Classic Intent At The Stauffenberg Boutique

Philipp and Marion Stauffenberg | Laura Green/Tattersalls


Balancing Classic intentions with commercial reality is not always easy. In Germany, the majority of breeders would veer towards the former, and it is certainly an ethos that Philipp and Marion Stauffenberg attempt to maintain while being all too aware of the demands of many modern-day purchasers of Thoroughbreds.

The Stauffenbergs each had a good grounding in sport horses and racehorses before developing their own broodmare band at Schlossgut Itlingen in Ascheberg in 1999. The boutique operation has also had notable success pinhooking foals, and the business includes consigning yearlings and boarding mares for clients.

Most breeders in Europe this year will have felt the twin impact of Covid and Brexit, and it is a factor which made Philipp Stauffenberg reassess some of his mating and travel plans.

“We have five foals at the moment and we are waiting for two more, then we're done,” he says. “That's the lowest number of foals we've ever had and it was mainly due to the fact that we had so many late foalers last year, so we decided with all the difficulties we would leave them empty instead of having May foals.”

Stauffenberg adds, “We shipped some mares to England before the end of December because of the Brexit problems. Usually we keep them at home and send them at the beginning of the covering season. At the beginning it was tough but we have worked out a system of getting the mares to England without massive problems. But it does all add to the costs of producing the next generation.”

The Stauffenbergs have retained two daughters of the German Oaks winner Centaine (GB) (Royal Academy) for their farm in Capichera (Ger) (Shirocco {Ger}) and C'est l'Amour (Ger) (Whipper).

“Capichera has two runners and two winners from her first three foals but she didn't get in foal to Soldier Hollow (GB) last year,” Stauffenberg explains. “She is now in foal to Bated Breath (GB). All the stallions we use should be Group 1 winners or Classic winners, or have produced Group 1-winning offspring. So we hadn't used Bated Breath before this year but he has now proven himself capable of getting a good horse and he produced a Group 1 winner last year.”

He continues, “C'est l'Amour is the dam of three winners from three runners so she has done quite well so far. She foaled a colt by Holy Roman Emperor (Ire) on 3 March and we haven't quite decided where she is going yet.” 

The active broodmare band has been reduced recently by the retirement of Four Roses (Ire) (Darshaan {GB}) and Firedance (Ger) (Lomitas {GB}), two daughters of the farm's foundation mare Fraulein Tobin (J O Tobin), but her line is still being nurtured.

Stauffenberg says, “Frangipani (Ger), a 2-year-old winner by Jukebox Jury (Ire), traces back to Fraulein Tobin. At the moment, sadly, we have no daughter of Four Roses and we have only this daughter of Firedance. We have a 2-year-old filly by Harzand (Ire) in training, so these are the only two female homebred descendants of our foundation mare. Frangipani is visiting Masar (Ire), who was a good 2-year-old, he's a Derby winner and he is a very well-bred horse. I think there is every chance he will succeed. She is currently in foal to Starspangledbanner (Aus) and has a yearling by Sea The Moon (Ger).”

Though not a homebred, Relevant (Ire) (So You Think {NZ}) is another representative of the Fraulein Tobin family. 

“We tried to buy her as a yearling but she was too expensive, and then we bought her when she was in training and a non-winner. We put her back into training with Stuart Williams and she won by nine lengths. She's a daughter of the Rockfel Stakes winner Germane (GB) and her first foal by Sea The Moon is in training with Andre Fabre, having been bought last year by Godolphin,” Stauffenberg explains. 

“Relevant has a very nice colt by Gleneagles and is due to foal at the end of April to Dark Angel, but she always goes two or three weeks over, so at the moment I think she won't be covered. 

“It comes back to the problems with Brexit and the travelling. Our normal route to Ireland was always through England but this has got quite complicated. And from April onwards, foals can only travel when they are 30 days old so we will have no chance to cover her in Ireland or England so we have decided to leave her and cover her early next year.”

The desire to return to families who have provided past success is alive in every breeder, and this is how Marion Stauffenberg ended up buying Belle Anglaise (GB) (Cable Bay {Ire}) as a foal. 

Her husband explains, “We bred her dam Belle Allemande (Can) (Royal Academy) and had to sell her at the beginning when we set up our farm but we had always wanted to get back into the family because Belle Allemande is a sister to Que Belle (Can) (Seattle Dancer), who won two Classics for us. I leased their dam in Canada and sent her to Royal Academy. 

“Belle Anglaise won twice in England with Stuart Williams, and then with the lockdown last year we moved her to Germany and she got two black-type placings here. She is going to be covered by Dark Angel (Ire). With the young mares we use mostly proven stallions as it's easier to judge their offspring. So she is being given a good chance using Dark Angel, putting back a bit of speed. She's quite a speedy filly, though usually we are not so focused on sprinters—we are more into the Classic breeding.”

Seattle Dancer, who stood his last five seasons in Germany prior to his death in 2007, also features as the sire of Golden Whip, whose winning offspring are the Jessica Harrington-trained Giuliana (Ger) (Muhaarar {GB}), who was Group 3-placed last year, and listed-placed Geraldine (Ger) (Royal Applause {GB}).

“She's from a very speedy family with Ballad Rock in the pedigree, and there are a lot of good 2-year-olds in the family,” says Stauffenberg. “She has produced two winners from her first two runners, both black-type horses. She wasn't covered last year and she has now been covered by Blue Point (Ire), so again we are putting a lot of speed back in. Blue Point is interesting because he has True Rocket in his pedigree, who is the dam of Ballad Rock, so the mating is inbreeding to that fast, good producer. On top of that, Blue Point is out of a mare by Royal Applause,  as is Geraldine.”

After Blue Point, another son of Shamardal, the hardy German-based miler Amaron (GB), has been selected as the mate for Queensberry (Ger), a great grand-daughter of former Kentucky Broodmare of the Year Glowing Tribute.  

“I bought her dam in America when she was already 20 but it was just a very good, deep family,” Stauffenberg recalls. “Queensberry is by Tertullian, who is an interesting stallion as he's bred on the same cross as Urban Sea, being by Miswaki out of a daughter of Allegretta (GB). Queensberry has a yearling by US Navy Flag but he was born in May so we didn't cover her last year.”

The talented Lady Marian (Ger) (Nayef) provided the Stauffenbergs with many happy days during her racing career and a half-sister to that G1 Prix de l'Opera winner, La Reine Noire (Ger) (Rainbow Quest), remains in the broodmare band with her 2021 mating to be decided.

“Again, she traces back to our beginning,” says her breeder. “I bought her grandam in 1995 and she was one of the first mares I bought. La Reine Noire has a Lawman (Fr) filly foal, which we are very happy about, because the Lawman cross with Rainbow Quest has produced very good horses, like Just The Judge.”

The Stauffenberg rule of using Classic or Group 1 winners at stud is backed up in the decision to send Noelani (Ger) (Nayef) to Coolmore's new boy Sottsass (Fr), a choice of stallion enhanced by the fact that the mare is a half-sister to last season's listed winner New Harzburg (Ger), who is by Sottsass's sire Siyouni (Fr).

“It's a very deep German family and she's a 2-year-old winner herself but we couldn't get her into Siyouni so she is booked to Sottsass, who was such a good racehorse,” says Stauffenberg.

The couple's understandable fondness for Nayef extended to the purchase of Rusookh (GB) from Shadwelll. Her dam Thamarat (GB) (Anabaa) has also produced Motamarris (Ire) (Le Havre {Ire}), who was third to Sottsass in the Prix du Jockey Club, as well as the stakes-placed Riqa (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), who is now the dam of treble Group 3 winner Tantheem (GB) (Teofilo {Ire}).  The family received a further boost last year when another of Rusookh's siblings, Wadyhatta (GB) (Cape Cross {Ire}), was responsible for the Irish Derby winner Santiago (Ire) (Authorized {Ire}). Of extra pertinence, especially for a German breeder, Rusookh's fourth dam is Allegretta.

“She wasn't covered last year as she foaled so late but she has now been covered by Magna Grecia (Ire),” says Stauffenberg. “I was underbidder on him as a foal but Coolmore bought him. I just loved him. He was a beautiful specimen and he was a very good racehorse so we thought that might fit. We have been very lucky with Nayef, producing Lady Marian and also a Norsk Oaks winner by him. He's a fantastically bred horse and he has produced some good broodmares even if he wasn't the most sensational stallion himself. I think we will find his bloodlines coming through in the second generation.”

The Norsk Oaks also looms large in the family of Zegna (Ger), another daughter of Shirocco who won the Scandinavian Classic in 2012, a victory emulated five years later by her first foal Zahara (Ger)—by the Stauffenbergs' old friend Nayef.

“I was always a big believer in Shirocco and I don't really think he got as much of a chance as he should have done as he was a bit overshadowed by Manduro at the time, but he was a very good racehorse,” Stauffenberg notes. “Zegna has also bred a winner by Casamento (Ire) in Japan and she has a yearling by Camacho (GB) and a colt foal by Zarak (Fr). She is now in foal to Sea The Moon.”

Though based in Newmarket at Lanwades, Sea The Moon remains the pride of Germany and Stauffenberg has had close links with his offspring in his role consigning yearlings in Britain for the stallion's breeder Heike Bischoff and Niko Lafrentz of Gestüt Gorlsdorf. Those he has sold include the multiple group winner Wonderful Moon (Ger) and Saturday's G3 N E Manion Cup winner in Australia, Favorite Moon (Ger).

“It has been very pleasing to see the success Sea The Moon has had,” he said. “I take special pride because I bought his grandam Sacarina (GB) as a foundation mare for Gestüt Karlshof and this family has developed into a really outstanding family now. Sea The Moon, as a German Derby winner, is getting some really good horses. He had another 3-year-old listed winner last week in France and he looks on the right path to be a successful stallion. He is also still good value—he's not so expensive that we can't use him.”

Along with some of his own stock, Stauffenberg will also be bringing to the yearling sales seven horses bought last winter. A notoriously bold pinhooker, his purchases included a sister to the G2 Coventry S. winner Arizona (Ire) (No Nay Never).

He says, “I focused on well-bred fillies and bought only two colts, but five fillies with good pages. I thought I would play it safe with fillies—even in bad times well-bred fillies are always in demand.”

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