By Jon Lees
Germany: Top German filly Donjah is to contest the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland, where connections believe any rain could make her a significant player.
The four-year-old scored her maiden G1 victory when she won the Preis von Europa in August, beating a field that included Dame Malliot and Barney Roy, who then turned the tables in the G1 Grosser Preis von Baden, in which Donjah finished fourth.
The filly will be a first Breeders’ Cup runner for Germany’s champion trainer Henk Grewe. She will be partnered by Clement Lecoeuvre, who is retained by Dr Stefan Oschmann’s Darius Racing, for whom Alounak finished fifth in the Turf last year.
Shirocco is the only German-bred horse to win a Breeders’ Cup, clinching the Turf in 2005 when trained by Andre Fabre.
“We were considering the Arc for Donjah,” said the owner’s racing manager Holger Faust. “We didn’t know that there would be so many late scratchings! But anyway, we decided we wanted to keep her fresh for the Breeders’ Cup.
“If it rains at Keeneland and the ground is going to be soft, or even heavy, I think she would be in the finish to win the race,” added Faust.
“But it’s her first trip like this and she is a filly – sometimes they struggle with long journeys. But if she gets there 100 per cent and the ground is heavy, we can only look forward to it.”
Keeneland’s latest meet closed on Sunday with the turf course rated good. “Right now one day the sun is shining, the other there is a bit of rain,” said Faust. “So I don’t expect firm ground, which she really doesn’t like. She can handle good but does better on soft or heavy than others.”
Darius Racing has about 25 horses in training for Oschmann, who is the CEO of pharma giant Merck. Donjah is entered in the sales later in the year.
“She is nominated for the Arqana December Sales but first of all we are looking forward to the Breeders’ Cup and after that we will make further decisions,” added Faust.