Restrepo And Partners Buy Horse To Run At St. Moritz White Turf Meet

Courtesy Ramiro Restrepo


For the last three or four years, bloodstock agents Ramiro Restrepo, Bo Bromagen, and Clay Scherer had talked about attending the White Turf races in St. Moritz, Switzerland as fans. The races are among the most unique in the world. They're held every February and run over a frozen lake that is packed down with snow, creating a spectacle unlike anything, anywhere in the world of horse racing. The races have been held since 1907.

“We always thought that the St. Moritz white turf races were so cool, so appealing,” Restrepo said.

In a few months, the three will be in St. Moritz, but not as fans but as owners. At this week's Tattersalls Autumn Horses In Training Sale 2023 they bought a horse named Cumulonimbus (Ire) (Night of Thunder {Ire}) with the specific goal of sending him to Switzerland to compete in the biggest race of the meet, the Feb. 18 Grosser Preis von St Moritz. The horse cost 150,000 guineas.

The race will be contested at a mile-and-a-quarter and the purse is 100,000 Swiss Francs, which equals about $110,000 U.S.

“Last year, we decided to forget about going in there as fans,” said Restrepo, part owner of 2023 GI Kentucky Derby winner Mage (Good Magic). “We decided why don't we try to win this thing. We spent the year putting our heads together and tried to figure out the best way to approach it.”

Part of that approach is to involve a large contingent of friends and colleagues. The three decided to sell 50 shares in the horses and Restrepo said that about 40 have already been sold.

“We wanted to put forth a strong investment to acquire a prospect who we could have some fun with running in Switzerland and, also, going forward, run in a couple of other international races and just have fun,” Restrepo said. “We want to put 40-50 horsemen together and put aside the competition and the egos. We want this to be more a brotherhood and sisterhood of horsemen, whether its consignors, owners, breeders, someone who works for a sales company. We just want to make this a fun thing. We spend all year fighting each other in sales ring and on racetrack. Here is a chance for all of us to come together under one banner as equal shareholders and have a great time competing in a unique international race.”

But how do you find the right horse for a race that is not run on dirt, grass or a synthetic surface, but on snow? What is there to go on?

The group put European bloodstock expert Martin Buick, the brother of jockey William Buick, in charge.

“Martin Buick helped us out through the process,” Restrepo said. “We were going through potential horses in this horses of racing age sale and looked at previous horses that won this race and their ratings. We did our homework and Martin was our eyes and ears on ground.”

Restrepo said winners of the Grosser Preis von St Moritz tend to be close to the pace early because those in the back can be hindered by what can be a heavy kickback of snow. Considering the conditions, you also need a horse with proven stamina. Restrepo believes that Cumulonimbus is a perfect fit for the race.

“This one fell in our lap,” Restrepo said. “He has the style for it. He's won handicaps with Frankie Dettori and Hollie Doyle up, so you know he has some class. He just kind of fit the bill.”

Cumulonimbus has been turned over to U.K. based trainer George Baker, no stranger to the White Turf races. He won the 2020 Grosser Preis von St. Moritz with Wargrave (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}).

“This is something fresh, something new that we wanted to try,” Restrepo said. “What could be better than to spend a weekend of racing with a good group of people? This race is a bucket list item for a lot of people. It's easy to see why and we'd love to win it.”

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