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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 671 vom Freitag, 04.06.2021

The racecourse at Düsseldorf, situated on a wooded hill known as the Grafenberg, is undoubtedly one of the most attractive in Germany. Last Sunday´s fixture, with one of the best cards so far this season including two Group Two races, took place in perfect early summer weather, but of course without racegoers, so that there was very little atmosphere, a great shame as there was excellent racing with some notable winners. The ground had dried out after the miserable cold and wet weather which had been experienced for most of April and May, and the going was on the fast side. When conditions are like this, front-runners are heavily favoured at this rather sharp track, and that was the case again on Sunday, when five of the eleven races were won by a horse making all the running, which sometimes looks easy but requires great skill from the jockey in the saddle, who has to judge the pace exactly right.

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Ausgabe 670 vom Freitag, 28.05.2021

The long Whit weekend featured three major races for 3yo´s, all with a direct bearing on the two major German classics, the German Derby at Hamburg on Juily the and the Preis der Diana (Oaks) at Düsseldorf on August 1st. They were the Derby Trial and the Diana Trial at Hoppegarten on Sunday and the Mehl-Mülhens-Rennen (2,000 Guineas) at Cologne on Monday. However instead of clarifying the situation, if anything they muddied the waters still further. All three races ended with an exciting finish, and none of the three winners scored by more than three parts of a length, and it looks quite likely that the form could well be reversed before the season is out.

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Ausgabe 669 vom Freitag, 21.05.2021

The racing season is now entering its hottest phase, not only in Germany but also in the other leading European countries. In Germany we have next week the local equivalents of the 2,000 Guineas at Cologne on Whit Monday and the 1,000 Guineas at Düsseldorf next Sunday. The Irish versions of both races will be run at The Curragh this weekend, while the Italian Derby (with German contestants) will be run at Rome on Sunday. There are now only two weeks before the Epsom Derby meeting, with the French Derby the same weekend.

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Ausgabe 668 vom Freitag, 14.05.2021

Last Sunday's Group Two Comer Group International 50th Oleander-Rennen was arguably the best race run this season in Germany, at least for older horses, and was also the richest with 100,000 euros in prize-money, thanks to the generosity of the sponsors, whose European HQ is in Berlin. The Hoppegarten Irish Race Day, usually one of the most atmospheric fixtures of the year was of course run without spectators, so the usual razzamattazz was missing, but at least the owners were there (some of them anyway), the Irish Ambassador was there and so was Luke Comer, once again trying to win back some of his own money.

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Ausgabe 667 vom Freitag, 07.05.2021

This German racing proverb means literally “fitness beats class” and implies that in the early weeks of the season, horses with current form can often defeat higher-rated horses coming off a break since last season. This applies particularly to the early classic trials, as we saw last weekend in Germany when the two most important races, both classic trials, were won by horses that had already had a run this season, and they defeated several fancied horses from the big stable who were making their seasonal debut. Of course, it is quite possible that they won because they were the best horses in the race, but time will tell, and this writer would not be at all surprised to see the form overturned in high summer.

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Ausgabe 666 vom Freitag, 30.04.2021

It is always one of the most interesting features of every new season in horse racing to see how the form of the previous year´s top performers work out. This of course is particularly true of the previous year´s juveniles who are now the new classic crop. In Germany, where most breeders have their main focus on the classics and as a general rule the locally-bred performers can show huge improvement from two to three, and often continue improving for years to come, it is quite often the case that the top three-year-olds had shown very little at two and very often never even ran at that age. In fact, four of the last ten German Derby winners never ran as juveniles.

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Ausgabe 665 vom Freitag, 23.04.2021

The only racing in Germany for the past 12 days was staged at Cologne last Sunday, a mammoth card with 12 races including the Group Two Carl Jaspers-Preis for 4yo´s and up over 2400 metres as well as three interesting races for 3yo´s with several classic clues. The Group Two race, previously known as the Gerling-Preis, was the best race run here so far this year. The field of six included ther 2017 German Derby winner Windstoss (Shirocco) and stable companion Kaspar (Pivotal), both Gestüt homebreds trained by Markus Klug, local hopes Sunny Queen, trained by Henk Grewe and winner last year of the Group One Grosser Preis von Bayern, and two trained by Peter Schiergen, top stayer Quian (Mastercraftsman) and Nerium (Camelot) as well as consistent Dato (Mount Nelson).

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Ausgabe 664 vom Freitag, 16.04.2021

Although all the German black type races so far this year have been for 4yo´s and older horses, it has been the 3yo crop that has been of most interest with the classic races now not too far off. And as a result of the races we have seen this month there has been quite a shake-up in the ante-post betting on the German Derby, due to be run at Hamburg on July 4th. Throughout the winter, Mythico (Adlerflug), trained by Jean-Pierre Carvalho, was Derby favourite after his convincing win in the Herzog von Ratibor-Rennen last November, but he ran very disappointingly last Sunday in Longchamp and has been pushed out to 19-1 by Racebets (whose process I am quoting here).

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Ausgabe 663 vom Freitag, 09.04.2021

There was plenty of racing over Easter worldwide and some very surprising results. The most valuable race in Europe was the Irish Grand Narional at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday, which went to the 150/1 shot Freewheeling Dylan, who had been bought for a mere 13.000 euros as a 3yo store at Goffs Land Rover Sale, and earned over 15 times that amount here. It was the highest winning SP ever in the race, but at Hong Kong the main event, the Group Two Sprint Cup went to the 178-1 (!”) chance, the NZ-bred Amazing Star, who had  been sold as a yearling for NZ$ 30,000 (about 18,000 euros if my information is correct) and picked up a huge amount here.

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Ausgabe 662 vom Freitag, 02.04.2021

GaloppOnline published a very amusing spoof story today in honour of the date, but we shall try to keep serious as the flat season is now getting under way, with the huge Dubai World Cup Meeting last Saturday and group and listed races all over Europe this coming Easter weekend. This is not to say that the N.H. season is over – far from it. This weekend we have a big jumps meeting in Ireland (Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday) and in France (Auteuil). The Aintree Grand National Meeting begins on Thursday of next week with the big trace itself on the Saturday and the last big N.H. meeting in Ireland is the Punchestown Festival at the end of the month. We are confident that there will be plenty of winners at these meetings sired by German stallions, especially the various sons of Monsun standing in Ireland, although all racing will of course be behind closed doors.

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Ausgabe 661 vom Freitag, 26.03.2021

It looks as if the long winter is finally over and the turf season is now under way. Last Sunday we had the first turf fixture of 2021 in Germany, a low level affair in Krefeld, but with two interesting 3yo winners (see below) while we also had the first group race on grass of the season at Saint-Cloud – the Prix Exbury, in which German raider Grocer Jack finished a respectable fourth, and there was also racing at the Curragh, while this weekend Doncaster will mark the traditional start of the season in the U.K. with two listed races and the Lincoln Handicap, a reference to the fact that this meeting was originally held at the now defunct Lincoln Racecourse, which began operations in 1763 and closed down in 1964.

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Ausgabe 660 vom Freitag, 19.03.2021

It is very pleasing in these difficult days to report good news, but that is certainly the case following this week´s reports of developments from Baden-Baden and Iffezheim racecourse.The racecourse, by any measure Germany´s top track, lies about eight miles of the resort town of Baden-Baden in the village of Iffezheim, close to the river Rhine and the French border. The racecourse was originally founded by French gamblers in 1858 but the French pulled out after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870/71 and the Internationaler Club was started in 1872 to take over the management of the racecourse.

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