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Breeding & Racing in Germany

David Conolly-Smith: www.galoppfoto.de - Frank SorgeDavid Conolly-Smith: www.galoppfoto.de - Frank SorgeIn order to be of assistance to our growing number of readers from abroad, we are with immediate effect publishing in every issue of Turf Times an English page, giving in compact form all the latest racing and breeding news from Germany in English. It will be written by the well-known racing journalist David Conolly-Smith, who has lived in Germany for many years. He is the German representative of the International Racing Bureau and writes regularly on German racing and breeding for the Racing Post, Irish Field, EBN, TRC and many other publications.

Ausgabe 569 vom Freitag, 24.05.2019

The German racing paper „Sport-Welt“ headlined its issue last week for the meeting at Cologne featuring the Mehl-Mülhens-Rennen (German 2,000 Guineas) with the phrase “historic classic”, referring to the fact that never before had eight foreign-trained horses run in the first German classic of the season. Six of them were trained in the U.K. and one each in Ireland and France. In the event the race turned out to be a historic disaster from the German point of view. The first five home (i.e. all the prize-money!) were English-trained, the Irish runner was sixth and the other English runner seventh. The French filly was never in the race and finished last, while the three German runners took the eighth, ninth and tenth places, a complete whitewash for the home team.

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Ausgabe 568 vom Freitag, 17.05.2019

The Group Two Oleander-Rennen over two miles, run last Sunday at Berlin´s racecourse Hoppegarten, is Germany´s best staying race and this year attracted three runners from Ireland, appropriately enough as the fixture is promoted as Irish Race Day and the main sponsor is Irish billionaire Luke Comer, who has made a fortune in the construction and property business. He was also the owner-trainer of two of the Irish runners, but they were regarded as rank outsiders while their compatriot, Willie Mullins´ Thomas Hobson (Halling) was the odds-on favourite following several excellent performances in top staying races last year.

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Ausgabe 567 vom Freitag, 10.05.2019

Gütersloh trainer Andreas Wöhler seems to have a very strong hand for the upcoming top races in Germany, and he saddled three good three-year-old winners this week. At Cologne on Sunday, he won both the races for this age group, first with Hans Wirth´s homebred filly Candy Crush (Lord of England), who scored over nine furlongs, and then with Gestüt Ittlingen´s homebred Laccario (Scalo), who was hardly out of a canter to win over eleven furlongs. Candy Crush was unplaced on her two previous starts, and Wöhler commented that she had run green, but was much better this time; she still needs more experience, but in the long run she could be a black type performer.

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Ausgabe 566 vom Freitag, 03.05.2019

Two of the most important German classíc trials were run this week, but the rather inconclusive results have only served to muddy the waters further. The German Derby in recent years has been virtually monopolized by three trainers – Markus Klug, Peter Schiergen and Andreas Wöhler – and they all had fancied runners in Krefeld´s Dr. Busch-Memorial on Sunday, but the rather surprising winner was Gestüt Ravensberg´s homebred Winterfuchs (Campanologist), trained in Iffezheim by Carmen Bocskai and ridden by Sibylle Vogt, currently the most successful lady trainer and lady jockey respectively in Germany.

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Ausgabe 565 vom Freitag, 26.04.2019

This is the time of year when classic trials are in the spotlight, and Germany is no exception. Last Monday we saw a good trial at Cologne for the German 1,000 Guineas (at Düsseldorf on May 26th, the German classics all being run several weeks later than the equivalent races in the U.K.).This was won in tremendous style by Team Valor´s Axana (Soldier Hollow), trained by Andreas Wöhler, winning this race for the fourth time in six years, and the trainer seems to have a very strong hand to play this season. Axana´s performance was certainly the best by a German three-year-old so far this year; this is also the opinion of the handicapper who has bumped her up by six kilos (almost a stone) to a GAG of 94(= international 108), making her currently the top-rated filly in Germany. She is also early favourite in betting on the German 1,000 Guineas, and second favourite for the Preis der Diana (Oaks) on August 4th, also at Düsseldorf.

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Ausgabe 564 vom Freitag, 19.04.2019

Last Sunday´s Düsseldorf meeting saw Germany´s first group race of the year, the Kalkmann Frühjahrs-Meile, which went as expected to the odds-on favourite Stormy Antarctic (Stormy Antlantic), trained in Upper Lambourn by Ed Walker and owned by Pak Kwan Siu, whose red and black colours are familiar to racegoers in Hong Kong. They are also familiar to racegoers in Germany as Stormy Antarctic won the Group Two Badener Meile last year and then finished an excellent runner-up to Benbatl (Dubawi) in the Group One Grosser Dallmayr-Preis, the highest-rated race in Germany in 2018. Both those races could be on his programme this year, and the trainer has stated that his main objective now is to win a Group One race with the six-year-old gelding, with the Munich race an obvious target.

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Ausgabe 563 vom Freitag, 12.04.2019

So, Brexit has been postponed until October, which means up to six more months of agony, as the hopeless and hapless U.K. government under the incompetent Theresa May tries to dig itself out of the hole caused by David Cameron´s disastrous referendum. However there is one item of good news: it was confirmed this week that the E.U. has agreed that the U.K. will in any case be granted “third country status” after Brexit regarding the free movement of live animals. At the moment the tripartite agreement between the U.K. France and Ireland regulates this, and third country status basically means the status quo will be maintained. This is of great importance to the U.K. racing and bloodstock industries and also especially to the Irish, as most Irish horses travel via England when coming to the mainland. By extension it can also only be positive for Germany.

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Ausgabe 562 vom Freitag, 05.04.2019

There have so far been only a handful of races for three-year-olds in Germany this year, and they have almost all been for maidens, but the pace is now beginning to hot up and there will be plenty of classic hopefuls making their seasonal appearances this month. That said, last Sunday´s race for three-year-old maidens at Cologne over 1850 metres looked extremely strong, and it looks certain that the first four home will all be involved in black type races before long; all four are entered in the IDEE 150th Deutsches Derby, to be run at Hamburg on July 7th,, as well as in other top races.

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Ausgabe 561 vom Freitag, 29.03.2019

Racing in Germany moves into a higher gear with the advent of spring. Last Sunday we had an informative meeting at Düsseldorf, with three races for three-year-olds featuring some interesting prospects for this year´s classics, and this Sunday there is a good card at Cologne, 20 miles up the Rhine, with the first black type race of the year.

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Ausgabe 559 vom Freitag, 15.03.2019

As expected, there was a good international entry for the Group Two Oleander-Rennen in Hoppegarten on May 12th, Germany´s top race for stayers, including several from the U.K. There were also some U.K. entries for Cologne´s Carl Jaspers-Preis (ex-Gerling) a week earlier. Obviously any possible runners from the U.K. will depend on what happens in the British parliament and if the crazy catastrophe called Brexit goes ahead, and in what form. The EU is clearly getting fed up with the unbelievable incompetence of the British government, but it is essential that we have some agreement in place by the end of this month regarding the movement of horses (and much else besides!), otherwise we could be in a situation where it would be virtually impossible for horses trained in the U.K.to run in German races. We devoutly hope that this situation will not arise and that a solution can be found.

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Ausgabe 558 vom Freitag, 08.03.2019

This Sunday sees the final sand track fixture of the German winter season. Since last December we have had an unrelieved diet of mainly low level handicaps on the sand tracks at Neuss and Dortmund, always on a Sunday and usually starting at the unearthly hour of 10.50 a.m. This time is in order to keep French punters occupied – presumably after going to early morning mass - before the main action of the day starts at the Paris trotting track of Vincennes. The French PMU shows the German races on their Equidia channel, and the French betting turnover on these races is many, many times higher than the local punters stake. The average on track turnover at these meetings averages 20,000 euros, but once the turf season begins – at Krefeld on the Sunday of next week -  we can expect a significant rise in betting as the top stables start to swing into action.

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Ausgabe 557 vom Freitag, 01.03.2019

This seems a very convenient week to look at the huge impact that German thoroughbreds, or at least those with German connections, have made on Australian racing in recent years. The anomaly of Australian racing is that the local breeders concentrate almost entirely on producing sprinters, but the country´s most valuable and iconic race is the Melbourne Cup over two miles. For a long time New Zealand breeders took advantage of this situation, and dominated the “race that stops a nation” for many decades, but since Dermot Weld stunned the locals by sending Vintage Crop (Rousillon) from Ireland to win the Melbourne Cup in 1993, and then followed up with Media Puzzle (Theatrical) in 2002, European-breds have held sway, and German owners and breeders have profited strongly from this trend.

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