Superb, sublime, stupendous; There are simply not enough superlatives for the stunning four year old mare, Danedream, who reinforced her stranglehold on German racing today with a gutsy display of determination in winning the Grosser Preis von Baden at Baden-Baden.
Sat tracking the pacemaker in third for the majority of the race, Andrasch Starke asked Danedream to deliver her challenge when slingshotting off of the final bend turning for home. Readily pushing past the pacemaker in the straight, her rivals began to queue up behind her, delivering challenge after challenge in a bid to inflict defeat on the 2011 Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe winner in her final race on German soil. With Andreas Wohler's three year old Novellist unable to capitalise on his pacemakers efforts, it was down to Ovambo Queen and Pastorius to challenge the four year old daughter of Lomitas down the long Baden-Baden stretch. Ovambo Queen had produced a finishing effort of unfathomable proportions in their prior meet over the Baden-Baden track in May and she, yet again, threw down the toughest of challenges in the final furlong of the Grosser Pries von Baden. With Danedream along the rail as her supporters propelled a wall of sound towards her flickering ears in a big to urge her home in front, Ovambo Queen delivered her challenge alongside Danedream with Pastorius on her wide outside. However, no matter how many times the Hamburg Hansa-Preis and 2012 German Derby rivals attempted to muster a further determined challenge, their efforts would be in vain and only contribute to yet another exciting finish that'll further advertise the enthralling and exciting vision that German racing creates. Unbeaten in Germany since October 2010, Danedream now heads to Longchamp to defend her Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe crown on October 7th, a task which looks to reunite her with the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes rivalry that was created in the narrow victory over John Gosden's Nathaniel back in July. The tantalising prospect of a race against the Triple Crown Elect, Camelot, also looks on the cards and many will believe Danedream could be the perfect course in a strongly run Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe to fully test the son of Montjeu's credentials on the eve of his potential retirement.
A winner of eight races in her seventeen race career thus far, Danedream has taken Europe by storm with victories in four European countries - three of which have seen her victorious at the highest level. Very few will have expected the level of improvement that Danedream has produced since her fifth-placed finish behind Aidan O'Brien's Misty For Me in the 2010 Prix Marcel Boussac, yet she has readily improved at a rate of knots throughout her three year old career and beyond. Victory in the Grosser Preis von Baden for the second successive year proved yet again that this is a mare to be cherished, one that Germany can hold dear and be proud of and one that has the utmost battling qualities to fight off any rival that dare challenge her right to reign victorious.
Today, Germany waved goodbye with a tinge of sadness in their eyes as Danedream competed in her final race in the country, but Germany can also wave goodbye with gratitude such is the sheer advertisement that Danedream has brought for German racing.
Photo Courtesy of Emma-Louise Kerwin (Goodtosoft.co.uk)