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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 625 vom Freitag, 03.07.2020

This week we received the sad news that Manduro (Monsun), certainly one of the best ever German-bred racehorses and stallions, has died following a heart attack at the age of 18. He was bred by Rolf Brunner and was sold as a BBAG yearling for 130,000 euros to Baron Georg von Ullmann, in whose colours he raced throughout his extremely successful career. Originally trained by Peter Schiergen, he was the top-rated German juvenile of 2004, when he won both his starts, including the prestigious Preis des Winterfavoriten by five lengths. In a shortened career as a three-year-old he won two of three starts, including the Group Three Preis der Deutschen Einheit at Hoppegarten. Transferred to Andre Fabre, he only won once at four, but was placed in all other seven starts, all in top company.

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Ausgabe 624 vom Freitag, 26.06.2020

That must certainly have been the emotion experienced by Mülheim trainer Yasmin Almenräder after Sunday´s racing at Düsseldorf, which started disastrously for her: her first runner of the day was left at the post and finished last, the next acted up at the start and had to be withdrawn, and then in the main event, the 100th running of the Group Two German 1,000 Guineas her big hope Lancade (Areion), who had been supplemented for the race, got loose in the paddock and had to be caught by a rival trainer.

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Ausgabe 623 vom Freitag, 19.06.2020

The IDEE 151st running of the Group One Deutsches Derby will be run on July 12th, one week later than originally planned because of the delays in the racing programme caused by the coronavirus crisis. The normally week long Derby meeting at Hamburg will now be concentrated into three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, all with about twelve races and starting before noon. The good news is that the prize money for the Derby remains unchanged at 650,000 euros, making it not only by far the richest race in Germany but also one of the most valuable in Europe, as most leading countries such as France, the U.K. and Ireland have all sharply reduced their prize money. Only Italy is otherwise keeping race values at the old level, as the money is paid there out of ministry funds – but often with a very long delay.

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Ausgabe 622 vom Freitag, 12.06.2020

It was a relatively low key weekend in Germany this time, with no group races. However we had listed races at Düsseldorf on Saturday and Hanover on Sunday, with the Derby Trial at the former track the most interesting event as far as the future is concerned. Normally this is not one of the strongest trials, but it was won last year by Laccario (Scalo), who went on to win the Union-Rennen and then the German Derby, so the winner Adrian (Reliable Man) has a lot to live up to.

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Ausgabe 621 vom Freitag, 05.06.2020

We had another successful long weekend in Germany with two Group Two races – the Diana Trial at Hoppegarten and the Mehl-Mülhens-Rennen (German 2,000 Guineas) at Cologne – as the main features. The mild winter and dry spring meant that most leading trainers already have their strings in good form despite the enforced break, with the usual suspects such as Andreas Wöhler and Peter Schiergen well to the fore. However the trainers who have so far dominated the top races are two relative youngsters, Cologne-based Henk Grewe (37) and Munich´s Sarah Steinberg (32).

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Ausgabe 620 vom Freitag, 29.05.2020

For the third successive weekend Germany staged racing under the usual lockdown conditions, and once again all well went. Baden-Baden had twelve races, including two group races, on both Saturday and Sunday and one has to say that the meeting was a complete success, although the atmosphere was certainly weird with no spectators, no foreign runners and no on course betting. However the betting turnover, all off course or online, held up really well and was indeed very good by German standards, although peanuts compared to Japan, where the turnover on last week´s Oaks (Yushun Himba) – also run behind closed doors - was apparently five times more than the entire year´s turnover on all races in Germany.

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Ausgabe 619 vom Freitag, 22.05.2020

After the successful resumption of German racing a fortnight ago, we had an equally successful second week of racing – all behind closed doors, of course - with Munich staging racing last Friday with Düsseldorf on Saturday and Cologne on Sunday. All these fixtures also proceeded well with no problems, and it is clear that we are going to have to get used to this kind of racing with no spectators, strict distancing and jockeys wearing face masks for quite a long time to come. Germany appears to be coping much better with the coronavirus crisis than most other countries and restrictions are very slowly being relaxed. The German racing authorities have now published a provisional list of fixtures up to the end of August, and it is expected that all these meetings will still be held behind closed doors, although it is possible that slightly more people will at some stage be allowed on to the racecourse, e.g. owners, although always under strict conditions.

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Ausgabe 618 vom Freitag, 15.05.2020

These are difficult times for almost everybody, but it must be said that the past week has been very positive for the German racing and breeding industries. On the one hand, there have been some good results for German-bred runners and stallions in several different countries, and on the other, the resumption of racing after a two month break last week in Hanover (Thursday), Cologne (Friday), Mülheim (Saturday) and Hoppegarten (Sunday) must be regarded as a complete success.

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Ausgabe 617 vom Freitag, 08.05.2020

„Equal goes it loose“ was the phrase which German president Heinrich Lübcke – according to legend- uttered to Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her state visit to Germany in 1965. What he meant to say was: “It is about to start now”. And that is the situation in which we now find ourselves. As your correspondent pens these lines, it is only a few minutes before racing starts at Hanover, the first race meeting on German soil since the coronavirus lockdown came into effect in March. In fact the first racing in any major European country, as France is due to resume on Monday and there are still no definite dates for the U.K. and Ireland. Indeed the Irish government has suggested that racing will only be allowed again at the end of June, which would be a disaster for the Irish racing industry, although it seems possible that June 8th could also see a resumption of racing there, while the U.K.

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Ausgabe 615 vom Freitag, 24.04.2020

We are now approaching the end of April, a time of year when normally the flat season would be in full swing in most European countries, especially with an eye on the first classics. The Craven meeting at Newmarket, for example, should have taken place last week but was of course cancelled. In Germany the first big classic trial would normally be the Dr. Busch-Memorial at Krefeld, originally scheduled for this Sunday and the Bavarian Classic at Munich on the Friday of next week, May Day. The former race is now to be run at Hoppegarten on May 10th, while it was hoped to run the Munich race, now possibly retitled Cologne Classic, at Cologne on May 3rd, together with the Carl Jaspers-Preis (ex-Gerling-Preis), the first major event of the season for older horses.

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Ausgabe 614 vom Freitag, 17.04.2020

The executive committee of Deutscher Galopp (aka Direktorium) is meeting later today (Thursday) to decide the timetable for the next few weeks of racing in Germany. Their decisions will not be known until after these lines are written, but it is already clear that the revised schedule published just over a week ago was too optimistic and several changes will have to be made. The German government announced yesterday (Wednesday) that the current restrictions will remain in place until May 3rd at least, so that it is extremely unlikely that the original plan to race at Hanover on May 1st and at Cologne, with two important group races, on May 3rd can be maintained.

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Ausgabe 613 vom Freitag, 10.04.2020

Covid-19 continues to spread all around the world, and virtually no area is now free of this disease and almost every country has placed severe restrictions on the movement of people, including going shopping or socializing. There are still new and increased numbers of infections and deaths reported every day, however there are signs in several European countries (including Germany) that the rate of increase has flattened and that the situation is slowly beginning to improve. The German government is due to discuss the current state of affairs next Wednesday and it seems quite likely that some restrictions will be eased, e.g. that some shops or small restaurants will be allowed to reopen.   

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