By Jon Lees
Germany: Andreas Suborics, a multiple G1 winner as a jockey, is set to take on three-time Gold Cup winner Stradivarius at Royal Ascot with German stayer Rip Van Lips, who has just given him his latest big-race winner as a trainer.
Rip Van Lips secured a second G2 win for Cologne-based Suborics since he gave up riding when he ran out a convincing winner of the 50th running of the Comer Group International Oleander-Rennen at Hoppegarten on Sunday.
Ridden by Gerald Mosse, the five-year-old drew away from a 13-runner field to land the 2m race by two and a half lengths. He finished second in the same race last year, when it was run in November.
“The plan was if he performed like he performed yesterday the next option would be to go to Ascot for the Gold Cup,” said Suborics. “Of course it’s a big step to the Gold Cup but he loves the distance and if there is cut in the ground, that would be even better.
“We’ve also been invited to New York [for the Belmont Gold Cup Invitational] but I prefer to go to England because in Belmont Park we will find a very firm track most of the time.”
Rip Van Lips was winning for the third time in 12 starts, having missed the whole of 2019 due to injury.
“In February as a three-year-old he had a fracture and missed one year training,” said the trainer. “He had an operation and started last year and it took him most of the year to get to a better level. He now looks a much better horse than last year.
“Gerald rode him for the first time in Chantilly when he did not have the same fitness. Even Gerald was impressed with him this time. He agreed with me that he can stay all day.
“To run in the same race as Stradivarius would be great. I am realistic, I know it’s a big step but we have nothing to lose. He won the G2 in good style so why not risk it.”
As a jockey Austrian-born Suborics, 49, was a three-time German champion who rode multiple G1 winners across mainland Europe. Among the best horses he was associated with was German Derby winner Shirocco and the outstanding Hungarian sprinter Overdose, on whom he finished fourth in the 2011 King’s Stand Stakes. He is in his fifth year of training.
“I had a very good first year, the second was okay and the third quite tough because all the good horses were sold or went to stud,” he said.
“We struggled for a bit but the last two years were very good. We have some nice horses and had the best two-year-old of last year, Best Of Lips, who is now favourite for the German 2,000 Guineas. No Limit Credit ran second in a G3 in Milan behind Grocer Jack. We started with 35 horses and now have 60.”
Mosse, who at 54 is five years older than Suborics, is expected to ride at Royal Ascot. “He is a legend, one of the best,” said the trainer. “As a jockey myself I know for a race like the Gold Cup it’s better to pick a jockey like him because he is more respected. The owners will decided but it looks like he can ride him.”