- WAR BLADE
Here is a
profile of War Blade, a horse Bernard and I have been fantasizing
about for more than a month now. It looks like we just can't drum
up the necessary money to buy the beast ourselves which is
heartbreaking. I wish I made speed figures for Germany but I'd be
pretty confident this horse ran around 120 Beyer when winning in
mind-boggling style on his dirt debut in Europe's only pattern
race on dirt for 3YO's, the Sandbahn Classic.
seems inclined to sell but trainer Schutz really rates War Blade
and wants to win the Dubai World Cup with the horse. The thing is,
I don't think he'll get into the race. The panel of handicappers
who assess the entrants surely won't be inclined to give War Blade
a big enough rating to ensure he gets in. They'll surely look at
his latest win as being some sort of a fluke. I bet they give him
only 112 or less. That might not even get him into the consolation
If I were
Schutz, I'd persuade the owners to ship the horse to America and
go for the Donn and Gulfstream Handicaps. I don't think that'll
we're stuck. We've only been able to offer $X and that hasn't
moved the owner to sell. Luckily no-one follows German racing,
especially their dirt racing, so War Blade has not yet been picked
up by the normal bloodstock agent's grapevine. That might change
if the horse is entered in the Dubai World Cup and some journalist
decides to interview Schutz about his chances.
I think $X
would probably swing it with War Blade, maybe even less, seeing
how awful the DMark is doing versus the dollar. The owner would
then overrule Schutz. As I see it, $X would be a bargain price.
War Blade looks nailed on to be a G1 horse and could just turn out
to be the best in America.
I should say
here that there is (as ever) a downside. War Blade apparently
fails the vet on grounds of the x-ray. We haven't yet figured out
just what this means. The thing is though, he's been running
regularly and is sound enough to go awfully quick.
Blade will have trouble running on the much faster American dirt
surfaces. Maybe he's just too big to stay sound on them. However,
he's won on firm turf against decent horses so it can't be that
big a problem.
The horse is
apparently really big. He was 1.7 meters (16.3) even as a
yearling. I can't imagine how big he must be now.
I hate to
see this horse slip by. He's almost certainly the best European
dirt runner I'm ever going to come across however long I keep
what you think.
dist gng class fin
1/8 T gd MSW 2-0.5 Made running till headed late
1/8 T gd MSW 2-3.5 Rated, rallied from home turn
1/16 T gd MSW 1-2.5 Raced third, led 2f out, ridden out
3/16 T gf Alw 1-hd no comment available
1/8 T frm Alw 1-1.5 Raced second, rallied to lead close home
3/16 fst Listed 1-20 Wide and behind early, sn led, drew off
It is tough to
analyze War Blade because I don't have all the knowledge I
normally have when looking at a horse. I don't have German speed
ratings and I don't know the form in Germany too well.
However, War Blade
does look pretty darned amazing. He's won his last four starts and
last time out he scored the widest margin win in a European
pattern race EVER. My research (below) indicates that most wide
margin pattern winners go on to become G1 performers which isn't
exactly a big shock.
Last time out in the
Sandbahn Classic, one of only four pattern races run on dirt in
Europe this year (and the only one restricted to 3YO's), War Blade
won by twenty lengths from Sixtino and Song Of Nice. Sixtino had
previously run three times in pattern company (all Listed) and had
never been beaten by such a big margin (fourth, fifth and sixth).
Song Of Nice had previously run fourth in Listed company too and
last year ran fifth by six and a half lengths in the
Winterfavoriten to Glad Master and Global Dancer (the
Winterfavoriten is Germany's top 2YO race).
The interesting thing
about War Blade's latest run is that it was his first try on dirt.
Nothing could go with him.
According to his
owner, War Blade was immature and needed to grow as a 2YO. He was
almost certainly not fit enough to do himself justice on his first
two starts but has proceeded to win his next four in a row.
HOW FAST DID HE RUN
Neuss is a very deep
and slow dirt course. The times suggest it resembles the slow
fibresand tracks in England. In fact it's even slower. I don't
have standard times for the course as yet or class pars. However,
we can get a pretty good idea of how fast War Blade ran because
there were three races run over the 1900 meter trip the day he
Here are the times
for the three races
Maiden 3YO 2:14.9
Allowance 3+ 2:15.6
War Blade 2:11.6
I guess we could
chuck out the allowance race and say that it must have been below
par. This seems unlikely because it formed part of the 'quintet',
the five televised races broadcast on German TV and which form the
most popular bet over there.
Let's say though, for
the sake of argument that the maiden race was just a bog standard
maiden race and that the fact it was faster than the allowance
race means nothing. Well, maiden races in Britain, Ireland and
France at this time of year for 3YO's all run to an average Beyer
of 85, the same as in the states. If German maiden races are the
same then War Blade ran a 113 Beyer.
Of course, if we
allow that the allowance race was a bona fide contest run in fair
time then the Beyer for War Blade would be stratospheric -
something over 120.
would be to just look at the horses War Blade beat. The second and
third had both been fourth by six or eight lengths in Listed
company. Anywhere else this would mean they were running Beyers
around the 90 mark. If we say the second ran a 90 Beyer then War
Blade ran 119 Beyer. If the second only ran 85 Beyer (which would
be on the unlikely side I'd say) War Blade ran 114.
way you cut it, War Blade ran humongously fast. There seems little
doubt he's a Grade 1 horse on dirt.
ABOUT THAT WINNING
My records only go
back eight years. In that time no horse has won a Listed or Group
race by as big a margin as the 20 lengths War Blade scored by in
the Sandbahn Classic. Turtle Island's 15 length success in the
Irish Guineas was the next greatest margin of victory in pattern
If you look at horses
that won European pattern races by six lengths or more, the
statistics are pretty heartening for War Blade's future. 50% (22
of 44) six length plus winners of Listed races went on to at least
reach the four in G1 company (12 won in G1 company).
The statistics are
actually better than they look at first glance. Some of the wins
resulted from heavy ground or marathon distances (two miles plus).
In addition, others were scored against just two or three rivals.
Still others were produced by early season two year olds that
simply enjoyed a big edge in maturity. Finally several winners
only ran once or twice afterwards or not at all. 17 of the big
margin Listed winners in fact fell into these categories. This
means that horses which were bona fide big margin Listed winners
like War Blade went on to reach the first four in G1 company 22
times out of 27 and won 12 times out of 27 at G1 level.
The results don't
provide a big enough sample of data to draw strong conclusions
from about the significance of widening margins of success.
However it is certainly true generally that the wider the margin
of victory the the more often the horse will succeed in higher
class. This being so it would appear all but certain that War
Blade will at least prove to be competitive in G1 company if not
Of course, you could
argue that since horses tend to win by bigger margins on dirt than
grass, War Blade's wide margin of success is not that significant.
However, in America, I know of only two horses that have equaled
War Blade's margin in pattern company. One was I think Dare And Go
who won by twenty lengths as well (I need to check this because
I've a feeling it was some other Mandella horse. In any event it's
that horse that beat Cigar). The other was Secretariat whose 31
length win in the Belmont Stakes is generally held to be the
widest margin of victory ever achieved in a pattern race.
Secretariat is of course also generally considered to be the best
horse ever to race in America.
War Blade's sire,
Dashing Blade, was the top 2YO of 1989, winning four of his five
starts including the G1 7f National stakes in Ireland and the G1
7f Dewhurst stakes in England. At three he won the G2 10f Prix
Eugene Adam in France and the G1 12f Gran Premio D'italiaTrofeo
Saima in Italy (by six lengths).
Dashing Blade is one
of Germany's top sires. His best progeny to date have been;
Won G3 Prix Messidor
over a mile at Deauville in France in 2,000 and G1Premio Vittorio
di Capua from Sumitas and Barathea Guest over a mile in Italy in
Won G1 Gran Criterium
in Italy over a mile in 1998 (their top 2YO race).
Won five G3's and a
G2, all over a mile, from 1997 to 2,000.
Won 2YO G3 over a
mile in Italy in 2,000. Previously second by half a length in
German G3 to Bernardon (won Germany's top 2YO race next time out).
Won 6f 2YO G3 in
Italy in 1998.
Second in 2,000
German 2,000 Guineas (G2).
Second in G2 and two
G3's. Third in G3. All over 8-11f in Germany
Second to Catella
(subsequent BC Filly & Mare Turf third) in German G2 over 10f
S'IL VOUS PLAIS
Second by three
quarters of a length in German G2 over a mile in 1995 to Tryphosa
(placed twice in G1 after).
Second in G2 Royal
Lodge stakes at two over a mile in Britain.
Second in 6f German
G2 at two.
Won Listed and placed
several Group sprints in UK, including third in G1 Nunthorpe
Won two G3's in
Germany over a mile and ten furlongs. Placed in several other
Group races, including third in German G1 over 10 furlongs.
Third in two G2's and
one G3, all in Germany over a mile to a mile and a sixteenth.
Dashing Blade has had
good winners at a wide range of distances. However, if you look at
his 17 biggest earners aged three and up, a dozen of them were
best over 8-10 furlongs.
Only one of his
progeny had tried dirt as far as I can trace before War Blade so
no viable statistics are possible in this area. Going-wise, there
seems to be no strong preference. Dashing Blade's have won on very
firm and very soft turf (Dashing Blade himself was kept to good or
firmer turf for all his career)
War Blade's dam,
Warluskee (1992 filly by Dancing Brave), won over a mile and a
half. War Blade is her first foal to race. She died while foaling
him (maybe because the delivery was complicated by War Blade's
Walesiana has also foaled;
WAITING GAME (1994
colt by Reprimand)
Won seven furlong
race on the 'All Weather' (dirt) at Southwell in Britain on his
debut. Second by a head to subsequent big handicap winner (and
Listed placed) Further Outlook next time. Only two subsequent
starts (broke down in second of them).
WALPOLE (1995 colt by
Ran just once when
last in good Newmarket maiden.
ZAHRAT DUBAI (1996
filly by Unfuwain)
Won G3 Musidora
stakes and G1 Nassau stakes (both a mile and a quarter). Third G1
Epsom Oaks (12f) and fourth G1 Yorkshire Oaks (12f)
EDHKERINI (1997 filly
Mohammed-owned filly. Unfit on only start to date (May 2,000) when
third to subsequent Listed winner Riyafa in a maiden race.
3-0-8-3-0 (14) DI = 1.00 CD = 0.21 | *
* - Reine-De-Course
REEF* b. 1968 [CS]22-d
(GB) b. 1975
HARDIEMMA (GB) b. 1969 1-l
ELEGANT TERN SEA-BIRD (FR)* ch. 1962 [S] 2-n
1971 PRIDES PROFILE 1963 4-r
(GB)* ATAN ch. 1961 2-f
ch. 1969 ROCCHETTA (GB) 1961 5-i
TROPIQUE (FR) b. 1952 22-a
HEART 1952 2-o
(CAN)* b. 1961 [BC] 2-d
GOOFED ch. 1960 17-b
NAVAJO DRONE gr. 1966 1-l
1974 OLMEC* 1966 3-d
APPEAL APPIANI (ITY) b. 1963 4-f
1970 STERNA (GER) br. 1960 5-d
WONDROUS PRINCE IPPI
b. 1969 1-s
WELTWUNDER 1962 4-o