By Jon Lees
Hungary: Hungarian star Nancho, winner of the last European G1 race of 2019, has been sold to Australian interests as a potential Melbourne Cup runner.
The five-year-old gelding is to join the stable of Anthony Cummings, son of late ‘Cups King’ Bart, in Randwick, Sydney, after he has completed quarantine in Europe.
Nancho advertised the growing strength of central European racing when he followed up a Group 3 victory at Baden-Baden in October by beating Oaks fourth Manuela De Vega in the Grosser Preis von Bayern at Munich in November, when he was ridden by Mongolian jockey Bayarsaikhan Ganbat.
Originally bought for €9,000, Nancho had won eight of his nine races in Hungary for trainer Gabor Maronka before he ran in Germany.
He ended the year with a rating of 112, establishing him as his country’s best horse since Overdose, known as the ‘Budapest Bullet’.
The sale, for an undisclosed sum, was brokered by Holger Faust of HFTB Racing, who said: “To me Nancho is a kind of a freak, and I mean that in an absolutely positive way. His background is not so exciting in terms of his pedigree, where he comes from and sales history.
“At the end of the day none of that matters because he won ten of his last ten outings and what he has done in Germany against the best horses available, plus English runners from Ralph Beckett’s stable and Ashrun who had French group-winning form, was just outstanding.
“He has done all his winning over different tracks and different distances from firm ground, to very heavy, to all-weather, and from 1600m up to 2400m, so for me he is like a monster, an extraordinary horse.”
Horses with German Group-winning form have been in demand in Australia since the Andreas Wohler-trained Protectionist won the 2014 Melbourne Cup.
Faust said: “In my opinion he could be a Melbourne Cup horse. He was one of the best horses to run in Germany. I don’t see a big difference in class between Protectionist when he was running in Germany and what Nancho did in his two outings.
“Eastern Europe racing is on the up in places like the Czech Republic, Hungary and so on. They have had good runners like Nagano Gold who ran at Royal Ascot. It’s as strong as it’s ever been in the last two decades.
“Nancho will stay in quarantine for 60 days and he will go to Australia in April.”