Rauscher Making His Own Luck

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Ronald Rauscher offers 14 horses at Arqana this weekend | Tattersalls photo

By Tom Frary

Historical turnpikes have marked the career of Ronald Rauscher, forged during the 1970s and 1980s in the sacred acreage of Cologne’s Gestut Rottgen and Oshawa’s Windfields Farm. Present at the latter during the era of Vice Regent, the Canadian-born entrepreneur was carried by a rare wind from the outset. It blew him the way of Co. Kildare’s Baronrath Stud in 1985, where he took up a managerial post under Rottgen’s owner Maria Mehl-Mulhens and steered the birthplace of The Tetrarch and Dark Ronald which had also recently produced the luminaries Strong Gale and Star Appeal until setting up on his own at Barnane Stud in Co. Tipperary. It was from there that the G2 German 1000 Guineas heroine and G1 Prix de Diane-placed Tryphosa (Ire) (Be My Guest) emerged to promote the Rauscher name, which was firmly on the way to widespread recognition by the time he re-entered Germany in 1998.

Then came another of those relentless upturns that seem to have defined his vocation in the crowded seas of world bloodstock. Back then, Germany was far from the lucrative fishing waters for overseas investors that it is in the present day, but Rauscher saw an opportunity and–by leading the owner of the then dual Group 1 winner Caitano (GB) (Niniski) to Gary Tanaka–created a ripple that was to have far-reaching consequences.

“I rang Ben Cecil, because he trained for Gary Tanaka and he put me in touch with his manager Andy Smith of Havana Horse and we got the deal together,” Rauscher explained. “A few horses got sold and succeeded.” In the years to come, Tanaka’s link with Germany would bear more fruit internationally via the likes of Moonlady (Ger) (Platini {Ger}), Epalo (Ger) (Lando {Ger}) and Noble Stella (Ger) (Monsun {Ger}), so this represented a true landmark moment in the fortunes of German bloodstock.

As the millennium approached, Rauscher was also forming a partnership with Dr Christoph Berglar at the Union Stud near Cologne. “When I had seen it 10 years before it was fairly run-down and had been a little bit over-horsed,” Rauscher explains. “He wanted to lease it and leave it, but I voted against it and together we had a very good time there. We decided not to stand stallions any more and cut back on the number of mares and I think it paid off. We also got a big portion of luck.” From this establishment sprung the substantial duo of international heavyweights Novellist (Ire) (Monsun {Ger}) and Protectionist (Ger) (Monsun {Ger}), but there was more to the new era than just fortune. “It was a resurgence for Germany and people opened up,” he adds. “In the old days, and by that I mean the seventies, eighties and into the nineties, nobody was going to sell anything out of Germany. When Lord Howard de Walden bought Slip Anchor’s dam Sayonara and Daniel Wildenstein bought Sagace’s ancestress Schonbrunn (Ger) it was a big thing; it didn’t happen that often, really. I remember shipping Anna Paola (Ger) (Prince Ippi {Ger}) when she had been sold to Sheikh Mohammed at the very beginning of Dalham Hall accompanied by Strong Gale, who had been bought by Liam Cashman, and it was a very big thing.”

Right place, right time could sum up the career of Rauscher but it cannot all be down to coincidence and fortune that he was there when it mattered. Success had led him to fulfil a personal dream by purchasing Kentucky’s Stonereath Farm for the Berglar family in 2010. He charts the journey to the acquisition of the beautiful bluegrass “jewel.”

“I used to pinhook in the States a fair bit at the end of the nineties with Peter Kavanagh and Brendan Hayes and we boarded the mares at Jim Fitzgerald’s Knockgriffin Farm down the road from Stonereath,” he recalls. “I used to drive past and think, ‘wouldn’t it be amazing to see that farm and to maybe one day own it?’ And then Dr. Berglar said in 2010 that he wanted to do something else and wouldn’t it be a great idea to have a farm in Florida. I questioned that, as he wasn’t a breeze-up man and said, ‘why don’t we have a look at Kentucky?’ and Stonereath was on the portfolio of the agents. It was amazing that it came up and it is a great place. I think about Sex Appeal and Blush With Pride coming out of there and those great families which have had a great influence on the Thoroughbred industry.”

With Stonereath handed over to the owner’s son Peter Berglar to run, Rauscher went to the lucrative Australian market and was influential in starting the relationship with Australian bloodstock. “That came from Lucas Cranach (Ger) (Mamool {Ire}), who I arranged the sale of along with David Medbury and who was the first German horse bought by Australian bloodstock,” he says. “I struck up a good relationship with Luke Murrell and Jamie Lovett and we have done plenty of business since. That opened up the German horses to Australia, with Protectionist after and sons of Monsun in general such as Fiorente (Ire). The distances have to be right for them and the races have to be tailor-made down there. Some German horses haven’t quite adapted to racing there, especially on rock-hard ground.”

With all that heritage behind him, it is no surprise that Rauscher’s consignments draw much attention at the major European sales. He has sold the important mares Mandellicht (Ire) (Be My Guest), Lady Marian (Ger), Rock My Soul (Ire) (Clodovil {Ire}, Wells Present (Ger) (Cadeaux Genereux {GB}) and Private Life (Fr) (Bering {GB}), respectively the dams of Manduro (Ger), this year’s G2 Grand Prix de Deauville winner Loxley (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}), G3 Chester Vase winner Young Rascal (Fr) (Intello {Ger}), G1 Preis der Diana heroine Well Timed (Ger) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}) and the millionaire stayer Stradivarius (Ire) (Sea the Stars {Ire}).

Arqana’s auctions are very important to the German bloodstock industry and Rauscher is keen to stress the link between the countries. “Quite a few German clients like Arqana, because they think the catalogue is smaller and therefore if you have something that is nice you can stand out a bit more there,” he explains. “A lot of German horses run in France on a regular basis and there are sometimes days when there are about twenty German horses running there. Gestut Ammerland, for instance, are keeping a large amount of horses in France and in comparison, there are very few German faces at Tattersalls these days. At Deauville, the German attendance is quite big. I don’t know exactly why that is, but it seems to be an ongoing trend.”

Rauscher’s draft at this weekend’s Arqana’s December Sale is made up of an intriguing mix of broodmares and racing prospects. In the former category is the G3 Grosser Preis der Mehl-Mulhens-Stiftung Gestut Rottgen winner Good Donna (Ger) (Doyen {Ire}), consigned as lot 126. From the family of Fame and Glory (GB) (Montjeu {Ire}) and Legatissimo (Ire) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}), the 7-year-old is in foal to the first-crop sire sensation Kingman (GB). “She is a big strong mare, was a good racemare and with Kingman starting off the way he has I think it’s exciting,” he says. “We are very pleased with her first progeny and she’s coming on to the market because she has produced a couple of fillies. Doyen had a very good time in Germany and produced a very high-calibre collection of young mares while he was there, so from that angle I don’t think we’ll have too many people frowning even though he is covering national hunt mares these days.”

Lot 163 is the 4-year-old filly Peace In Motion (Hat Trick {Jpn}), who captured the G3 Grosser Preis der Landeshauptstadt Dusseldorf in the Berglar silks in September, having finished runner-up in the previous year’s G2 German 1000 Guineas. Out of the dual Group 3 winner Peace Royale (Ger) (Sholokhov {Ire}), she carries great expectations. “I think she is probably our main attraction,” he admits. “She is still selling as a racing prospect, as although she is four she hasn’t had that many starts in her career. She is a stand-out as an individual, she is very beautiful and the family is well known in France. It will be interesting to see if she can attract American or Japanese buyers–I think she can. Physically she is just that kind of filly that they will like.”

Rauscher is also selling the 4-year-old filly Delectation (GB) (Delegator {GB}) on behalf of Australian Bloodstock, and she is a triple Group 3 winner in Britain and Germany. Lot 192 is from the family of the G2 July S. scorer Captain Hurricane (GB) (Desert Style {Ire}) and top-class Niche (GB) (Risk Me {Fr}). “My Australian business associates decided to take her to the States, which was understandable given that her distance was seven furlongs to a mile, but she didn’t quite fulfil what we had hoped,” he says. “She still has a very high rating and is open to a lot of matings and is a tall filly with plenty of scope and substance. She is out of a Pivotal mare from the family of Indian Ridge (Ire), so that also makes her interesting.”

Also offered is Lot 466, Gestut Ammerland’s 12-year-old Heart of Ice (Ire) (Montjeu {Ire}), whose yearling filly by Sea the Moon (Ger) sold for 125,000gns to Stroud Coleman Bloodstock at the recent Tattersalls December Yearling Sale. She is in foal to Maxios (GB), as is the same operation’s lot 705, the 8-year-old Drawn To Run (Ire) (Hurricane Run {Ger}). The relative of the smart Corre Caminos (Fr) (Montjeu {Ire}), Racinger (Fr) (Spectrum {Ire}) and Recital (Fr) (Montjeu {Ire} has received a boost after her 2-year-old daughter Dalika (Ger) (Pastorius {Ger}) was second in last month’s Listed Prix Herod. “She has a very nice update there and that should help her along a bit,” he says, before adding, “We have a good mix, with Lagoda (Ger) (Dalakhani {Ire}) (selling as lot 492) and Caesara (GB) (Pivotal {GB}) (selling as lot 97) nice fillies, too.”

With his wealth of experience of some of the main centres of Thoroughbred excellence internationally, Rauscher is well placed to view the current state of the industry as it heads towards a seemingly inevitable correction. “There is over-production, there has to be when you have many foals selling for 700 or 800 guineas and you wonder where it is heading,” he says. “What does it really mean? Is it the mare owners or the stallion owners who are to blame? Where do we cut books? First-season sires covering over 200 mares, is that correct? Racing as a product in Europe has such a strong cultural background and will always be part of everyday life, but I don’t think it is what it was 30 to 40 years ago. When you see Italy and Germany with small foal crops of 850 a year, it has to be said that there is over-production in other areas but certainly not there. Where it is flourishing is Hong Kong, Japan and Australia, which are very far away. The market is very polarized and what it doesn’t want is superfluous, which is awful because we are talking about live animals.”

Rauscher sees the current situation as a new problem with new challenges. “There was a big correction from the mid-eighties to the beginning of the nineties, when it crashed down big-time. That was a huge change, but that was all about money from the banks. What makes the commercial market so unique these days is that there are a lot of people who should be buying yearlings to race who are buying and selling instead. That has driven it to new heights and that doesn’t help the industry–the commercial aspect has become more important than the racing and sporting aspect. The same thing applies to retiring 2-year-olds; are they breeding to race or breeding to sell? I make a living off pinhooking, but others who don’t need to do it still participate and I can’t quite understand that. It doesn’t help the industry in the long run.”

Racing and breeding needs more Ronald Rauschers: people who appreciate the legacy of the sport and the gravity of tradition, with an eye also on the global market. Exercising enterprise within acceptable boundaries, buying and selling as part of a great tradition. Acting within the market with a focus on the beauty of racing and breeding at all times. While such folk are still playing the game, there is not yet need to despair.

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