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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 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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Ausgabe 556 vom Freitag, 22.02.2019

The German winter season, centred on the sand tracks at Neuss and Dortmund, continues for three more weeks. To be frank, these races, generally run on Sunday at early lunch time, are not inspiring and the vast majority of races run are low grade handicaps or poor conditions races, so that most racegoers are now eagerly anticipating the start of the turf season.

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Ausgabe 555 vom Freitag, 15.02.2019

Two weeks ago we looked at the leading German 2yo´s of 2018, their handicap ratings and their prospects for this year. Obviously the four group races for this age group were the decisive factor in the ratings; they were Baden-Baden´s Zukunftsrennen, won by Quest The Moon (Sea The Moon), Cologne´s Preis des Winterfavoriten, won by Noble Moon (Sea The Moon) in a photo-finish from Django Freeman (Campanologist), the Preis der Winterkönigin at Baden-Baden won by Whispering Angel (Soldier Hollow) and the Herzog von Ratibor-Rennen at Krefeld, won by Donjah (Teofilo).

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Ausgabe 554 vom Freitag, 08.02.2019

Several items of news this week, most of them bad:

Brexit: Theresa May is once again trying to renegotiate the deal with the EU, even though the EU has repeatedly stated that this is not on the table. The chance of a “no deal Brexit” has become more likely, which would have catastrophic effects, many of which are still impossible to predict. This could certainly cause problems for racing and breeding, although not as much for Germany as for France and Ireland; if the “tripartite agreement” still holds up, and the U.K. is granted “third country status” regarding the movement of live animals, this would be of huge benefit and most of the problems could be avoided..

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Ausgabe 553 vom Freitag, 01.02.2019

After the publication last week of the International Classifications, this week the German Generalausgleich (GAG) has been published, listing all horses qualified for handicaps in Germany. The top older horses have been giving the same ratings as in the International Classifications, converted to the German scale. An international rating of 120 (in pounds) is equivalent to a GAG of 100 (in kilos); no German-trained horse reached this mark in 2018, a relatively poor year for German bloodstock, when the classic generation in particular failed to shine. The top German runners in 2018 were Dschingis Secret (Soldier Hollow) and Iquitos (Adlerflug),both older horses and now retired to stud, on 118 (=99 GAG).

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Ausgabe 552 vom Freitag, 25.01.2019

The International Classifications were published this week and from the German point of view they do not make very positive reading, as very few German-trained horses made it into the listings. A quick perusal of the lists however make clear that British and Irish runners now totally dominate European racing, and it was a very poor season indeed for French-trained horses, while the Italians seem to have dropped off the radar altogether. It is also quite striking how strongly horses trained in the USA, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan figure.

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Ausgabe 551 vom Freitag, 18.01.2019

Brexit has been on everybody´s mind this week, following Tuesday´s rejection by the British Parliament of the May government´s proposals for a “soft” Brexit and the subsequent failure of a vote of no confidence in her government. Teresa May has until Monday to come up with a Plan B, but nobody seems to know what this will look like, or whether it will be acceptable either to the EU or to Parliament, which is expected to vote on the proposals on Tuesday. What is certain is that the British political scene has changed dramatically for the worse and nobody comes out of this with credit.

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Ausgabe 550 vom Freitag, 11.01.2019

Our article before Christmas on the success of Monsun´s sons in British and Irish N.H. racing has received several updates. The Boxing Day (St. Stephen´s Day for our Irish readers) meetings at Kempton, Leopardstown and Limerick and the following days saw several more Grade One victories, and the chances of a win at the big Cheltenham meeting in March have become much more likely.

Delta Work and Le Richebourg, both sons of Network, won Grade One races at the Leopardstown meeting and are now prominent in Cheltenham betting. Network is now well establish as a leading N.H. stallion in France, but also has had plenty of success in the U.K. and Ireland, notably with Champion Chase winner Sprinter Sacré, officially rated the best chaser since Arkle.

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Ausgabe 549 vom Freitag, 21.12.2018

Overall it must be said that 2018 was a disappointing year for German racing. There were plenty of highlights, but the classic generation in particular was weaker than in most recent seasons. In this decade German-trained horses have won the Prix de l´Arc de Triomphe, the King George & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (twice!), the Melbourne Cup and a race at Royal Ascot. There were some notable international successes for German-breds in 2018, for example A Raving Beauty (bred by Karlshof) in the U.S.A., Almandin (Schlenderhan) in Australia or Pakistan Star (Wittekindshof) in Hong Kong, but the sad fact is that no runner trained here won a group race in France or the U.K.

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