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The English page: Racing & Breeding in Germany 18

Doyen's first Group One winner: Turfdonna (Eduardo Pedroza). Photo: Dr. Jens Fuchs


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 379 vom Donnerstag, 06.08.2015

Turfdonna (Doyen) won last Sunday's 157th Henkel-Preis der Diana (German Oaks) at Düsseldorf to give Ravensberg trainer Andreas Wöhler his third German classic of the season. It could so easily have been four, but Wöhler's two main candidates for last month´s German Derby, Karpino (Cape Cross) and Quasillo (Sea The Stars) both had to be withdrawn because of a late setback. Just like Wöhler´s 2014 winner of the Diana Feodora, she was an outsider who had only been transferred to stable shortly before the race.

Turfdonna was bred by Gestüt Auenquelle and sent to Hoppegarten to be trained by Roland Dzubasz. Unraced at two, Turfdonna made her debut in a Hoppegarten maiden at the end of April and won easily, following which she was sold to Australian Bloodstock, and she actually ran at Düsseldorf in the same colours as Protectionist, who had won last year's Melbourne Cup for Wöhler, but with a different combination of owners in the syndicate. German-breds have done really well down under and various Australian agents have been scouting for German horses in recent seasons; not every one has been a huge success, but Turfdonna was certainly in retrospect a bargain.

She ran twice respectably, but without troubling the judge, in two trials for the Preis der Diana, but the fillies that had finished in front of her in both those races were in the field again, so success did not seem likely. But the Düsseldorf classic was only the fourth race of her career so that substantial improvement – especially coming from a top trainer- was by no means out of the question. Furthermore she was by a sire Doyen (Sadler's Wells) whose stock are often slow developers – as he was himself, winning the King George as a four-year-old in 2004, when he was the European champion. Doyen, who is still owned by Darley, stood for three years at Auenquelle and has sired several smart performers (including recent Group Two winner Wild Chief and Group One-placed Vif Monsieur) but Turfdonna, from his final German crop, is his first Group One winner. He is now standing at Sunnyhill Stud in Co. Kildare covering N.H. mares. This year he covered 160 mares at a fee of 3,000 euros and hopes are high: “he reminds me a lot of Old Vic, another son of Sadler's Wells who stood here and was a great success with his jumpers” says Sunnyhill's Michael Hickey. “I think Doyen imparts more speed and he could have a big future as a N.H. stallion – this German success is of course a huge boost.” 

Turfdonna is from a family that has done well for several German breeders, but the origins lie in Gestüt Waldfried, one of the top German studs of the first part of the 20th century but no longer in existence. Waldfried bred Thekla (Prince Ippi), the dam of Group One winner Turfkönig (Anfield) and also Tryphosa (Be My Guest), who won the German 1,000 Guineas for Gestüt Burg Eberstein of Danedream fame. Thekla´s daughter Turfquelle (Shaadi) threw Italian Group One winner Turfrose while her Big Shuffle daughter Turfaue has thrown several foals for Auenquelle, of whom Turfdonna is the seventh and clearly by far the best. Her two-year-old by Scalo is in the catalogue for next month´s BBAG yearling sale, so this victory is quite a significant update. According to the trainer, the eleven furlongs of the Preis der Diana is Turfdonna's absolute limit, and he is likely to bring her back now to ten, although concrete plans have not yet been made.

Nightflower (Dylan Thomas) ran on gamely for second place but was always being held by the winner. Had she won, it would have completed a famous double for her owner-breeder Jürgen Imm (Stall Nizza), her trainer Peter Schiergen and her jockey Andrasch Starke, who took the German Derby a month ago with the closely related Nutan (Duke of Marmalade). Amona (Aussie Rules) finished well for third; she was bred in Ireland by Joe Hernon, and in fact the first three were all by Irish-based (at that time) sires.

Nutan himself is due to run on Sunday in Hoppegarten's 125th Grosser Preis von Berlin. This race, run at varuous tracks in the half century since the end of the war, is now back at its historic home at Hoppegarten, and the first winner after its return there in 2011 was subsequent Arc and King George winner Danedream. Two years later, another filly trained by Schiergen was the winner – Nymphea, who just happens to be a half-sister to Nutan. The latter seems certain to start favourite on Sunday but faces some very strong opposition – in fact this is probably the best race run so far in 2015 in Germany.

Second Step (Dalakhani) from Luca Cumani´s in-form stable, is the only foreign runner, but his Newmarket form reads very well and he will be a tough nut for the locals to crack. Ito (Adlerflug) is tremendously improved and unbeaten in four starts this season; he is up in trip and in grade here but has an obvious chance, while another four-year-old Sirius (Dashing Blade) won the race last year which certainly puts him in the running again. Wöhler saddles another Australian-owned runner, the five-year-old Singing (Singspiel), who was only inches behind Sirius at Hamburg and will be fancied to reverse the placings this time. Nutan is the only three-year-old in the field and as such receives five kilos (eleven pounds) from the others, but he will have to be at his Derby best – or even better- to win here.


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