Ausgabe 545 vom Freitag, 23.11.2018
There is some good news to report this week. First of all of course the fact that Enable (Nathaniel) is to stay in training at five in an attempt to win the Arc for the third time has been greeted with enthusiasm by racegoers around the world. This is a very sporting decision by her connections, especially owner Khalid Abdullah, his racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe and trainer John Gosden, who has handled her in masterly fashion. It will also please her regular jockey Frankie Dettori, who has once again been in brilliant form in 2018, and according to Gosden needs his percentage of the prize-money to put his children through college.
At a lower, but more local level, we had a successful Tuesday evening meeting on the sand track at Neuss. The card was poor, and these meetings, part-financed by the PMU, generally only attract tiny crowds, but this time there was a good turnout, thanks to the trucks of the street food market. This was an excellent idea, and even though it is clear that more people had come to eat rather than to bet on the racing, one must hope that it continues to attract the crowds throughout the normally dismal winter programme. Neuss has two more fixtures this year and five more in the first ten weeks of 2019. The most interesting race was the 2yo event over 1500 metres, which was won easily by Gestüt Röttgen´s home bred Diajaka (Kamsin). She is from one of Röttgen´s best families and had no problems with the surface, in contrast to her stable companion, the hot favourite Accon (Camelot), who was always struggling. Diajaka was qualified for this “maiden”, as it was her first run on the sand; she is now the only German 2yo this year to have won three races.
Diajaka is trained by Markus Klug and was ridden by Andrasch Starke, and they are certain to be Germany´s 2018 champions in their respective spheres. They followed up with more success at Dresden on Wednesday, the last turf meeting of the year. The highlights here were a listed race and the two divisions of the 2yo maiden over 1900 metres, won by two BBAG graduates who are entered in next year´s German Derby: they were the filly Ormuz (Mamool), also entered in the Preis der Diana and trained by Andreas Wöhler for Darius Racing, and the colt Nubbel (Wiener Walzer), trained by Klug for Holger Renz. Ormuz especially looks a highly interesting prospect.
The listed race had attracted a strong field, including the first two from the 2017 Deutsches Derby, but they were all put in their place by Nadine Siepmann´s Be My Sheriff (Lawman), another BBAG graduate, who won by almost five lengths. The four-year-old, bred by Görlsdorf, was upped in distance here and showed much improved form. He is trained by Henk Grewe, the shooting star of the season, who has sent out over 80 winners from his Cologne base, more than half of them in France.
Another item of good news was the report by Stall Mulligan, the group of golfing friends who own multiple Group One winner Iquitos (Adlerflug), that they have sold a 51% interest in the six-year-old to Dietrich von Boetticher, who will now stand him at his Gestüt Ammerland on the shores of Lake Starnberg at a fee of 6,000 euros. This is good news for two reasons. First for the horse, as the owners have been trying to find him a good home as a stallion for some time, and appear to have found the right spot for him. Ammerland is in the extreme South of the country, in the foothills of the Alps, and is a long way from the main centres of thoroughbred breeding, which are almost all in the North-West of the country. This is not necessarily a disadvantage, as there are very few stallions standing in the southern half of Germany and he will have the scene almost to himself. Iquitos was known as “little crumb” in his stable because of his small size, which was also seen in some quarters as a problem for his future career as a stallion, but they should remember that Hyperion and Northern Dancer, the two most influential sires of the 20th century, were both very small.
Secondly, German breeding is urgently in need of new stallions and for that reason alone the arrival of Iquitos, one of the very best performers of recent years, must be welcome. The Sport-Welt, Germany´s racing newspaper, last week published figures supplied by the Direktorium on the thoroughbred stallions and broodmares now based in Germany. These figures make depressing reading and show clearly that the breeding industry has shrunk alarmingly this century. The Direktorium listed 42 active stallions, of whom one has since died and another one exported; only eleven of these covered more than 26 mares in 2018, and 24 had single figure books, i.e. were clearly making a loss for their owners.
1,329 broodmares were registered, of whom 1,024 were covered and 836 are currently in foal. These figures are less than half the equivalent numbers before the turn of the century. The Direktorium´s official target is for 1,200 live foals every year, but it is a long time since this number was achieved. The German breeding induszry continues to punch well above its weight, and this year we have seem top international Group One successes for Almandin (Monsun), bred by Schlenderhan, Pakistan Star (Shamardal), bred by Wittekindshof, and A Raving Beauty (Mastercraftsman), bred by Karlshof, among others on the flat, and several more over jumps such as last week´s Cheltenham winner Lalor (It´s Gino), bred by Stall 5-Stars. The quality remains high, but quantity is also needed.
The two most popular stallions were Maxios (Monsun), standing at Fährhof, and Soldier Hollow (In The Wings) at Auenquelle, who covered 76 and 70 mares respectively. However their careers have moved in different directions this year. While Soldier Hollow has had his best ever season, and leads the German statistics by a massive margin, Maxios has, with all due respect, not lived up to the high expectations that were originally held on his retirement. Only five more stallions covered more than 50 mares – Isfahan (Lord of England) at Ohlerweiherhof, Adlerflug (In The Wings) at Schlenderhan, Giuliani (Tertullian) at Erftmühle, Australian import Counterattack (Redoute´s Choice) at Karlshof and Protectionist (Monsun) at Röttgen.
Iquitos is only the second German horse to be retired to stud so far this autumn. The other is Millowitsch (Sehrezad), who is going to Röttgen. He was almost as popular as Iquitos, but as a racehorse the latter was clearly superior. Red Jazz (Johannesburg) is coming from the Irish Ballyhane Stud to Lindenhof in Hamburg, where he replaces Nutan (Duke of Marmalade), who is moving to Erftmühle. Amarillo (Holy Roman Emperor), German-owned and -raced, is returning from France and ex-Darley stallion Helmet (Exceed and Excel) is coming to Fährhof. This week´s racing calendar´s statistics for Germany list 24 stallions whose progeny have won more than 124,000 euros this year, but only seven of them are active here; the rest are based abroad, have been exported or have died. For that reason the arrival of Iquitos should be warmly welcomed and it must be hoped that he gets the support his admirable racing record deserves.