By Jon Lees
Germany: Andrasch Starke has a chance to make history on big race favourite Wonderful Moon in the IDEE Deutsches Derby at Hamburg on Sunday.
Already a seven-time winner of the G1 showpiece, an eighth victory for the 46-year-old would equal the all-time record set in the last century by Gerhard Streit.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Starke, who grew up near Hamburg in the city of Stade. “It’s not going to be easy with 19 runners but I’m quite happy with my ride and confident. I have no doubt about that.”
Starke is best known internationally for his association with the brilliant German racemare Danedream on whom he won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2011 and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2012.
He is now stable jockey to Germany’s reigning champion trainer Henk Grewe who will have four runners in Sunday’s Classic, headed by Wonderful Moon, a colt he believes could be the best horse he has trained.
Wonderful Moon was Germany’s joint top-rated two-year-old last season after winning a G3 by 12 lengths and is unbeaten in two starts this term.
Starke said: “Henk is a young trainer. I think this is his fifth season and just in the last two or three years he has got some Group horses in the stable. I think so far Wonderful Moon should be his best horse in his time.
“I’ve ridden a number of good horses and he is not on my top ten right now. I hope he can improve and show me something on Sunday.
“He’s a nice horse but he has to make the next step. I don’t know how strong the three-year-old horses are right now – I don’t see so many good three-year-olds, so he has to make another step to become an international Group 1 horse.”
Streit gained six of his Derby wins around the time of the Second World War and recorded his last in 1961. Starke won the race for the first time on Robertico in 1998, enjoying further success on Samum (2000), Next Desert (2002), Schiaparelli (2006), Kamsin (2008), Lucky Speed (2013) and Nutan (2015).
“My best Derby winners were Samum, who was an outstanding horse, Next Desert and Schiaparelli, who won international Group 1 races,” said Starke.
“Wonderful Moon’s last win was not his best performance. We know why but he will show something better on Sunday.”