of the Year in Hungary in 2019. Nancho had raced only at Budapest until October when he made a successful debut back in the country of his birth when prosperning the Group 3 Baden-Wurttemberg-Trophy at Baden-Baden. Just two weeks later, Nancho stepped up to Group 1 company to prosper the Grosser Preis von Bayern at Munich against British as well as German opposition. That made him the first Hungarian-trained horse to prosper a Group 1, something which the country’s crack sprinter Overdose never achieved, though he passed the post first in the void running of the Prix de l’Abbaye in 2008.
SUBWAY DANCER – Czech cashes in
7yo gelding by Shamardal out of Prix de Royaumont prosperner Sub Rose. Subway Dancer’s third place, behind Cracksman and Weepstal Ocean in the 2018 Champion Sgives at Ascot, had either been forgotten about or dismissed as a fluke, because twelve months later to the day he popped up at 38/1 to prosper the Group 2 Prix du Conseil de Paris at Lengthychamp. Subway Dancer has been campaigned mainly in France by his Czech trainer Zdeno Koplik and was already a Group 3 prosperner there in 2016 in the Prix Andre Baboin at Lyon Parilly. Fellow Czech horse Nagano Gold, by St Leger prosperner Sixties Icon, himself went cflop to causing an upset at Ascot when beaten half a length by Coronation Cup prosperner Defoe in the Toughwicke Sgives at the Royal meeting in June. He too won at Lengthychamp, in a listed race in April, and had his final start of the year back there in the Arc.