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The English page: Racing & Breeding in Germany 21

German Thoroughbred at the BBAG-Yearling-Sales on Friday, 4th September 2015. www.galoppfoto.de - Sarah Bauer


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 382 vom Donnerstag, 27.08.2015

Today (Friday) sees the start of Germany's most important race meeting, the Grosse Woche at Baden-Baden. Although today's card is actually rather feeble, from tomorrow onwards there is a group race on every one of the meeting's last six days, usually backed up by a listed race as well. On Saturday we have the Preis der Sparkassen Finanzgruppen over ten furlongs, in which Lucky Lion (High Chaparral), winner of last year's Group One Grosser Dallmayr-Preis, appears extremely well treated by the race conditions, and gets weight all round. In theory he has to win this, with Wildpark (Shamardal), who showed much improved form to win a valuable listed race at Hoppegarten three weeks ago, probably the main danger.

Wildpark is trained by Paul Harley, who is currently in the USA, where he saddles the Australian-owned Guardini in the Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes, a far more valuable event. It will be Irish-born Harley´s first runner in the States. The trainer recently announced that he will be retiring from training at the end of this season. He has been based at Hannover for the past two years and the new trainer at the stables there, owned by Hanover president and leading breeder Gregor Baum (Gestüt Brümmerhof), will be 33-year-old Melanie Sauer, it was announced this week. Sauer, the daughter of the late Norbert Sauer, a top trainer for four decades in Germany, is a graduate of the Darley Flying Start scheme and has been living in France in recent years, first as assistant to Mikel Delzangles and more recently her own boss at Chantilly.

Sunday's big race is the Goldene Peitsche (“Golden Whip”), Germany´s most prestigious sprint race, which has lost its main attraction with the late withdrawal of Limato (Tagula); the Royal Ascot runner-up was a definite runner on Tuesday but connections changed their mind on Wednesday, he would surely have been almost unbeatable here. German winners in this event are rare, and a French victory looks much more likely. Henri-Alex Pantall, who has a good record at this meeting, saddles two runners, Son Cesio (Zafeen) and Zylpha (Elusive City), the only filly in the field. It would be no great surprise to see them take the first two places.

After two blank days, the meeting continues with the Zukunfts-Rennen for two-year-olds on Wednesday and the Darley Oettingen-Rennen over a mile on Thursday. The final weekend´s highlights are the T. von Zastrow Stutenpreis and the Grosser Preis von Baden on the Saturday and Sunday of next week. It is not yet clear what foreign runners will be contesting these races, but it will take a good one to defeat Ito (Adlerflug), runner up in the Grosser Preis von Berlin last time, in the big one.

Friday of next week is reserved for the BBAG yearling sales, by far the most important bloodstock sale in Germany. The catalogue is arguably the best ever, and with owners, agents and trainers from all over the world expected to attend, the mood is optimistic, especially following the good results from Deauville last week and Doncaster this. All the usual suspects will be present, including buyers for the Maktoum and al-Thani families, and there will also a strong contingent from the USA and Australia. The record price for a yearling here is 710,000 euros –dating back to 2007 – and the best total turnover was achieved last year at 8.2 million euros. It is highly likely that both these records will go next week.

All the leading German breeders have consigned yearlings – in fact the BBAG is basically a co-operative of the top 80 breeders – and all the leading German stallions are well-represented, notably current champion Tertullian (Miswaki), Areion (Big Shuffle), Lord of England (Dashing Blade) and Soldier Hollow (In The Wings), the top four in the 2014 statistics. There will be members here of some of the German families that have been nurtured with great success over many generations- Schlenderhan's “S” family, Röttgen's “D” family and Ravensberg's “W” family, to name but three.

With many German breeders sending their mares to top European stallions in recent years, the list of stallions whose progeny are being sold reads like a roll of honour. We have yearlings by such established stars as Pivotal, Sea The Stars, High Chaparral, Dutch Art and Sharmardal; by the two leading European second season sires Siyouni and Lope de Vega, and also by the two leading first season sires Zoffany and Canford Cliffs. The first crop sires include Campanologist and Jukebox Jury, both now German-based, as well as such potential stars as Excelebration, Helmet, Mayson, Nathaniel, Power, Rio de la Plata, Scalo, Sir Prancealot and So You Think. There have also been some dramatic updates, e.g. lot 72 (a colt by Scalo out of a Big Shuffle mare) is a half-brother to Turfdonna (Doyen), who won the Preis der Diana (German Oaks) at the beginning of this month. This list is by no means exhaustive, and it would be invidious of us to spotlight individual breeders or their yearlings, but this is a sale where there really is something for everyone. Obviously there will be intense competition for some of the top lots, but this is a sale famous for value for money compared to the corresponding sales in the U.K., Ireland and France, and there will certainly be many happy faces – both vendors and buyers- in a week´s time at the BBAG´s 1999 custom-built sales complex just a stone´s throw away from the racecourse at Iffezheim. 

To the catalogue: click!

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