Living the Good Life in Baden-Baden

Start 'em young: 11-year-old Frauke Kredel showing a yearling for her father Ralf at Gestut Etzean's draft | Emma Berry


IFFEZHEIM, Germany–Baden-Baden, so good they named it twice. Okay, so the BBAG sales complex and its neighbouring grand racecourse may be in the small nearby village of Iffezheim but it is Baden-Baden that lends its name to the current stop on the European yearling sales tour, now that Donville is in the rear-view mirror.

The caravan rolls on, and it is always wise to stay on for a few days in Baden-Baden if time allows as, whether you're a pedigree purist or you simply enjoy a good day out at the races, all your needs will be catered for over the coming weekend at one of the most beautiful tracks in Europe. You can even take your dog and, if you really must, your children. 

First, though, there's the not-so-small matter of several hundred of Germany's best yearlings to get through tomorrow, along with some incomers from France, Ireland, Britain, Switzerland and even Hungary.

Had you been here two years ago you could have seen two future Classic stars. The Deutsches Derby winner Fantastic Moon (Ger) was sold by his breeders Philipp and Marion Stauffenberg for €49,000 to Lars-Wilhelm Baumgarten's Liberty Racing. On the same day Baumgarten switched roles to sell a Sea The Moon filly for €80,000. She is now named Muskoka (Ger) and is the winner of the Preis der Diana, giving Baumgarten a rare Classic double as both owner and breeder. Fantastic Moon reappears at Baden-Baden on Sunday in the Grosser Preis, which this year carries enhanced prize-money of €400,000 and also features the Preis der Diana runner-up Kassada (Ger), yet another by Sea The Moon, as well as the Derby runner-up Mr Hollywood (Ire) (Iquitos {Ger}).

Before then, Muskoka's half-sister by Reliable Man (GB) will be offered for sale as lot 175 on Friday from the draft of Timo and Nastasja Degel's Gestut Ohlerweiherhof, a growing force, both on the German sales and stallion scene, with the 2016 Deutsches Derby winner Isfahan (Ger) on its roster.

It has been quite the year for Baumgarten, who is likely to be extra busy during Friday's sale as he attempts to sign up the next intake of yearlings for what will be an enhanced Liberty Racing presence for next year.

“I am very happy with the season. If you win the Derby and the Diana it's amazing, a childhood dream,” he told TDN.

“We are making the syndicate bigger this year. We started with 12 investors in 2020 and now we have near 100 in this year, so we are creating four syndicates for next season. We've raised €2 million for the horseracing industry in Germany and I'm happy that a lot of people trust me and my team–that was on my mind as we created it.”

He continued, “The sport in Germany is not easy. We have fewer horses in training in the country this year compared to last year, and we have lost 2,000 horses over 20 years. So the industry is not in the best shape but we are doing our best to find new owners.”

One of the saddest losses to the German stallion ranks in recent years was that of Adlerflug (Ger), who died in April 2021 the year after he became champion sire in his native country. Baumgarten was closely connected to the stallion as the manager of the syndicate of breeders involved in his stud career.

This is the final year that Adlerflug will be represented by yearlings at BBAG, where he has six catalogued. He has been succeeded at stud by his Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe-winning son Torquator Tasso (Ger), who was Germany's busiest stallion in 2023, covering 85 mares in his first season at Gestut Auenquelle.

Baumgarten added, “The loss of Adlerflug was sad for me. He was so good in his last three years and he passed away too early. He has some good yearlings here and I hope that they sell well, and that he can give us perhaps a sire in his last crop. It is amazing for Germany that Torquator Tasso is in this country, and that he did not go to France or England. We need sire power.”

Baumgarten's Reliable Man filly is not the only half-sibling to one of this year's Classic winners present at BBAG as Gestut Fahrhof is consigning lot 165, a first-crop daughter of Pinatubo (Ire) out of the Group 3-winning Speightstown mare Hargeisa, whose second foal is the German 1000 Guineas victrix Habana (Ger).

There's not much breathing room in the sales calendar at present, with the Goffs Premier Sale having only just concluded and the Somerville Sale looming, hard on the heels of another horses-in-training sale at Tattersalls on Friday. However, plenty of British and Irish visitors have made their way to Germany. A noticeably larger contingent of British trainers present at BBAG includes Alice Haynes, Lemos de Souza, Kevin Philippart de Foy, Willie Butler and Tom Clover, all of whom were on the hunt early on Thursday morning, along with the regulars Ralph Beckett and Andrew Balding, plus a wide range of agents and breeze-up pinhookers.

The Faust family's Gestut Karlshof continues to enjoy a great run as both owner and breeder, and their colours will be represented in Sunday's G1 Grosser Preis von Baden by the Andreas Wohler-trained Straight (Ger) (Zarak {Fr}), winner of the G2 Union-Rennen earlier this season. The colt is another with a sibling in the sale: his half-brother by Brametot (Ire) features as lot 71 and represents Karlshof's signature family of Sacarina (GB) (Old Vic {GB}). So deep is that blue hen's imprint in the stud's bloodlines that she appears as the fourth dam of the of this colt, who has been named Seducer. Hard to think of a better name for a future stallion.

Karlshof also offers a strapping chestnut colt from the first crop of Ghaiyyath (Ire). Catalogued as lot 176, he is closely related to another recent group winner from the farm, the G3 Schwarzgold Rennen winner and German 1000 Guineas runner-up No Limit Credit (Ger) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}).

Late updates are always welcome for any consignor and lot 59 was given a boost on Wednesday when his relative Carolina Reaper (GB), trained by Charlie Johnston, became the third group winner for her young sire Too Darn Hot (GB) in the G3 Zukunfts Rennen next door to the sales complex. It's a page which doesn't require too much of a lift as the Sea The Stars (Ire) yearling colt in question, offered by Stauffenberg Bloodstock, is out of a Dubawi half-sister to Lordship Stud's St Leger winner Sixties Icon (GB), who is in turn out of the Oaks winner Love Divine (GB). The latter's Listed-winning half-sister Dark Promise (GB) is the dam of Carolina Reaper. 

While this year's draft from the Stauffenbergs features two Sea The Stars yearlings, there are none by his son Sea The Moon, whose name has loomed large in this year's German Classics. Five of those can be found in the next row along, however, in the consignment of Sea The Moon's breeder Gestut Gorlsdorf, along with a Belardo (Ire) colt out of the most appropriately named mare in the catalogue: Baden Baden (and, yes, she's by Sea The Moon, out of Berlin Berlin). Her yearling is perhaps so good that he has also been named twice. He's called Bonn Bonn. Or maybe that should be Bon Bon. 



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