Arc on the horizon for this new German star

Wonderful Moon: “I think he is a special horse, probably the best I have ever trained,” says trainer Hank Grewe. Photo: Marc Rühl/Deutscher Galopp

Germany’s champion trainer, Henk Grewe, is to enter his recent Cologne Classic winner Wonderful Moon in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe believing he could be the best horse he has trained, according to Horse Racing Planet.

The 3-year-old colt, the joint top-rated 2-year-old in Germany last year after winning his final race by 12 lengths, made an impressive start to his campaign with another comfortable victory in last Friday’s G3 to underline his Deutsches Derby credentials.

The success kickstarted a brilliant weekend for the Cologne trainer, who completed a clean sweep of the first three Group prizes of the delayed German season with Be My Sheriff in the Carl Jaspers-Preis and Rubaiyat in the Dr Busch-Memorial.

As a result, Grewe has burst into the TRC Global Rankings top 100, rising 43 places to #67 after a gain of ten points. He wasn’t the week’s highest climber worldwide, however. That honour fell to his stable jockey, Andrasch Starke, whose massive 14-point gain meant a 58-place rise up to #124.

Grewe said, “It’s been a bit difficult because we didn’t know when the races were going to be on, so the races might not have been a perfect fit, but the horses handled it all very well.”

Wonderful Moon, a son of Sea The Moon, won his race easing down to earn high praise from Grewe, who has been training in his own right since 2014. “I think he is a special horse, probably the best I have ever trained,” he said. “I hope he stays fit and healthy and then we will have a very good horse for the German Derby. He will have one more trial, in a G2 over 2000 metres (1m2f) also in Cologne.”

Longer term, Grewe is eyeing an even bigger target in the shape of the Arc, last won by a German-trained horse in 2011 with Danedream, whose rider, Andrasch Starke, is now Grewe’s stable jockey.

“Wonderful Moon will get an Arc entry and a lot of my others will go to France once the borders open,” Grewe said. “He still has an entry in Prix du Jockey Club, but I think he will go to the German Derby because there is only one week between them.”

Rubaiyat, rated the equal of Wonderful Moon with a mark of 112 in the European 2yo Free Handicap after an unbeaten campaign, took his score to five wins but made harder work of his seasonal debut.

Grewe said, “I think he is a bit special too because, when he is in front, he stops. He is a five-time winner. The mile is his best distance and he will go for the German Guineas [Mehl-Mulhens-Rennen] on June 1.

“Be My Sheriff came to my stable one and a half years ago,” the trainer added. “He won two listed races and now he has won his first Group race. It was emotional because the owner’s family [Frau Nadine Siepmann] have been involved in racing for 60 years and never had a Group winner.”

Grewe, 37, took out a licence after a riding career featuring several Group and listed wins, and three years as assistant to Sascha Smrczek.

“I started with 12 horses and now we have over 100,” he said. “It was really fast. I am very happy because I have a great team and very good owners who send me a lot of good horses.”

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