By Duane Fonseca
Waldemar Hickst-trained India won the 61st edition of the Group 1 Preis von Europa at Cologne with a sweeping finish down the outside under Rene Piechulek.
It was a first top tier success for the 5yo Alderflug mare, and the win brought up a first victory for both trainer and jockey in the Preis von Europa.
Piechulek and his mount did most of their running at the back of the pack of eight, cosily handling the pace set by Andreas Suborics’ Best Of Lips, who went forward under Hugo Boutin after the early skirmishes.
Jessica Harrington’s 2022 Group 2 Prix de la Nonette winner Trevaunance sat second on the outside under Hollie Doyle, while Godolphin’s Siskany, trained by Charlie Appleby, and Saeed bin Suroor’s Live Your Dream were ridden mid-division by William Buick and Oisin Murphy respectively.
India remained sixth turning for home, with Piechulek finding his mount room after cutting to the left. With two furlongs remaining, Piechulek popped the question to his four-time former Group 3 winner, who flew with a full stretch to hit the front comfortably and pull clear to a length and a quarter success as Trevaunance managed to hold on to second by a neck from Siskany.
Winning rider Piechulek said: “It was incredible to win in front of such a great backdrop.
“I always had a lot of trust in the mare. I felt the opponents breathing down our necks, but she has a great attitude and gave it her all again today.”
India’s trainer Hickst added: “India has a huge heart and it was a great ride from Rene Piechulek. She had only shown good form. We actually wanted to run in Canada first, but then decided on Cologne. The Bavarian Grand Prix in Munich at the beginning of November could still be a goal.”