‘Best I’ve ever trained’ – new German star Wonderful Moon set for Arc entry

Horse Racing Wonderful Moon
Wonderful Moon (Andrasch Starke) en route to winning last week’s Cologne Classic.
Photo: Marc Rühl/Deutscher Galopp

By Jon Lees

Germany: Germany’s champion trainer Henk Grewe is to enter his Cologne Classic winner Wonderful Moon in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe believing he could be the best horse he has trained.

The three-year-old colt, the joint top-rated two-year-old in Germany last year after winning his final race by 12 lengths, made an impressive start to his campaign with another comfortable victory in Friday’s G3 to underline his Deutsches Derby credentials.

The success kickstarted a brilliant weekend for the Cologne trainer who completed a clean sweep of the first three Group prizes of the delayed German season with Be My Sheriff in the Carl Jaspers-Preis and Rubaiyat in the Dr Busch-Memorial.

Horse Racing Henk Grewe trainer
German champion trainer Henk Grewe: former successful amateur rider trains over 100 horses.
Photo: Marc Rühl/renstall-grewe.de

Grewe said: “It’s been a bit difficult because we didn’t know when the races were going to be on so the races might not have been a perfect fit but the horses handled it all very well.”

Wonderful Moon, a son of Sea The Moon, won his race easing down to earn high praise from Grewe, who has been training in his own right since 2014.

“I think he is a special horse, probably the best I have ever trained,” he said. “I hope he stays fit and healthy and then we will have a very good horse for the German Derby. He will have one more trial, in a G2 over 2,000 metres (1m2f) also in Cologne.”

Longer term, Grewe is eyeing an even bigger target in the shape of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, last won by a German-trained horse in 2011 with Danedream, whose rider Andrasch Starke is now Grewe’s stable jockey.

“Wonderful Moon will get an Arc entry on Wednesday and a lot of my others will go to France once the borders open,” Grewe went on. “He still has an entry in Prix du Jockey Club but I think he will go to the German Derby because there is only one week between them.”

Rubaiyat, rated the equal of Wonderful Moon with a mark of 112 in the European Free Handicap after an unbeaten campaign, took his score to five wins but made harder work of his seasonal debut.

Grewe said: “I think he is a bit special too because when he is in front he stops. He is a five-time winner. The mile is his best distance and he will go for the German Guineas [Mehl-Mulhens-Rennen] on June 1.

Horse Racing Rubaiyat
German horse of the year Rubaiyat (Andrasch Starke) wins G3 Dr Busch Memorial at Berlin-Hoppegarten. Photo: Marc Rühl/renstall-grewe.de

“Be My Sheriff came to my stable one and a half years ago,” the trainer added. “He won two Listed races and now he has won his first Group race. It was emotional because the owner’s family [Frau Nadine Siepmann] have been involved in racing for 60 years and never had a Group winner.”

Grewe, 37, took out a licence after a riding career featuring several Group and Listed wins, and three years as assistant to Sascha Smrczek.

“I started with 12 horses and now we have over 100,” he said. “It was really fast. I am very happy because I have a great team and very good owners who send me a lot of good horses.”

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