View from connections ahead of Grosser Preis von Berlin

Old Persian stretches clear of his Ascot rivals
Old Persian stretches clear of his Ascot rivals

Get the view from connections and Man On The Spot verdict for Sunday's Grosser Preis von Berlin at Hoppegarten.

View from connections:

Communique will attempt to take his career to new heights with a breakthrough Group One success in the 129th Longines Grosser Preis von Berlin at Hoppegarten on Sunday.

The Mark Johnston-trained four-year-old has taken his form up a notch this season after bagging a pair Group Two victories, with the most recent coming on his last outing in the Princess of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket.

Although things failed to work out for the son of Casamento on his previous attempt at the highest level when finishing down the field in the Coronation Cup, connections are hopeful he can make his mark on this occasion.

Charlie Johnston, the trainer's son and assistant, said: "The horse has won two Group Twos and this was the most logical next step to go up to Group One level.

"We are not going to find a weaker Group One at home, so we knew we would have to be prepared to travel.

"You always have slight reservations about what you ground you will get in Germany. We went to Munich two weeks ago with Matterhorn expecting fast ground and got soft ground.

"He is fairly versatile regarding ground, but we would rather it be better ground. He should be there or thereabouts.

"People might throw at you that the horse saves his best for Newmarket or for Silvestre (de Sousa), who is in America at the weekend and can't ride.

"The horse ran to a career best (at Newmarket) and his mark was raised to 118, so that is the form he is running to and if he can reproduce that effort, he will take a lot of beating."

Communique wins at Newmarket
Communique wins at Newmarket

Charlie Appleby feels this year's Dubai Sheema Classic winner Old Persian can make his class count on his first start since finishing three places behind Communique at Epsom.

The Newmarket handler said: "Old Persian's preparation has gone well into this race. We gave him a break after the Coronation Cup and, if he brings his A-game to the race, we feel that he will be the one to beat.

"I think his victory in the Dubai Sheema Classic may have taken slightly more out of him that we thought at the time.

"He is a different horse compared to going into the Coronation Cup - he has been freshened up and looks different class now."

Man On The Spot verdict:

Communique arrives fresh from victory in a Group 2 at Newmarket last month and Mark Johnston’s colt had earlier finished in front of OLD PERSIAN in the Coronation Cup at Epsom. But the latter was having his first start since landing the Group 1 Sheema Classic over today’s trip at Meydan in March and has been rested since. Charlie Appleby’s charge looks the one to beat on that form if back to his best for this. Royal Youmzain wasn’t beaten far when third in last year’s renewal but was no match for the improving French King in a Group 2 at Hamburg in June with Alounak further behind. Henri-Alex Pantall’s raider can figure but Andoro looks up against it on his modest showing in the German Derby.

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