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The English page - New sires for Germany

Torquator Tasso at Auenquelle stud. www.galoppfoto.de - Sabine Brose


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 750 vom Freitag, 06.01.2023

This is a very quiet time of year for German racing. We have just two days´ racing in Germany in January, both on Dortmund´s sand track, and another two more at Dortmund in February. There is then racing on three successive Sundays in March, followed by the first turf fixture, at Düsseldorf on March 28th. There is therefore no racing at all on most of the weeks in the immediate future. This is to a certain extent a reflection of the fact that the industry has shrunk quite alarmingly this century; there are now only about 2,000 horses in training, compared to well over 3,000 just 20 years ago. To a certain extent this is also due to the fact that the only other winter track, at Neuss and founded in 1875, closed down three years ago. This has also impacted on the breeding situation. There are now only about 1200 thoroughbred broodmares based here, and it will be surprising if there are more than 800 live foals born this year, half of the number registered at the turn of the century, when there were 100 thoroughbred stallions standing in Germany – now less than half this number are active here.

Nevertheless the German bloodstock industry continues to hold its own and German form holds up well compared to the vastly superior (in numbers) industry in Ireland, France and the U.K., not mention the leading international countries such as Japan, Australia or the U.S. The form of the leading mile and a half winners here, the distance of five of the seven Group One races run in Germany, has been extremely strong in recent years. Torquator Tasso (Adlerflug) was runner-up to In Swoop (another son of Adlerflug) in the 2020 German Derby; In Swoop, bred by Schlenderhan, and now based at Coolmore, was runner-up in the Prix de l´Arc de Triomphe later that year, while Torquator Tasso won that race in 2021. Before that Torquator Tasso had won the Grosser Preia von Baden and had earlier been second to Alpinista in the Grosser Preis von Berlin, and she of course was the latest winner of the “Arc”. Alpinista won three of Germany´s Group Ones in 2021, including the Grosser Preis von Bayern, in which she defeated Mendocino (another Alderflug), and that one went to a narrow victory last year from Torquator Tasso in the 2022 Grosser Preis von Baden; that was admittedly a weird race with four runners and a false pace, but the form still reads extremely well.

Torquator Tasso only ran once more after Baden-Baden, when he followed up his 2021 “Arc” victory with an excellent third place in the race despite an unfavourable draw. He has now been retired and will commence stud duties at Gestüt Auenquelle shortly. His fee has been set at 20,000 euros, very high by German standards but he could well be a bargain at that price. He is clearly the most interesting of the new German sires for 2023, and he really does tick all the boxes.

He is by some margin the best German-trained runner of recent years, indeed one of the best in Europe. He was a true mile and a half specialist, the distance of the most prestigious events. Apart from his two splendid Arc performances he also finished runner-up in England´s top race at that distance, the King George & Queen Elizabeth Stakes. He was also the best son of Adlerflug (In The Wings), the impressive winner of the 2007 German Derby. Adlerflug´s sudden death of a heart attack at Easter 2020 was a huge blow to German breeding; he has been champion sire in Germany for the past three seasons, twice posthumously. Adlerflug hails from Gestüt Schlenderhan´s excellent “A” family, one of the most successful in the German stud book, and Torquator Tasso is also from the same family; he is inbred to the mare Anatevka (Espresso), herself the dam of Allegretta (Lombard), who can certainly be regarded as the world´s most influential broodmare this century. Allegretta was dam of Arc winner Urban Sea (Miswaki), herself the dam of supersires Galileo and Sea The Stars. With this family in both his top and bottom line, Torquator Tasso certainly has the right pedigree for his new job.

His form also left little to be desired. His official rating of GAG  102.5 (=international 125) makes him one of the best performers seen for many a long year. In all he won six races, three of them at Group One level. He never ran at two, but was a top level racehorse in his remaining three seasons and rarely ran a bad race. A typical German -bred, he was sound and remarkably consistent, improving throughout his career and showing his best form at four and five. He was bred by Dutchman Paul H. Vandeberg and was sold for 24,000 euros at the BBAG, a rare bargain indeed when one considers that his racecourse winnings totaled 4.2 million euros, a German record. His pedigree received another boost when his two year younger half-brother Tünnes (Guiliani) also became a Group One winner and was also the king of his crop in Germany last year with a rating of GAG 100 (=120). And of course the fact that Adlerflug died before he even ran adds a certain rarity value.

He is to stand at his owners´ stud farm, Gestüt Auenquelle, where he will be seen as a successor not only to Adlerflug, but also to Auenquelle´s top sire this century, Soldier Hollow (In The Wings), who began his career at Gestüt Röttgen but moved to Auenquelle in 2012. He was leading sire in Germany three times, but his fee is now listed as “on application” and it seems that Soldier Hollow´s extremely successful career may soon be coming to an end at the age of 23. Not every top racehorse becomes also a champion sire but Torquator Tasso certainly seems to have everything in his favour. He is reportedly already almost fully booked and has all the right attributes to become another champion sire in his turn.

In the next English Page we shall have a look at the other new sires for 2023 in Germany, in particular Rubaiyat and Nerik.

David Conolly-Smith

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