Fond Farewell to a Champion as Adlerflug Filly Tops BBAG 

Jocelyn de Moubray and Frank Dorff of Gestut Rottgen with Hugo Merry | Emma Berry


IFFEZHEIM, Germany–From the established Classic sires to the young pretenders, the full range of the stallion scene was on offer at BBAG, with the yearlings in the main underpinned by some long established German dynasties. It was only right that as his last yearlings took to the ring in the country in which he earned a reputation that eventually spread worldwide, Adlerflug (Ger) was on top for one last time when his daughter (lot 52) from a solid Gestut Rottgen family brought the hammer down at €300,000.

Eleganz (Ire) she is named, and elegant she is. Her young winning dam Kizingo (Ire) (Oasis Dream {GB}) is a half-sister to the former German champion two-year-old Erasmus (Ger) (Reliable Man {GB}), the pair being out of the G1 Preis der Diana winner Enora (Ger) (Noverre {Ire}). She may yet even have a quick update as her two-year-old half-sister Erle (Ger) (Reliable Man {GB}) makes her debut at Baden-Baden on Saturday in the Gestut Etzean Winterkonigin Trial. 

The Adlerflug filly will not look out of place among the bluebloods in Imad Al Sagar's Blue Diamond Stud broodmare band, but first she will enter training with John and Thady Gosden, who have masterminded the career of the same owner's homebred treble Group 1 winner Nashwa (GB) (Frankel {GB}).

Hugo Merry, sent in to bat to secure the filly for the Blue Diamond Stud team, said, “She's an exceptional individual: fantastic, strong, a great walk. Her sire had to make it the hard way but he was fantastic and Imad Al Sagar loves the stallion. Oasis Dream is a really good broodmare sire, she's out of a winning mare who is a half-sister to a champion. What's not to like about her really?”

Al Sagar has recently announced the expansion of his Blue Diamond Stud operation with the purchase of Stonereath Farm in Kentucky in addition to his two existing farms just outside Newmarket. 

All told, the six members of Adlerflug's final crop to have graced the ring in Baden-Baden returned an average of €101,667. As the former syndicate manager for the stallion, Lars-Wilhelm Baumgarten has more reason to love Adlerflug than most, and his Liberty Racing syndicate signed for Gestut Brummerhof's colt out of the listed winner Anna Magnolia (Fr) (Makfi {GB}) at €100,000. 

Without some of the higher-priced lots seen at this auction in recent years, figures dipped slightly from a strong renewal in 2022. The clearance rate was down three points at 75% for 163 horses sold from 218 offered. The average price of €49,518 represented a drop of 7%, while the median was down 9% to €49,000 and the turnover of €8,071,500 was down by 4.5%.

Liberty Runs Free as Leading Buyer

Liberty Racing topped the buyers' table on the day with nine yearlings bought for €886,000, including another from the draft of Gestut Rottgen (lot 153), a son of Camelot (GB) and the G3 Hamburger Stutenpreis winner Anna Katharina (Ger) (Kallisto {Ger}) picked up for €180,000. The Liberty Racing syndicate was the brainchild of Lars-Wilhelm Baumgarten and is riding high on the success of Deutsches Derby winner Fantastic Moon (Ger) (Sea The Moon {Ger}). A win for that colt in Sunday's Grosser Preis would surely secure him Horse of the Year honours in Germany.

In Friday's TDN Baumgarten outlined the increase in interest in his syndicate, which has gone from 12 to almost 100 investors in the last three years, and he made good on his promise to of pumping his enhanced budget back into German racing with a busy day at BBAG on Friday.

He was also acting as vendor through Gestut Ohlerweiherhof, who sold lot 175, the Reliable Man (GB) half-sister to the Baumgarten-bred G1 Preis der Diana winner Muskoka (Ger) (Sea The Moon {Ger}) for €140,000 to Stall Golden Goal.

Smart Colt for First Lady of German Racing

Sarah Steinberg trained her first Group 1 winner when Stall Salzburg's Mendocino (Ger) (Adlerflug {Ger}) galloped to glory this time last year in the Grosser Preis von Baden. Since then she has become the first female trainer to land the Deutsches Derby and the winner of that race, the aforementioned Fantastic Moon, will bid to give the trainer back-to-back victories in the Grosser Preis on Sunday.

In the meantime, Steinberg has added a well-bred new recruit to her increasingly high-profile stable when Stall Salzburg when to €260,000 for the full-brother to G1 Preis von Europa winner Donjah (Ger) (Teofilo {Ire}) from the draft of Gestut Karlshof.

Stars Still Shine

Sea The Stars yearlings have topped the BBAG Sale on a number of occasions and, though he had to settle for the second-top spot this time around, the Aga Khan Studs sire was the leader overall with four yearlings sold for an average of €158,750. The quartet was headed by lot 39, a filly out of the Group 2 winner Ashiana (Ger) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) to be trained by Bruno Grizzetti. She was sold by her breeder Gestut Auenquelle for €260,000.

Trainer Andreas Suborics was also in the market for a Sea The Stars yearling, and lot 156, the filly out of Beata (Fr) from Stauffenberg Bloodstock, was close to his heart as a half-sister to his four-time group winner Best Of Lips (Ire) (The Gurkha {Ire}).

Beata, a dual-winning daughter of Silver Frost (Ire) and the treble Group 2 winner Bright Moon (Alysheba), was bought from the Wildenstein Dispersal in 2016 for €88,000. Her daughter was sold for €220,000.

Wootton Bassett to the Fore Once More

There's no escaping Wootton Bassett (GB) at the moment and he too featured among the leading lots of the session when Gestut Brummerhof's colt from the Wertheimer family of Group 1 winners Plumania (GB) and Left Hand (GB) was the sole purchase of the day by Coolmore at €170,000.

Alex Elliott conducted the bidding on behalf of MV Magnier, and said on signing for lot 183, “He's going back to Ireland and he's a beautiful horse. The team that was here, headed by David O'Loughlin, loved him. He's out of a Galileo mare, so it's the same cross as Al Riffa. The big sires like Dubawi, Frankel, Sea The Stars, they all had a huge licence to do what they've done, but where Wootton Bassett has come from, and what he's transmitting, I've never seen anything like it. It's phenomenal. We've had a bit of luck with him with [Derby runner-up] King Of Steel, who goes to the Irish Champion next weekend.”

Elliott also signed for two yearlings by Zarak (Fr), including lot 53, from Haras d'Ombreville, for €160,000. The colt is a brother to the listed-placed four-time winner Titanium (Fr).

Elliott continued, “Ralph [Beckett] and I bought him on spec because we loved him so much, but Amo Racing have taken him. He's out of a Verglas mare, like King Of Steel. We actually bought two Zaraks, one for a small partnership, lot 19, and then Kia [Joorabchian] kindly took this one.”

He added, “I think I had 90 pedigrees to look at and there were 12 horses left on the short list so there have been plenty to bid on, and every year it's a place that's been lucky for us.”

Six Zarak yearlings were sold on the day for an average of €101,833, including lot 123 from Gestut Karlshof for €170,000, who is out of the unraced Nazarabad (Ger), an Isfahan (Ger) half-sister to Group 3 winner No Limit Credit (Ger) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}). The Faust family's Gestut Karlshof, which has Straight (Ger), who is also by Zarak, running in Sunday's Grosser Preis, was the sale's leading vendor with 12 yearlings sold for €1.18 million.

Breeze-up Vendors Step In

One of the talking points among potential buyers in Baden-Baden was the lack of breathing room between sales. The staging of a horses-in-training sale at Tattersalls on the same day has been a source of frustration for some, and that event leads straight into the next yearling auction on Tuesday, the Somerville Sale. 

That said, there was a bigger group of British and Irish travellers than ever in Germany, with some new faces including extra members of the breeze-up sector. Making his second trip to BBAG was Roderick Kavanagh, who saw his recent graduate Vandeek snare the G1 Sumbe Prix Morny two weeks ago in Deauville.

Kavanagh, who operates as Glending Stables, signed for a Shalaa (Ire) filly and a colt by the Gestut Etzean-based Amaron (GB). He said, “I came last year and bought an Areion colt who sold well at Goresbridge and he had gone to Joseph O'Brien, so that always encourages you to come back. You're able to access very good bloodlines here. We probably left it a bit late as we only came in the night before so we weren't able to see the horses until the morning of the sale, but my partner Cormac O'Flynn and I worked it hard and we found two well-bred horses who look like athletes. They may not be the most commercial but even when they were going out for wind tests today I thought to myself that the Germans have been so strict with their breed to keep it so clean and free of issues.

“The Amaron colt is from Gestut Etzean, who we bought the Areion from last year. He's quite a similar model; he's got a fair bit of furnishing to do, which hopefully will come over the winter as he matures, but he's really athletic and looks like a racehorse.”

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