German Sire Ranks Bolstered By Power Of Three

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Group 1-winning juvenile Alson | Marc Ruehl

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The list of German stallions has been boosted to 38 this year with the addition of three new recruits: one from Ireland, one returning from France, and one who has never left the stud where he was born other than to go to the races. 

In the case of Alson (Ger), who is now the sole stallion at the Jacobs family's historic Gestut Fahrhof, his repatriation following a racing career partly based in Chantilly with Andre Fabre is a welcome move. Alson is the only son in Germany of the veteran Areion (Ger), a multiple German champion sire who earned his first of three championships in 2013 when taking the title from his father Big Shuffle. A classy sprinter in his days, his group wins including the G2 Goldene Peitsche, Areion is now 27 and in his twilight years at Gestut Etzean. The arrival of his Group 1-winning son, who was a top-class 2-year-old, is therefore good news for the German breeding scene.

Fahrhof's Andreas Jacobs regards Alson's sire as “the most under-rated stallion in Europe” and he will doubtless be hoping that his own new recruit flies a little less under the radar on a broader European level. His origins need little explanation as Alson was bred at another of Germany's most historic stud farms, Gestut Schlenderhan, and the two revered breeding operations have now joined forces to stand the 5-year-old.

“The partnership between Schlenderhan and Fahrhof is very strong,” says Jacobs. “We used to run Asterblute together, which is now Peter Schiergen's training yard. My grandfather and grandmother were very close to the baroness, the mother of Georg [von Ullmann], so we have a lot of personal links. It's a wonderful partnership and when Alson became available we didn't even need to discuss it, we just said we'd stand him 50/50.”

A young stallion could hardly ask for better backing than from two such prominent studs and Alson owns a pedigree that should ensure he has broad appeal. 

“Starting with his dam line, he's out of a Galileo mare, who is out of a Monsun mare, which is probably fairly long distance so the mating was obvious to go to Areion,” Jacobs notes. “Areion is very consistent with his winners to runners. [His sire] Big Shuffle was a Moyglare-bred and he was as tough as nails. Big Shuffle worked best over Surumu and Kongisstuhl, which is Monsun, and that's why this was an obvious mating. I think in Germany he will be popular because of these three stallions. And then he comes from a dam line which is the 'A' family of Schlenderhan–not the 'A' family of Allegretta but the other one–and in Germany everybody knows the family.”

Among the seven mares that Fahrhof plans to send to Alson is the dual South African Grade 1 winner Blueridge Mountain (Giant's Causeway); Eridea (Ger) (Camponologist), a half-sister to the treble Group 1 winner Earl Of Tinsdal (Ger) (Black Sam Bellamy {Ire}); the Group 1 runner-up and Listed winner Path Wind (Fr) (Anabaa), a close relation to the G2 Park Hill S. winner and G1 Prix Vermeille runner-up Wild Coco (Ger) (Shirocco {Ger}); and Raipura (Ger) (Montjeu {Ire}), a half-sister to the dam of Group 1 winners Wild Illusion (GB) and Yibir (GB), both by Dubawi (Ire).

Then there's also a septet from Gestut Schlenderhan, led by the G1 Preis der Diana (German Oaks) winner Iota (Ger), who is already the dam of the Group 1-winning Adlerflug (Ger) brothers In Swoop (Ger) and Ito (Ger), who stand at stud respectively in Ireland and Germany. The Ullmann family will also send another Preis der Diana victrix in Well Timed (Ger) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}), as well as  Mondaine (Ger) (Adlerflug {Ger}), a half-sister to the G1 Prix Ganay winner Mare Australis (Ire) (Australia {GB}).

Jacobs notes that German stallions can be slower to fill than their counterparts in Britain and Ireland. He says, “It's like two worlds and I see that with our own mares. The German breeders book all their international sires before Christmas and their national sires post-Christmas, so within Germany the big booking time is January and we are in that phase now. Alson has been well received and I think people wanted to see what we will send him.

“Schlenderhan and Fahrhof own the horse in partnership together with a few other share-holders. He came to us in August straight from racing so he has had some time to settle down but he has a really nice character and is filling out well. We have a routine where we lunge the stallions every morning and that has already helped him to look a lot stronger.”

Alson spent his first season in training in Germany with Jean-Pierre Carvalho, winning on his 2-year-old debut at Munich before picking up a second win at Clairefontaine two months later. He landed his first stakes win in a Group 3 at home in Baden-Baden and then made two return trips to Paris, finishing runner-up to subsequent Classic winner Victor Ludorum (Ire) (Shamardal) in the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere and then taking his own top-level win in the G1 Criterium International. Switched to Andre Fabre's stable the following season, Alson was third in the G1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains and won the Listed Prix Matchem as well as finishing runner-up in the G3 Prix Perth.

“What he did at the races as a 2-year-old was quite impressive, to be the best German 2-year-old since the Second World War in terms of what he delivered race after race,” says Jacobs. “And on the back of Galileo and Monsun mares, those later-maturing German bloodlines, it wasn't obvious that he would do that. That's something special. I think we all realise in Germany that the world is going in that direction. If you look at the stallion roster of Coolmore, it's all about speed, speed, speed, so we had to wake up, and we are proud to have a German-bred who was so successful as a 2-year-old in France.”

Japan Meets Germany

It is not just Alson's first book that is occupying the mind of the Fahrhof maestro at the moment as Jacobs was also instrumental in ensuring that dual Group 1 winner Japan (GB) would become the first son of Galileo to stand at stud in Germany. As the horse's breeder during his family's ownership of Newsells Park Stud, Jacobs is naturally delighted to see Japan retire to his home country, where he will stand at Gestut Etzean alongside Amaron (GB) and Areion.

“I am very happy that Etzean has the horse, they are such a good breeding operation,” he says. “I was very strong organising the deal for Japan and was happy to see a partnership between Coolmore, Etzean and myself. He is a wonderful character and he retired sound, which is very important for Germany. Aidan O'Brien was very positive and stressed that he is a very genuine horse.”

Etzean manager Ralf Kredel is equally delighted to have such an exciting newcomer, particularly after the death of the stud's stalwart Lord Of England (Ger) last October in the year that he featured as the sire of the German Oaks winner Palmas (Ger) and grandsire of German Derby winner Sisfahan (Fr), by Lord Of England's Derby-winning son Isfahan (Ger).

“The response to Japan has been very good,” says Kredel. “Nearly all the big studs have booked nominations and they are sending decent mares, which is more important than the sheer number of mares. I think he might end up with around 70 mares, which is a good number for Germany.”

He continues, “I was already pleased when I saw him for the first time at Aidan O'Brien's and he has let down already in the last few weeks. There is a committee of the Jockey Club in Germany going to see the new stallions and they were very impressed with him.”

As a 1.3 million gns yearling, it is no surprise that Japan takes the eye, and he has a rock solid race record to go with his good looks. Winner of the G2 Beresford S. at two, he was third in the Derby, just half a length behind the winner, his stable-mate Anthony Van Dyck (Ire). His 3-year-old season progressed impressively, with victories in the G2 King Edward VII S., G1 Grand Prix de Paris, G1 Juddmonte International and a fourth-place finish in the Arc behind Waldgeist (GB) (Galileo {Ire}), who was co-bred by Newsells Park Stud with Gestut Ammerland and Coolmore. Remaining in training at four and five, Japan added the G3 Ormonde S. and G3 Meld S. to his tally of wins, along with another four Group 1 placings. He will receive strong backing from Etzean's own broodmare band along with outside mares. 

“We have reduced our numbers slightly but we will send him 10 of the 25 mares owned by the stud,” says Kredel. “That includes the dam of [German Oaks winner] Miss Yoda, Monami (Ger) (Sholokhov {Ire}), who was a champion 2-year-old herself.”

Etzean will also send a sister to GI Beverly D S. victrix Royal Highness (Ger) (Monsun {Ger}), who is another from the family of Yibir, as well as Strawberry (Ger) (Lord Of England {Ger}), the dam of last year's champion 2-year-old in Germany, the Group 3 winner Sea Bay (Ger) (New Bay {GB}).

“Also our clients with mares on the farm are sending him some good mares including the Guineas winner Lancade (Ger) (Areion {Ger}), who was bought for him at the Arqana Sale,” Kredel adds. 

“The German broodmare band has definitely become more international in the last 15 years, but still we have a big source of non-Danehill line mares and I think that's one of the reasons why we have got a horse like this.”

The stud's Classic winner of last season, Palmas, suffered a ligament injury in the G1 Prix de l'Opera and has now been retired. She will be a future mate for Japan but in her first season she has a date with the champion sire of Britain and Ireland.

“She was very sore after the Opera and we decided last week that she would not go back into training. She will now go to Frankel (GB). She obviously works very well with Japan as well but the plan is to go to a foreign stallion while she is a maiden,” Kredel confirms.

Windstoss The Hometown Hero

The third new recruit to the stallion ranks is a proper homegrown success, and that doesn't just mean Germany, for Windstoss (Ger) (Shirocco {Ger}) has never actually  left the stud where he was born other than to go racing. The G1 Deutsches Derby winner was the first foal of his dam Wellenspiel (Ger) (Sternkoenig {Ire}), and was born in 2014 at Gestut Rottgen. Sent into training with Markus Klug at the farm's private facilities within the beautiful walled estate on the outskirts of Cologne, his 3-year-old season saw him at his brightest and best, winning a Derby Trial at Dusseldorf before sensationally being brought down in another at Hanover. In the Derby itself, things were a little more straightforward, and Windstoss built on that success with another Group 1 strike in the Preis von Europa. He remained in training until he was seven and, frustratingly, has not won again in the intervening years, though he has racked up plenty of Group placings, including finishing third behind Cracksman (GB) in the G1 Coronation Cup at Epsom. 

“He only changed his stable,” says Rottgen manager Frank Dorff. “He was born and did everything in the same place, other than racing.”

Windstoss's ascent from the foaling unit to the stallion unit completes the circle and makes him the only son of the GI Breeders' Cup winner and fellow Deutsches Derby winner Shirocco standing in Germany. That of course also means he is a fairly lonely flag-bearer for the Monsun line, which is dwindling in the late stallion's home country, with only Windstoss's stud-mate Protectionist (Ger) keeping him company in this regard. 

Dorff admits that Windstoss's lengthy racing career makes him harder to market in his new career. “He hasn't retired as a star,” Dorff says. “His best wins were a few years ago, but on the other hand, the typical German breeders realise that he was a very tough and consistent horse.”

They will also know that his half-brother Weltstar (Ger) (Soldier Hollow {GB}) brought up an incredible double for their young dam when winning the following year's German Derby. He is now at stud in France at Haras de Longechaux, where he is expecting his first foals this year, but he remains in the ownership of Rottgen. 

Wellenspiel is not in foal presently but she has a yearling full-sister to Weltstar on the ground and her barren status allows for an overseas trip to visit Waldgeist at Ballylinch Stud this season. 

Meanwhile at Rottgen, Windstoss will have his fair share of the home broodmare band. 

“We're sending him nine mares, which is a lot for us,” Dorff says. “We bought four mares for him, three in Arqana, two of those very well-bred mares from the Aga Khan, one by Dansili (GB) and one by Oasis Dream (GB).”

Clearly all three of the new boys in Germany this season will have decent chances at studs with international reputations who will lend them plenty of support. Times may gradually be a-changing even in the country famed for its middle-distance specialists, but one only needs to look at the recently published Longines world rankings of top racehorses and top races to note that it is still that sector of race that carries the greatest prestige. 

For the fifth time in seven years, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe was named as the best race in the world, and it will have escaped nobody's attention in the bloodstock business that last year's Arc was won by the unconsidered German-bred Torquator Tasso (Ger) (Adlerflug {Ger}) in the patriotic colours of Karl-Dieter Ellebracke's Gestut Auenquelle. The stud is currently home to the veteran former champion sire Soldier Hollow (GB) whose sire In The Wings (GB) has been such an influence in Germany, also through his son Adlerflug, who sadly died last year and is the country's current champion sire for the second year running.

Andreas Jacobs is already thinking ahead in this regard. He says, “It's good to have two really top horses coming into Germany in Alson and Japan. Let's see if the Germans can secure Torquator Tasso for next year. He could be the natural successor for Adlerflug.”

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