Stellar German Families in the Spotlight at BBAG

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Tünnes, a €30,000 BBAG graduate and half-brother to Torquator Tasso, wins the sales race at Baden-Baden | Emma Berry

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BADEN-BADEN, Germany–There has been much for German racing and breeding to celebrate since its premier yearling sale of 12 months ago. That same weekend, Torquator Tasso (Ger), a graduate of the 2018 sale, landed the G1 Grosser Preis von Baden just across the road from the auction house before going on to his memorable victory in the G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. A reminder, if one were needed, that German bloodlines can mix it with the very best in the world, as also exemplified recently by the GI Beverly D S. victrix Dalika (Ger) (Pastorius {Ger}).

Baden-Baden's 'Grosse Woche', which includes four days of racing action in Iffezheim, is in full swing again and culminates on Sunday with a repeat appearance from Torquator Tasso in the meeting's big race, in which he will take on this year's G1 German Derby winner Sammarco (Ire) (Camelot {GB}). The week is going well for Paul Vandeberg, who bred not only Torquator Tasso but his half-brother Tünnes (Ger) (Guiliani {Ger}), the one-time 2022 German Derby favourite who missed the early part of his Classic season through injury but bounced back in style with his easy victory in the Preis der BBAG Auktionsrennen on Wednesday afternoon.

Vandeberg has decided to keep hold of the yearling full-brother to the Arc winner, a colt made that bit more precious by the sad demise of his sire Adlerflug (Ger) in April 2021, but this year's Derby-winning breeder Helmut von Finck is offering the half-brother to Sammarco on Friday. The colt by the veteran of the German stallion ranks, Areion (Ger), features as lot 157. His dam Saloon Sold (Ger), by von Finck's hugely successful stallion Soldier Hollow (GB), won at two and three and earned listed black type before hitting the bullseye in producing a Classic winner as her first foal. Sammarco has also gone on to win the G1 Grosser Dallmayr-Preis over 10 furlongs against his elders since his Derby triumph.

“Winning the Derby with Sammarco was very special,” said von Finck at BBAG on Wednesday. “The auction company wanted to have his brother here but he is a late foal, born in May, and Areion is not such a commercial stallion so we do not expect a big price. If we cannot sell him we will keep him to race. We will see how the market is. Sammarco came here two years ago and people thought he was small but he wasn't too small to win the Derby.”

Gestut Park Wiedingen's draft of four homebreds also includes lot 39, a colt by Sea The Moon (Ger) who is a grandson of von Finck's Preis der Diana (German Oaks) winner Flamingo Road (Ger) (Acatenango {Ger}), as well as the first foal of champion 2-year-old Whispering Angel (Ger) (Soldier Hollow {GB}). The filly is by the late Mastercraftsman (Ire) and is catalogued as lot 70.

“We have four very good horses,” von Finck continued. “A Sea The Moon from one of my favourite families of Flamingo Road, then we have a Soldier Hollow filly from Elvira (Ger), who is from a very good Rottgen family, and of course Soldier Hollow fillies are very interesting at the moment.”

He added, “I would like to think about involving partners or a syndicate in the future but no-one has spoken to me about this project. That's maybe the way we will go. I love my horses and I stand behind them.”

With Sammarco aiming for a third consecutive Group 1 victory on Sunday in the Grosser Preis, von Finck said he remains calm despite the big occasion.

“Obviously everything has to go well but he is in good shape and he is supposed to run, that”s what he was bred to do,” he said. “Of course Torquator Tasso will be hard to beat but I would be happy with second or third.”

Von Finck is also the breeder of Group 3 winner and Derby runner-up Destino (Ger)  (Soldier Hollow {GB}), who recently started his stud career at Gestut Westerberg and has his first yearlings for sale this year. His duo in the BBAG catalogue are both consigned by Peter and Aline Rodde's Gestut Westerberg, a pair of athletic colts who will sell at each end of the sale as lots 12 and 213.

Peter Rodde, overseeing his draft as the early viewers got to work, divulged that Destino, who is the only son of the 22-year-old Soldier Hollow at stud in Germany, had covered 27 mares in his first crop.

Another first-crop stallion very much aligned with Germany but with connections in Britain and Ireland is the Ballylinch Stud resident Waldgeist (GB), who is well-represented at BBAG, not least in the drafts of his co-breeders Gestut Ammerland and Gestut Fahrhof, the latter under the Jacobs family's former ownership of Newsells Park Stud, where the Arc winner was bred.

Waldgeist's nine yearlings in Baden-Baden include four of a five-strong draft from Ammerland, which recently enjoyed a terrific sale at Arqana in Deauville, selling six yearlings for a total of €2,375,000. Among its offerings here, lot 133 is a Waldgeist half-brother to the aforementioned Dalika, whose Grade I strike almost three weeks ago provided an important late update for the colt. There could yet be more to come from the Albert Stall-trained mare, who is now being primed for the GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

A welcome burst of rain appeared overnight in Baden-Baden, bringing the temperature down to a reasonable working level as agents from overseas started to drift into the sales ground on Wednesday morning. Action abated for a while as racing got underway next door, with an update for lot 151, Haras de l'Hotellerie's filly by Bated Breath (GB), provided by her half-sister Noble Heidi (Fr) (Intello {Ger}), who was the easy winner of the Coolmore-sponsored Listed Baden-Baden Cup. Now four, the daughter of the Orpen mare Noble Pensee (Fr), already had bold black type to her name as the winner of the G3 Preis der Winterkonigin as a 2-year-old.

Germany's largest commercial stud, Gestut Fahrhof, perhaps understandably boasts the most international list of sires when it comes to the yearlings offered. Among its draft of 17 is the only colt by Frankel (GB) in the sale, lot 58 being a three-parts-brother to the G1 Premio Roma winner Potemkin (Ger) (New Approach {GB}). The Fahrhof consignment also contains first-crop fillies by Too Darn Hot (GB) and Study Of Man (Ire), as well as a colt by Kingman (GB) out of the listed winner Sarandia (Ger) (Dansili {GB}). Kingman has already done the Fahrhof team quite a favour in providing 'TDN Rising Star' Habana (Ger), who was another facile winner on the rain-softened ground at Baden-Baden as the 2-year-old filly posted a Group 3 victory in the stud's distinctive black and yellow silks in Wednesday's feature race, the Renate und Ulbrecht Woeste Zukunfts-Rennen.

For breeders and consignors at BBAG, it was important to keep an eye on both the racecourse and the sales grounds during the initial day of showing, but for the next two days the focus will be solely on selling this year's crop of yearlings, with the sale set to start at 10 a.m. on Friday. We've seen some vibrant trade at BBAG in recent years, including a record-breaking top lot of €820,000 in 2019, which was equalled 12 months later even in the midst of a pandemic. It seems reasonable to expect another strong session on Friday, especially while German-breds continue to advertise the strength of the brand on a worldwide stage.

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