In the five years since Protectionist pulled off a massive coup by landing the 2014 Melbourne Cup, there has been something of a lull in Germany’s ability to produce winners of the world’s top races.

At the start of this decade, the title ‘German Horse of the Year’ carried real kudos, with Danedream, Novellist and Sea The Moon winning the award in four straight seasons, but since then the roll of honour has been enlarged by three relative global non-entities, Nightflower, Dschingis Secret and Iquitos (twice).

Now, with the emergence of a new German superstar in the shape of Laccario, favourite for today’s Group 1 Longines Grosser Preis von Baden, a renaissance may be about to take place, though it seems certain that we will have to wait a little longer – until next year – for the Andreas Wöhler-trained colt to be unleashed on the international stage.

Even before he has set foot outside his native land, Laccario’s credentials are impressive. He has won on all four of his appearances this term, starting when sent off at an incredibly generous 2-1 in a four-runner maiden, then moving smoothly through the grades, landing a Listed race, a Group 2 and the Group 1 German Derby, always in convincing fashion and, even in that Hamburg Classic when the margin was a length and a quarter, without getting involved in a real fight.

Some aspects of his background are familiar, others much less so.

Laccario and Eddie Pedroza captured the German Derby in July

He is owned and bred by Manfred Ostermann’s Gestut Ittlingen, owner-breeder of the 1994 and 1995 Horse of the Year, Lando. He is also freakishly inbred to Lando, who is both the sire of his sire and a half-brother to his grand dam, La Donna.

Just as remarkably, he is the only Group winner from the first three crops of the stallion Scalo, himself Horse of the Year for Ostermann in 2010. Scalo stands at a small stud near Pau, in France, and this season was covering at a paltry fee of just €2,200.

Scalo would surely have found a place at stud in Germany but for having finished his first career racing on medication in America, meaning that if he had returned home his progeny would have been ineligible for domestic breeder premiums.

The plan is for Laccario to run in the Preis von Europa but he won’t race abroad until 2020

Since Laccario beat the same horse (the now Australia-bound Django Freeman) by a shorter distance in the Derby than he did on his previous outing in the Union-Rennen, it has proved impossible for the German handicapper to give him a high rating. The presence in a close fifth in the Derby of the British-trained Surrey Thunder, beaten in French and German Group 3 and Listed races on his three previous starts, also gave the assessor little room for manoeuvre.

Yet, make no mistake, Laccario is a serious horse. After today’s race, the plan is for him to run in the Preis von Europa later this month but it won’t be until next season that he is allowed to travel.

Wöhler, meanwhile, is enjoying his usual excellent season, sending out winners at a 27% strike-rate as he lies in second place behind Henk Grewe in the German trainers’ championship.

The Gütersloh handler does, however, have some cause for regret about horses that have escaped his clutches to excel for other people in Britain during 2019.

King’s Advice, winner of three of his seven starts for Wöhler, has won eight of his ten handicap races for Mark Johnston this term, including big-money successes at Newmarket and Goodwood. Waldpfad, campaigned as a miler by Wöhler in 2017 and 2018, sprang a 33-1 shock in the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes over six furlongs at Newbury in July for his new German trainer, Dominik Moser.