Nightflower Takes Second Europa

Powerful rally propelled Dylan Thomas filly to the lead in the final 50 yards.

Jurgen Imm's homebred Nightflower captured the Preis von Europa (Ger-I) for the second successive year Sept. 25 at Cologne.

Andrasch Starke coaxed a powerful, sustained rally through the final furlong from the 4-year-old Dylan Thomas filly, who collared brief leader Red Cardinal with 50 yards to run and edged past to win by three-quarters of a length. 

Nightflower landed last year's edition of the race by a length from Sirius, who was never a factor this year, finishing seventh of eight runners, while 2016 German Oaks (Ger-I) victress Serienholde came in last.

Nightflower was timed in 2:29.30 for 2,400 meters (about 1 1/2 miles) on turf rated good. Trained by Peter Schiergen, the filly's 14 starts are topped by three wins, including the 2015 Diana-Trial (Ger-II), and seven seconds, four of which came in group I company, most notably two editions of Germany's top race, the Grosser Preis von Baden, in 2015 behind Prince of Gibraltar and Sept. 4 behind Iquitos.

Iquitos could have stamped himself as Germany's top middle-distance runner with a win Sunday, but after a bump at the start and a collision with an opponent, he raced at the back of the field and never got into contention.

Three-year-old filly Kasalla made the lead early, with David Simcock's British raider Red Cardinal chasing the leader and Nightflower close up. Red Cardinal bid for command 300 meters out, then switched to the inside for a clear run and took charge 100 meters out, but Nightflower came on too strong. Kasalla kept on for third, just a short head back.

Nightflower was bred in Ireland by Imm's Stall Nizza. Her dam is 2009 Oaks d'Italia (Ity-II) winner Night of Magic, by Peintre Celebre.

Elsewhere in Europe Sunday, Philippe Bellaiche's Waikika landed her first top-level victory in the Premio Vittorio di Capua (Ity-I) at San Siro racecourse in Milan, edging Charlie HIlls' British-based Jallota by a neck.

Ridden by Gerald Mosse for trainer Yann Barberot, French-bred Waikika covered 1,600 meters (about one mile) in 1:34 on turf rated good after overhauling pacesetter Kapersky nearing the final furlong. She stayed on under pressure from Mosse and was always holding the runner-up. Kapersky stayed on for third, another three-quarter of a length back.

Five-year-old Waikika, a minor stakes winner in France who was previously twice group III-placed at Deauville, is by Whipper from the Green Tune mare Fruhling Feuer. Barberot plucked her from the 2012 Arqana October yearling sale for €15,000 ($19,535), where Haras d'Etreham presented her as agent. She was bred by Pontchartrain Stud and Revilo Park Stud.