YES, IT’S A WINNER FROM THE VERY FIRST RACE BACK: Cosa Ban 44 days ago was Daqman’s last winner in England and Ireland but he scored first race back, albeit in Germany, as Europe rejoined the racing scene, to be followed by Cologne (today) and more on the German scene before Monday’s magnificent trials card with Group races at Longchamp in France. Today’s headlines:

🔹 WE DIDN’T MIND THEM ROBBING US Daqman on the first day back
🔹 SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS IN COLOGNE Selections for eight races
🔹 MOON BEST OF THE TWO GROUP RACES Look out for the supernap


It was Majestic! After 44 days since I’d tipped a winner, 44 days after landing a 7-1 shot in Ireland called ‘Ban’, whose name would be prophetic.

Those days have been full of nothing but ghosts, even if you count my 18-1 Potters Corner, first choice for value in the Grand National.

He was only an image, too, a virtual horse in a computer race on April 4. Ever since, I’ve been writing of horses gone by and their ghost riders, or horses to come in possible races that never happened.

Then yesterday, first try, I landed Majestic Colt, a winner at Hannover at 27-10, and pleased to report his odds on BETDAQ Sportsbook in the morning had given me value at 4.5. Here’s how I saw the day:


Your money or your life. Masked men flew down the straight at Hannover racecourse yesterday, watched in silence with the crowd dispersed in solitary confinement all over Europe.

But the echo of empty tracks had been with us so long we weren’t going to complain about the minor details or worry about losing small stakes to a big occasion.

Some with masks to match their silks, Germany’s daredevils rode into history to return horseracing to its Springtime surge of Classic optimism and the sheer joy of green grass trod at speed by expertly trained thoroughbreds.

We didn’t have the atmosphere, each one of us locked away in splendid isolation, but at last were able to share again in the sport we love.

Winners at 27-1, 33-1 and 39-1 robbed us all right. Only first and last favourites in 12 races passed the post first.

I had tried to set the scene in the manner of trainers in combat, as we would surely be seeing in England now: Aidan O’Brien versus John Gosden.

I wasn’t disappointed yesterday in Hannover, but the aspirants were Markus Klug, champion German trainer three years running (2016-18), and Andreas Wohler, one of the few to have stolen the Melbourne Cup from the Aussies.

But what stirred the solitary crowd – dispersed on their many personal screens across Europe – was the jockey battle which scooped six winners for the combatants.

Leading jockey of 2020 so far, Maxim Pecheur, and the 2019 champion Bauyrzhan Murzabayev, were each booked for 11 races out of the 12, and they turned day into twilight from 1 o’clock to 6.30 with their heroics, scoring three times each.

⚠️ HEADS UP: Victor Ludorum and Ecrivain, the colt he beat only a length into fourth in the Lagardere, have both been backed for Monday’s Prix Fontainebleau revenge match at Longchamp.


⚠️ HEADS UP: Football fans will go for goal at Cologne today with a coincidence double: Suarez runs in the 4.30 and Iniesta in the 5.00 race. Back of the net!

⭕ 1.00 Cologne (1m conditions race): Aviateur and Sibelius drop back from Group company. Aviateur has been absent for a year and his best form is on the soft.

Sibelius, 3.25 in BETDAQ Sportsbook this morning, ran here in the German 2,000 Guineas and at Hamburg in the Deutsches Derby.

His trainer, Markus Klug, scored twice at Hannover yesterday, and jockey Maxim Pecheur landed a hat-trick.

⭕ 1.30 Cologne (1m 3-y-o maiden) Klug puts up apprentice star Martin Seidl on the debutant Sean, a son of Excelebration, who goes down in history for his five times placed – four seconds and a third – behind Frankel.

⭕ 2.00 Cologne (1m 1f 3-y-o fillies maiden): Markus Klug wants this one, too! He saddles Accola and Sea Of Love (Maxim Pecheur) at the front of the market.

But there’s strong opposition from New Harzburg (Andrasch Starke) for Henk Grewe and from the Helmet filly, Queen’s Crown (3.25 on BETDAQ), whose connections equalled the Klug-Pecheur trainer-jockey tally yesterday: Andreas Wohler 2, Bauyrzhan Murzabayev 3.

⭕ 2.30 Cologne (1m 3f 3-y-o maiden) Frau Yasmin Almenrader was one of the women trainers to score at Hannover yesterday, with Adrie De Vries landing her a maiden via Vive En Liberte.

They team up in another maiden here with Coriolan, by Champs Elysees from the family of Zilzal: 10.0 in the BETDAQ Sportsbook as I write.

⭕ 3.00 Cologne (7f handicap) Trainer Frank Fuhrmann, fourth in the title race last year, took an early early lead in 2020.

He borrowed the in-form Maxim Pecheur to land a gamble on Gainsborough Hat in a Hannover handicap yesterday.

He has just taken over the maiden Uh Oh Chongo from the Yorkshire yard of Michael Easterby. Is this a hidden horse or was the doyen of England’s northern trainers taking the mickey? Uh oh!

⭕ 3.30 Cologne (1m 1f handicap) Another woman trainer, Frau Laura Giesgen; another sold out of England, this time from Alan Jones’s Somerset stable.

I’m talking about Big Ian, who started life with Richard Hannon. But he hasn’t much form; nor has the favourite, Power Bullet.

I fancy a Scottish ‘bridesmaid’ (a winner at Lingfield but 11 times second, mainly on tracks in Scotland).

That’s Irish-bred New Abbey Angel, who has moved to Germany from Keith Dalgleish in Lanarkshire. Any one of those placed efforts could have been good enough here: 13.0 is too big on BETDAQ.


⭕ 4.00 Cologne (1m 2f Group 3) Wonderful Moon, placed here earlier, stormed home 12 lengths in a two-year-old race of today’s level at Krefeld in the autumn, and looks the day’s banker.

⭕ 5.00 Cologne (1m 3f Group 2) Be My Sheriff likes to lead and he was run out of it here at Koln by French King, who would win the Berlin Cup at Hoppegarten and ran in the Arc.

The Sheriff has never scored above Listed level.

Windstoss, the 2017 German Derby winner, has not landed a prize since he followed up here at Koln in the prestigious Preis Von Europa in September of that year.

Like Be My Sheriff, Windstoss is six years old now and both may be vulnerable to a younger horse.

Step forward Ashrun, from the in-form Wohler stable. Won twice last summer, including at Group-3 level at Deauville, and narrowly beaten for a Group 1 at Munich in November. I took 3.75 on BETDAQ.


1.00 Cologne (win 10)
BET 4.4pts win SIBELIUS

2.00 Cologne (win 10)
BET 4.4pts win QUEEN’S CROWN

2.30 Cologne (win 20)

3.30 Cologne (win 20)

4.00 Cologne (supernap)

5.00 Cologne (win 10)
BET 3.5pts win ASHRUN

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