CZECH RAIDERS SET FOR HARZBURG LISTED HURDLE
Written on 25/07/2023 by Darren Thrussell – email@example.com
The third day of this year’s Bad Harzburg racing festival on Thursday sees the only Pattern jumps race to take place in Germany this year. The Preis der Regionsbeweger hurdle is a Listed contest over 3400 metres, which has attracted five runners, two of which have made the trip over from the Czech Republic. However, both IVO and NORDSTRAND started their careers on the flat in Germany, with both finishing sixth in big money races. Ivo achieved the position in Germany’s richest two year old race of the year, the 200,000 Euro Ferdinand Leisten Memorial at Baden-Baden back on 2017, whilst Nordstrand also came home in sixth in the 2021 Group 1 German Derby at Hamburg, beaten just under five lengths.
However, whilst Nordstrand was rated some 22 kilos better than Ivo on the flat, it is Ivo who has arguably the better jumps form. Having finished runner up on no less than five of his first 12 runs over hurdles, Ivo then proceeded to win four hurdle races in a row at Merano in Italy during 2020 and 2021, including victory in a Listed contest, where he had Group 1 winners Live Your Life and Notti Magiche back in second and third respectively. An excellent second in last year’s Group 1 Gran Corsa Siepi de Milano in Milan, Ivo, trained by Alzbeta Faltejskova, and ridden on Thursday by her jockey husband Jan Faltejsek, brings genuine top class central European form to the table, and must have a big chance here.
Despite being trained by the legendary Josef Vana Snr, Nordstrand has only recorded one victory in seven races over jumps, his solitary success coming in a handicap hurdle at Treviso in April. Fifth in a Pardubice steeplechase last time out, Nordstrand reverts to hurdles again here, but looks to be the second of the Czech contenders.
However, CABOT CLIFFS comes into this race as Germany’s best hurdler, and fresh from winning over Thursday’s course and distance on Saturday, comes here in excellent form, having also beaten Ivo by six lengths in last month’s Swedish Champion Hurdle at Strömsholm. Although Ivo was returning to the course following a seven months absence and should arguably strip fitter here, the Christian von der Recke-trained Cabot Cliffs is unbeaten in three runs at Bad Harzburg, and looks the one to beat on Thursday.
The five strong field is completed by the second von der Recke runner DOTIE BOY, who faces a tough task on his German debut after finishing well down the field in there hurdle races for Irish trainer Denis Cullen, and ZEVEN FALLS, who makes the relatively short journey from trainer Christian Sprengel’s yard in Hannover. The only horse to finish in a very eventful steeplechase at Quakenbrück last September, Zeven Falls was pulled up in two hurdle races at Strasbourg earlier this year, and was a well beaten fourth at Wissembourg last time out.
In what appears to be a case of déjà vu, German-bred Czech runners from the Vana and Faltejskova yards also challenge a von der Recke-led home defence in the five runner Preis der Harzer Volksbank eG hurdle race, the second of the two jumps races on Thursday’s card. Run like the Listed hurdle over 3400 metres, the race sees the German debut of the Josef Vana-trained LA SALINERO, who despite being German bred, has raced only in the Czech Republic and Italy so far, winning a decent looking hurdle at Merano last time out. Despite his lack of experience having raced only four times, La Salinero is unexposed, and this four year old Maxios gelding looks the best of the Czech-trained duo here.
Unlike La Salinero, the Alzbeta Faltejskova-trained EISENHERZ started his career in Germany, winning three low grade staying handicaps for trainer Pavel Vovcenko before moving over to current connections last year. Having finished down the field in his first two hurdle races, Eisenherz landed a Pardubice hurdle race in April before finishing third at the same course last time out.
MASTER DEBONAIR’s German debut on Sunday ended somewhat abruptly with the English import refusing to enter the lake in the Seejgadrennen on the second day of the Bad Harzburg festival, however the nine year old’s British form was generally better over hurdles than fences, so could go well here. Along with Master Debonair, VINTAGE VALLEY makes up the Christian von der Recke-trained duo, and was third on his German debut in a hurdle race here on Saturday.
However, finishing ten lengths ahead of Vintage Valley on that occasion was ELEGANT FIGHTER, who found only Cabot Cliffs too good on Saturday. Elegant Fighter won three of his four races last year, but didn’t seem to be at home on the unique beach course at Cuxhaven on his first start this season, finishing fourth of the five runners. However, Elegant Fighter, trainer by first season handler Jörg Hartmann, jumped excellently on his hurdling debut, and with in-form lady rider Sonja Daroszewski in the saddle as she was on Saturday, could be the one to watch here.
The raceday is being broadcast LIVE on YouTube at the following link:
The first race starts at 16:00 CET / 3:00 pm UK time, and a racecard can be found here:
Jump race details:
Preis der Regionsbeweger Listed Hurdle – 18:05 CET / 5:05 pm UK time
Preis der Harzer Volksbank eG Hurdle – 19:15 CET / 6:15 pm UK time
Photo: Top Czech trainer JOSEF VANA, who saddles former German flat performer NORDSTRAND and promising four year old LA SALINERO over hurdles at Bad Harzburg on Thursday (Photo copyright Stefanie Ihlenburg / Anglo German Racing).