By: Liesl King

10 Oct 2013 Written by Liesl King Comments 0


Lot 253 in the ring



A new European record was set at Tattersalls October Book 1 when the half brother to Oaks runner up Secret Gesture(GB) was knocked down to John Magnier for 3.6 million guineas. In the packed auditorium, David Redvers stunned the assembled spectators when he opened the bidding on the Galileo(IRE) colt, out of the Danehill mare Shastye(IRE), with a bid of 1 million guineas. The outstanding colt was consigned by Andreas Jacobs’ Newsells Park Stud Ltd and both parties considered him a potential stallion prospect.


The record however stood for less than 24 hours, before another Galileo, the full sister to Group 1 Investec Oaks winner Was(IRE), was knocked down for 5 million guineas (roughly R78 million) to Mandore International for Al Shaqab Racing after another bidding war with Coolmore’s Magnier. Itwas a new world record for a filly. The sale also represents the highest price in European auction history, beating the 4.6m guineas that Magical Romance realised at the 2006 Tattersalls December Mare Sale.


Consigned by Lodge Park Stud, Ireland, the filly out of the Green Desert mare Alluring Park, from the family of new sire sensation New Approach(IRE) and Champion European Three Year Old Filly Dazzling Park(IRE) will go into training with Andre Fabre.


Ibrahim Araci opened the bidding at 500,000gns, with Charlie Gordon-Watson and John Magnier both involved to the 2 million guineas mark. At that point Gordon-Watson and Araci bowed out and Mandore stepped in. It was then a head to head through to the record price, with the Coolmore crew eventually gathering into a huddle for a final discussion.


"She is a magnificent specimen," said Nicholas de Watrigant. "We bought her sister last year and we think she could be special, we didn't want to miss this one - let's hope she is the next Treve!


We didn't expect to pay that sort of price, but Al Shaqab Racing is keen to invest. She goes into training with Monsieur Fabre."


When asked if maybe she does not need to race at all, Watrigant laughed: "Don't let Monsieur Fabre hear you say that!"



Lot 253 by Galileo(IRE) out of Alluring Park(IRE)



09 Oct 2013 Written by Liesl King Comments 0




Lot 144, by Galileo out of Shastye consigned by Newsells Park Stud Limited

After an astonishing opening bid of 1 miilion guineas, Lot 144 rewrote the records books, when the beautiful bay colt sold for 3.6 million guineas at the Tattersalls October Book 1 Yearling Sale. By Galileo(IRE) out of Shastye(IRE), the colt was the talk horse of the sale and it came as no surprise when John Magnier of Coolmore and Sheikh Fahad bin Hamad Al Thani ended up in a bidding war over the colt. The hammer eventually came down on Magnier's bid of 3.6 million guineas, setting a new European record for a yearling.

Insert your text here.


Lot 144 in the ring



09 Oct 2013 Written by Liesl King Comments 0


Thierry Jarnet salutes as Treve crossed the line in solitary splendour




She was a three-year-old filly, she had only had four starts and she was drawn out wide in barrier 15.  Not a promising start for the Criquette Head-Maarek trained Treve, but the filly had one thing in her favour, she did not know how to lose.


Regular pilot Thierry Jarnet was back in the saddle after Frankie Dettori, who was new owner Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al Thani's stable jockey, broke his ankle. The filly cruised at the back of the field, until the approach to the home turn, where Jarnet pulled her wide and in a matter of strides she was up with the leaders.


Then Jarnet did the unthinkable, he sent Treve into the lead with more than 400m still to go. There was a collective gasp of despair from the crowd, surely he had just commited suicide on the brave filly. But Treve is not any filly, she is an unbeaten superstar.


The expected challenge from Japanese star Orfevre and French trained colt Intello came, but Treve simply changed gears and lengthened the gap even more. The official winning margin was 5 lengths, but had Jarnet actually bother to ask the filly to extend herself, it would have been more. What is even more extraordinary is Treve's finishing speed.


She completed the last 600m in a blistering 34.74, the fastest 600m on the day, faster even than the last 600m of the Group 1 Sprint, the Prix de l'Abbaye.  Head-Maarek confirmed that racing's newest superstar will remain in training next year and then casually suggested that there is still some improvement to come from the filly. What a mouth-watering prospect.



Treve parades before the running of the Arc






Treve passes the Longines clock on the way to victory




Jarnet salutes as Treve returns triumphant




Treve and Thierry Jarnet



06 Oct 2013 Written by Liesl King Comments 0


A lone spectator at the start of the day


The course at Longchamp looking magnificent




Champagne is never far away........


05 Oct 2013 Written by Liesl King Comments 0

145 Years ago, Prussian King Wilhelm 1 attended the opening ceremony of the Hoppegarten racecourse, known today as one of the best turf course in Germany. As Berlin’s premier course, its heyday came during the years 1925 to 1945 when over 1200 horses trained at its six training tracks. Sadly, the war intervened and in 1945 the property spanning 775 hectares was confiscated from the Union-Klub. The oldest Jockey Club in Germany, the Union-Klub was considered to be aristocratic and hence an enemy of the working class.


Situated in the communist eastern part of Berlin, Hoppegarten found itself on the wrong side of the wall after the war and it would take 45 years before racing once again took place on its green turf. On 31 March 1990, six months after the iron curtain finally vanished, the first race since unification took place at Hoppegarten. The course was sold out with 40 000 avid racegoers attending.


Today Hoppegarten is owned by the London-based financier, Gerhard Schöningh and is home to several Group races, including the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Berlin, run during July. Yearly the season culminates on the 3rd of October with the Group 3 Westminster Preis der Deutschland Einheit, won convincingly this year by the Peter Schiergen trained Neatico.


The racing was exciting and despite the freezing temperatures, 12800 fans packed out the course. Added attractions were a visit by War Horse puppet Joey and the appearance of the bay overo thoroughbred Silvery Moon. Despite not having won a race yet, the striking coloured two-year-old is so popular that he has his own facebook page with over 2700 fans.


With a Group 1 victory behind his name, Neatico was the leading fancy for the main race and the six-year-old did not disappoint, charging clear before easing down to win convincingly under Andrasch Starke. Enthusiastic celebrations by his connections followed, with the appreciative crowd packed around the winner’s enclosure. Indeed a fitting ending to a great day’s racing.


Hoppegarten may not be back to its glory days yet, but the turf track is still one of the best in the country and the racecourse caters to the visitor’s every whim. So if you want to experience German racing at its best and in the most beautiful of surroundings, then head for Hoppegarten, you will definitely not be disappointed.


Fans lining the home straight




Racegoers come in all shapes, sizes and ages




Joey the War Horse puppet rearing in front of the grandstand




Silvery Moon, a study in brown and white.




Silvery Moon in action in the second race





Neatico stretching out under Andrasch Starke wins the Group 3 Westminster Preis der Deutschen Einheit





Starke salutes the crowd as Neatico returns





The crowd around the winner's enclosure





Herr Ostermann celebrating Neatico's victory



03 Sep 2013 Written by Liesl King Comments 0


Novellist storms clear in the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden at Iffezheim on Sunday, 1 September 2013, picture Liesl King

Novellist came to Baden-Baden with a hefty reputation, but there were some doubts as the conditions did not suit him.  The colt prefers fast ground and it rained overnight. While not soggy, the turf certainly looked like it could cut up. Novellist also needs a fast pace and with only five runners in the race, he seemed unlikely to get that.


As he cantered down under regular jockey Eduardo Pedroza, he  looked like a real star and 2400 meters later he returned as one. It was not as impressive as his King George victory, but it was a victory none the less. In the challenging conditions, Novellist was forced to take the lead early on. Seismos and Meandre both loomed late, but the colt fought back to become the first horse to win three Breeders’ Cup Challenge Races in one year.


He will now follow in Danedream’s footsteps, as he prepares to take on the world’s best in the Arc, five weeks from now.



Seismos, Empoli and Novellist in the final furlong, picture Liesl King


Novellist and Eduardo Pedroza, picture Liesl King




Trainer Andreas Wohler and connections celebrate Novellist's victory, picture Liesl King

18 Jun 2013 Written by Liesl King Comments 0

Day One of Royal Ascot came and went in a whirl of drama, action and delight. Animal Kingdom, showed that a sure thing, is never a sure thing as the champion abruptly cried enough during the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, fading badly to finish amongst the back markers.


While Shea Shea just got pipped on the post in the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes by a flying Sole Power on the opposite side of the track. Shea Shea likes to run down his opposition, but when he reached the lead, the gelding clearly thought he had vanquished all foes and started loafing. Ascot is a very wide track and with Sole Power flying up the standside rail, Shea Shea had no idea he was about to be pipped.  If he pulls out fine tomorrow then he is very likely to start in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee over 1200m on Saturday.


Dawn Approach made amends for his extraordinary race in the Derby, where he fought his rider all the way and consequently faded badly. In a gutsy race where he got bumped several times, Dawn Approach fought all the way to the line to win the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes in a photo finish.

Wednesday, the feature race is the Group 1 Prince of Wales Stakes where Al Kazeem wil be squaring off with Camelot. While South Africa has another chance at capturing their elusive first Royal Ascot victory when champion mare Dancewiththedevil lines up in the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes over a mile.


A packed grandstand


Nemo and his firends


The Queen arrives

19 May 2013 Written by Liesl King Comments 0


The horses in the first race come out on parade.

After a week of anticipation, it is finally race time in Singapore! In a very humid 33 degrees Celsius, the field in the first came out on on parade shortly before 3pm. The two international Group 1's, the Krisflyer International Sprint and the Sinagpore International Airlines Cup is race  9 and 10 on the 11 race card, promising a long but exciting day of racing.



Spyder, winner of the first, ridden by Joao Moreira and trained by South African born Pat Shaw, out on parade.

19 May 2013 Written by Liesl King Comments 0

As expected, Saturday morning’s trackwork did not send the media running to their keyboards, with most of the horses barely raising a sweat, except for Dasher Go Go(Jpn) who came flying down the turf track at full speed.


A six-year-old, the bay entire is an imposing individual and a beautiful mover. Morning after morning we have seen hints of what he is capable of, with steady canters that have promised much, but with no sign of any speed work on offer. When queried as to why Dasher Go Go has not had a breeze yet, assistant trainer Keiichiro Yasuda explained that back in Japan it is the norm to only breeze a furlong or two one day before the race.


Hence, the intrepid early risers lined the rail as Dasher Go Go finally made his appearance. Again, he proceeded round the track in his customary beautifully collected canter and one could be forgiven for wondering whether he was really going to sprint up after all. Yet approaching the final bend, the TV cameras showed an almost imperceptible increase in the speed of the big bay.


Cornering beautifully, Yashuda waited for Dasher Go Go to straighten up, before he finally open the throttle as he reached the 400m marker. The entire responded instantaneously, flying down the turf in an impressive display of sheer speed and power. Of the Krisflyer contenders we have seen so far, this was definitely the most dominant sprinting display and with the Australian speedster Bel Sprinter(Aus) still battling with dehydration issues, it will come as no surprise if Japan adds an International Sprint trophy to their collection.


Italian born Umberto Rispoli will be in the saddle on Sunday and having steered Rulership(Jpn) to victory in the Audemars Piquet II Cup in 2011, he is no stranger to the tight South East Asia tracks. Dasher Go Go may not be in the league of Japan’s champion sprinter Lord Kanaloa(Jpn) but he is spot on for Sunday’s Krisflyer and if this morning’s work is anything to go by he might prove very hard to beat.

17 May 2013 Written by Liesl King Comments 0



Standing next to the plastic rail, in 30 degree heat, with the rain streaming down and flashes of thunder all around may not seem like the best place to be at 5am on a steamy Singapore morning. I am however counting on the fact that the floodlights are metal and taller than me and therefore theoretically, while looking like a drowned rat, I should be perfectly safe.


With three days to go until race day and with the last of the international contenders, the Japanese horse Dasher Go Go (Sakura Bakushin O{Jpn}) having jetted in on Tuesday, it is now all systems go for the Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup and the Group 1 Krisflyer International Sprint.

While the assembled media huddle undercover, debating whether the media room and coffee is a better bet than the steady downpour trackside, Bel Sprinter (Bel Esprit {Aus})) won the battle to be first out on the track. With his trainer Jason Warren having arrived overnight, the gelding has an easy workout trotting and cantering on the Polytrack.  Warren is happy with his charge, adding that he would prefer a midfield draw as Bel Sprinter can be a bit slow out of the gates. Unfortunately, the racing gods must have been slightly deafened by the thunder and the gelding drew barrier 10 in the 11-horse field.


Red Cadeaux however put in a speedy finish just to get back to the warmth of his dry stable with assistant trainer Robin Trevor-Jones explaining that the globetrotting gelding dislikes the rain and had flattened his ears when he was walked out of the quarantine barn. Coming from a country where rain is more the norm than the exception, this might explain why the seven-year-old spends so much time abroad.


Despite Red Cadeaux having some opinions as to what can be considered suitable weather for track work, regular work rider Stephen Nicholson was happy with the gelding’s work and drawn midfield in barrier seven, he is a serious contender come Sunday.

Favourite Pastorius (Soldier Hollow{Ger}) did two laps at a steady canter, with trainer Mario Hofer on hand to watch the colt for the first time since his arrival. Hofer said that he thought Pastorius looked strong and that he was happy with his condition.


The only other horse to grace the turf track was the Japanese contender Dasher Go Go. Pulling hard in the rain, Dasher Go Go cantered a lap with assistant trainer Keiichiro Yasuda on board. Having arrived late, the six-year-old is having another canter on Friday, with a quick sprint up on Saturday.

Dasher Go Go lost his travelling companion when Capote Star was withdrawn from the SAI Cup.

Trying to come to up with alternative companions, his enterprising team hung a selection of soft toys all around his box. Groom and interpreter Hiroshi Ando explains: “When I was working for the Canadian trainer Roger Attfield in Florida, he told me about this trick he picked up form a dressage team. He went on to win the Breeders’ Cup with a filly named Perfect Shirl, so I thought we’d give it a try.” And if his track work is anything to go by, Dasher Go Go really seems to be enjoying his toys!