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2019 Preis von Europa tips – German Derby winner to bounce back to top form at Cologne

A view of the finish to last year's Preis von Europa.

Our expert takes a look through the betting for this Group One at Cologne and provides readers with his tips.


The Preis von Europa is thought of as the biggest race in Germany, outside of the Classic races that are run during the spring and summer months. Two of Germany’s most famous sons, Monsun and Youmzain claimed victory in this mile-and-a-half Group One during their illustrious careers. Many British trainers have scored in the Preis von Europa down the years too, with the names of Ian Balding, John Dunlop and Sir Mark Prescott featuring on the roll of honour.

Saeed Bin Suroor is no stranger to success in this Group One either, having saddled two winners in the early 2000s. He’s decided to send Best Solution (5/2 William Hill) back to Germany, having watched his charge claim back-to-back Group Ones here last season and the Godolphin flag-bearer has been installed as the short-priced favourite.

Best Solution stayed strong in the closing stages to claim victory in the Preis von Berlin, before getting his nose to the line just ahead of Defoe to score in the lucrative Preis von Baden. Bin Suroor’s stable star then made it four big wins in a row down in Australia, snatching victory away from Homesman in the Caulfield Cup, before running a decent race to place eight in the Melbourne Cup two weeks later.

Godolphin decided to save Best Solution for another profitable autumn campaign this year and he didn’t make his reappearance until the September Stakes at Kempton, where he looked a little rusty in crossing the line seventh. Although he’s bound to come on from that run, I think the team have their hopes set on another tilt at the Melbourne Cup and Best Solution may still be a little way short of peak fitness.

Three weeks ago, Best Solution’s Godolphin stablemate, Ghaiyyath powered to an incredible victory in the Preis von Baden, thrusting himself firmly into the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe picture. As the winner blew the field apart, Donjah came through from the rear to claim a valuable second-place finish, a result her connections considered “a victory”, considering the winner was in a league of his own.

Despite a career-best effort at Baden-Baden, I would be surprised if Donjah was able to reproduce that performance. Many of the runners ahead of her were put off their game by the sheer quality and power of Ghaiyyath and Donjah was simply on-hand to pick up the pieces. This will be a much more competitive and a truer-run race, so she offers little appeal at her current price.
Communique finished a tailed-off last that day after missing the kick, but he’s bounced back from poor performances in the past and a reproduction of his runner-up finish to French King in the Preis von Berlin could see Mark Johnston’s strong stayer go close. Aspetar has shown a very high-level of form this season too and Jason Watson’s mount is certainly not one to be discounted.

That being said, the Preis von Europa can be a funny old race. The track at Cologne often rides quicker in certain places and the field often splits entering the home straight, depending on where their jockey feels the pace is. Given their familiarity with this tricky track, I would favour backing a horse ridden by a German jockey and the runner that stands out is LACCARIO (4/1 William Hill)

Andreas Wohler’s three-year-old claimed four impressive victories during the first half of the season, a winning run which culminated in a two-length triumph in the Germany version of the Derby at Hamburg. Eduardo Pedroza hit the front a little early that day, but his mount was strong enough to see off the capable Django Freeman and hand Wohler a fourth victory in that fabled Classic.

Laccario then tackled his elders for the first time in the Preis von Baden, where Eduardo Pedroza made the mistake of trying to catch up with Ghaiyyath as the winner surged clear around the home-turn. Laccario couldn’t make any inroads as Ghaiyyath strode away and was passed by Donjah in the closing stages.

Wohler has watched his charge produce two excellent performances here at Cologne this season, most notably in the Group Two KolnBonn-Union-Rennen, where Laccario produced an excellent turn of foot under a hands-and-heels ride. Pedroza didn’t take part in last year’s edition of the Preis von Europa, but he did ride Colomano into third behind Windstoss the previous year and was on-board Laccario during both his victories here this term. 

Being drawn in stall nine isn’t ideal, but Pedroza should be able to slot in just off the pace and he should know how to ride this track better than the British riders who’re sitting aboard his principle rivals. 4/1 looks a tasty price!

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2019 Preis von Europa tips – German Derby winner to bounce back to top form at Cologne

Our expert takes a look through the betting for this Group One at Cologne and provides readers with his tips on Sunday 22nd September.

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