Great Solution for Growing Venture at Gestut Lunzen  

Nikolas Schenke and Tommy Witt of Gestut Lunzen | Emma Berry


BADEN-BADEN, Germany–His name has been etched into the annals of German racing history as the winner, in 2018, of the Grosser Preis von Berlin, followed three weeks later by the Grosser Preis von Baden. Best Solution (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) then turned this Group 1 double into a treble by flying to the other side of the world and adding the Caulfield Cup to his fine record as a 4-year-old. 

In 2020, the Godolphin colour-bearer retired to stud in Germany with a powerful syndicate of some of the country's leading breeders behind him ensuring that he covered around 80 mares, a decent book size by German standards. He now faces the first important test of his stud career when 12 members of that first crop come under the hammer on Friday at BBAG.

Having started out at Gestut Auenquelle, which looks likely to welcome the Arc winner Torquator Tasso (Ger) to its stallion roster for next year, Best Solution moved this season to Gestut Lunzen, a new enterprise run by Nikolas Schenke and Tommy Witt based in the north of Germany between Hamburg and Bremen.

“We started off with just a couple of horses and stalls and grew from there,” says Witt, who also plays a hands-on role as the stallion man for Best Solution. “Last year the syndicate approached us to give him a little break and change of environment before the breeding season started. He did well in his development with us and he has stayed.”

Schenke and Witt both served apprenticeships at Gestut Fahrhof, with stints at Newsells Park Stud, and respectively Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky and Monty Roberts' Flag Is Up Farm in California. 

“We always saw the same countries but never met,” Witt explains. “Then when Nikolas came back to Germany he took over at Bernried, working for Gestut Ammerland, and I got a call from Nikolas to say he was looking for someone to work at Bernried, and we were both there for four years.”

In 2015 the duo started Gestut Lunzen, which has made early forays in the consigning business at the BBAG Autumn Yearling Sale. It will be no surprise to see the name represented at the major fixture before too long. 

Schenke says, “Now we have 25 mares as permanent boarders on the farm, so we do the foaling, yearling prep, breaking in, the all-round package. We are not as big as some other farms but we started from scratch and we've grown to about 60 boxes now and 80 acres, so we are getting there.”

It thus came as a major vote of confidence when the syndicate which includes such powerful names as Gestut Rottgen, Gestut Hof Ittlingen, Gestut Gorlsdorf, and Gestut Brummerhof, entrusted a young stallion to the relatively new venture. Gestut Lunzen also stands the Group 3 winner and German Derby-placed Accon (Ger) (Camelot {GB}) for his owner Holger Renz, but the addition of a stallion with the international profile of Best Solution has elevated the stud's own profile another few rungs up the ladder. 

“That gave us a big push,” admits Schenke. “We've worked from the bottom up but it is working out alright and it gave us the confidence that we haven't done a bad job over the last few years.”

Best Solution is an intriguing addition to the stallion ranks and is something of an outlier as a son of Kodiac with all his big-race wins coming at a mile and a half, though he was up and running as early as the July of his juvenile season and later that year won the G3 Autumn S. Indeed, the sire's only other Group 1 winner beyond a mile is Best Solution's full-brother El Bodegon (Ire), who landed the 10-furlong Criterium de Saint-Cloud in heavy ground last season to give James Ferguson his first success at the top level. 

One doesn't have to look too deep into the pedigree of the brothers to see the source of their staying power. Their Juddmonte-bred grand-dam Kushnarenkovo (GB) (Sadler's Wells) was herself a winner at a mile and a half and is a full-sister to the St Leger winner Brian Boru (Ire) and a three-parts sister to G2 Hardwicke S. winner and National Hunt sire Sea Moon (GB) (Beat Hollow {GB}). Their dam Eva Luna (Alleged) won the G2 Park Hill S. over 1m6f two months after breaking her maiden and then winning the Listed Galtres S.–a feat that another Juddmonte filly, this year's Galtres winner Haskoy (GB) (Golden Horn {GB}), looks set to attempt to emulate.

Schenke and Witt have seen plenty of Best Solution's stock at their own farm and on Thursday were busy perusing his offspring at BBAG, where Sea The Moon's breeders Gestut Gorlsdorf will offer a filly by him, lot 204, the first foal out of one of Sea The Moon's daughters, Tabby (Ger), from the family of smart Group-winning juvenile fillies Wannabe Grand (Ire) and Cairns (UAE).

“They look quite early types from what we have seen,” says Witt. “It will be interesting to see what they can do as 2-year-olds. I'm sure some of them will be early developers.”

Schenke adds, “For his first two seasons he was the busiest stallion in Germany and this year he covered 45 mares which for a third season in Germany is not too bad.

“We've seen a lot of his foals at the farm because quite a lot of the mares he covered last year came back when the breeders were happy with the foals.”

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