Henri-Alex Pantall: trains the German 2,000 Guineas winner
Peace At Last wins as British troop disappoint
Report: Germany, Monday
Cologne: Mehl-Mülhens-Rennen - German 2,000 Guineas (Group 2) 3yo, 1m
SIX British-trained runners lined up on a rainy afternoon at Cologne for the German 2,000 Guineas, a race dominated by the Brits this century, but it was the lone French runner Peace At Last (Henri-Alex Pantall/Fabrice Veron) who ran out the easy winner at odds of almost 30-1.
Pantall and Veron have an excellent strike rate in German black type events, but on the form book it was difficult to make a case for their runner, owned by retired British businessman Guy Heald.
Peace At Last, a handsome bay by Oasis Dream, had already run seven times with only a minor win in the French provinces to show for his labours, and a Group 2 victory seemed unlikely to say the least. However he was held up well off the strong pace set by Martin Harley on Mick Channon's Ayaar.
Mickael Barzalona on Godolphin's Tawhid hit the front nearly two furlongs out and briefly looked like winning, but Peace At Last could be seen full of running and he stormed to the front inside the final furlong, and was not hard pressed to hold the late challenge of Global Bang (Mario Hofer/Adrie de Vries), with Tawhid in third and the rest, led by Marco Botti's String Theory (Adam Kirby) ten lengths back.
Barzalona said afterwards that he committed too soon and should have waited longer and that his horse ran very green in the final furlong, but he was beaten fair and square, while the runner-up paid quite a compliment to German Derby hope Chopin, who had beaten him by eight lengths last time in the Dr. Busch-Memorial.
The unlucky horse of the race was George Baker's Boomshackerlacker, with jockey Pat Cosgrave reporting that he was almost brought down in scrimmaging on the final turn, but he did well to recover and ran on to finish fifth. Charlie Hills' One Word More (Steve Drowne) and Richard Hannon's Law Enforcement (Sean Levey) were major disappointments, finishing well back.
Levey said that his colt did not act on the track, while Drowne felt that he should have ridden a more defensive race and not chased the early speed.
But in the end the race was all about the winner, with owner Guy Heald reporting himself "pleasantly surprised." He has two dozen horses in training with Pantall and also quite a few in Newmarket.
Veron, a much underrated jockey, said afterwards that he was also taken aback, but that two factors had played into his hands: the rain-sodden track and the very strong pace.