Karlshof Straight to the Top with Fourth German Champion Breeder Title 

Michaela and Holger Faust receive the champion breeder prize from Christian von der Recke


For the fourth time in its 33-year existence Gestut Karlshof has been named champion breeder in Germany for 2023.

The first title came in 2000, the year Samum (Ger) (Monsun {Ger}) won the G1 Deutsches Derby and set the ball rolling for what has become the stud's signature family. Samum's dam Sacarina (GB) (Old Vic {GB}) went on to produce, from repeat matings to Monsun, the G1 Preis der Diana winner Salve Regina (Ger), whose Classic success for Manfred and Edith Hellwig of Gestut Hony-Hof gave the Faust family of Karlshof the champion breeder title for a second time in 2002, and later another Deutsches Derby winner in Schiaparelli (Ger).

“We've been champion breeder in 2000, 2002, and 2008, then there was a gap of 15 years but we have the fourth one,” says Holger Faust, whose parents Bruno and Michaela founded Gestut Karlshof. “It was established in 1990, so it's not that old.”

He continues, “My parents are both from Frankfurt and, back in the day, the racetrack in Frankfurt, which is closed now, was quite popular with 20 to 30 meetings a year. That was how my father became involved with racing, and my mother was already from a family of breeders.”

The Classic lineage extends back through Michaela Faust's parents, who owned the 1980 Deutsches Derby winner Navarino (Ger), as well as his Deutsches St Leger-winning sire Madruzzo (Ger). Navarino also won the G2 Union-Rennen, the major Derby trial which was claimed last season by the Karlshof homebred Straight (Ger) (Zarak {Fr}). Later a close third behind Zagrey (Fr) (Zarak {Fr}) in the G1 Grosser Preis von Baden, Straight remains in training for his four-year-old season. He is a fourth-generation descendant of the aforementioned Sacarina through another of her Monsun daughters, Sahel (Ger). Yet another, Sanwa (Ger), is the dam of Sea The Moon (Ger).

“Straight is an exciting horse,” says Faust, who manages not just his family's horses in training but also those of Darius Racing. “He's getting ready for next year's campaign and I think he can be a very interesting horse for the grand prix races, not only in Germany.”

He continues, “I think that we have a pretty good team for next year. From the younger horses, I would mention the unbeaten Maigret, who is now three. He has done nothing wrong so far. He won his listed race like a walk in the park and I think he can improve. He's now heading to the German Guineas first and then we will see how the story continues.”

Maigret (Ger) is an important Classic contender for the stud as he is by the farm's reverse shuttle stallion Counterattack (Aus), a son of Redoute's Choice (Aus). Furthermore, his dam is by its former resident Dabirsim (Fr) and she has already produced the stakes-winning mare Mylady (Ger) (The Grey Gatsby {Ire}), who won a Group 3 in her native country before being transferred to Chad Brown in America and landing the GIII Very One S. at Gulfstream Park in the Karlshof colours. 

“We had two horses in training in America last year,” Faust notes. “There was Mylady, who just ran one time and after that, unfortunately, she got a lung infection. That's why she needed to be retired in the summer. We also had [Italian Group 3 winner] Atomic Blonde (Ger) who was placed three times in graded races and was then sold.”

Mylady is now back among the 33-strong broodmare band at the farm just south of Frankfurt, alongside her dam Minoris (Fr) and also several members of Sacarina's extended family.

“Sacarina got everything started for Karlshof,” Faust acknowledges. “And I think you can also say, looking back over the last 25 years or so, that this was one of the top three families when you consider Samun, Schiaparelli, Salve Regina, Sea the Moon, and so many black-type horses all over the world. Last year's Italian Derby winner, Goldenas, is also from the family. Right now we have four mares from that family and I would say that the most interesting of those mares is called Seductive (Ger) (Henrythenavigator). With her second foal, she already produced last year's Group 2 winner and German Derby favourite, Straight, so I think there's more to come from her.”

When wearing his other hat as manager to Darius Racing, Faust has been involved with two more Derby winners in his home country: Isfahan (Ger) and his son Sisfahan (Fr). Darius's principal Stefan Oschmann, who has been champion owner twice in Germany, also raced the five-time group winner Rubaiyat (Fr) (Areion {Ger}), who, like Isfahan, now stands at Gestut Ohlerweiherhof.

“Besides the stud, there are two things I am really passionate about. One is being Darius Racing's manager. I've done that now for more than 10 years. And I'm very proud that we have had two German Derby winners, and two stallions.

“The second thing is I'm also running HFTB Agency and I love doing that. I'm focused on exporting German racehorses and, if they are successful, it's always nice to follow the horses and to see them run at bigger tracks in front of more people.”

While the Karlshof team campaign plenty of their own horses, Faust also points to the stud's record at the sales. In the last eight years, Karlshof has sold 14 black-type winners, which equates to 13% of the horses sold. These include A Raving Beauty (Ger) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}), who won the GI First Lady S. and GI Just A Game S. for Chad Brown, and Group 3 winner Isfahani (Ger) (Isfahan {Ger}), who was runner-up in the G1 Preis der Diana. 

Faust nominates the latter's full-sister Isfand (Ger), trained by Henk Grewe, as a horse to follow in Germany in the coming season. He says, “She hasn't run yet but I do believe that she is a filly that could be entered for the German Oaks with a big chance.”

Karlshof's fellow champions in Germany for 2023 were Peter Schiergen, who won the trainers' title for the eighth time, while Andrash Starke was champion jockey. Liberty Racing, which campaigned Derby winner Fantastic Moon (Ger), took the owners' title. This represented the first time in just over two centuries of racing in Germany that the champion owner was a syndicate. 


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