Life after Adlerflug

Adlerflug’s death at such a relatively early age was a major blow to the German bloodstock industry but the country still has plenty to offer in terms of quality stallions. Christa Riebel investigates.

Gestüt Schlenderhan’s Adlerflug, who died last month at the age of 17

Gestüt Schlenderhan’s Adlerflug, who died last month at the age of 17

Following the tragic loss of Adlerflug, and in view of the fact that the two other living multiple German Champion Sires, Soldier Hollow and Areion, are now 21 and 26 years of age respectively, questions are inevitably raised about the next generation of German stallions. 

Germany is by no means a large thoroughbred breeding country. Roughly 1,000 active broodmares and 700 foals per annum is not exactly a lot, but German bloodlines have still made a lasting impact on the international breeding and racing scene. The high times of stellar sire Monsun attracted leading agents and buyers from far afield and Adlerflug’s successful season on the track last year is a positive sign for a few more years to come. 

Adlerflug was set to cover his best ever book of mares in terms of quality and quantity (numbering over 80) before his demise. In fact, since moving to Gestüt Schlenderhan in 2017, the quality of his books had already markedly increased which bodes well for his remaining crops of 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. In addition, he is represented by two sons at stud in Germany, Ito and Iquitos, plus the Group 2 Grand Prix de Deauville winner and Deutsches Derby runner-up Savoir Vivre (out of a mare by Monsun) who stands in France.

Adlerflug’s Group 1 Grosser Preis von Bayern winning son Ito (Gestüt Erftmühle, €3,000) is bred on the highly successful Sadler’s Wells-Danehill cross, being out of the Group 1 Preis der Diana-German Oaks winning Tiger Hill mare Iota. This makes him a full-brother to the 2020 Group 1 German Derby hero and Group Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe runner-up In Swoop, thus hailing from a leading Schlenderhan dam line. 

His first crops are three-year-olds this year, and he has a two-year-old and a three-year-old winner from a total of five runners to date (to May 14th). 

Iquitos (Gestüt Graditz, €4,000) was also a high-class performer with five Pattern victories to his credit, headed by Group 1 victories in the Grosser Preis von Baden, Grosser Preis von Bayern and Grosser Dallmayr-Preis. He may stem from a fairly nondescript female line, but his first four dams are all by Champion Sires. His first crop are  yearlings in 2021. 

The Gestüt Auenquelle-based Soldier Hollow (fee: private) was Germany’s Champion Sire in 2016, 2018 and 2019, as well as being runner-up in 2012, 2014 and 2020. His progeny features 74 Stakes performers to date, including 21 Group and 27 Listed winners. His tally of five Group 1 winners includes the German Derby heroes Pastorius and Weltstar, both of which now stand in France, the former having already sired Stakes winners while the latter only took up stud duties there this year. 

However, Soldier Hollow’s best performer is probably the four-time Group 1 winner Our Ivanhowe who recorded a brace of top level victories in both Germany and Australia. Close behind him is Dschingis Secret, Champion Older Horse in Germany and the winner of six Group races, highlighted by the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Berlin. Both again stand in France.

The only son of Soldier Hollow standing in Germany, Destino has his first crop foals this year

The only son of Soldier Hollow standing in Germany, Destino has his first crop foals this year

With the above mentioned, plus the Group 3 winner Wai Key Star having retired to stud in France 2021, Soldier Hollow is only represented by Dschingis Secret’s full-brother Destino in Germany. A Group 3 winner and runner-up in the Group 1 Deutsches Derby to Weltstar, Destino (Gestüt Westerberg, €3,000) has his first foals on the ground this year and, thankfully, has attracted a solid quality book of mares. Destino’s dam Divya has five black-type performers by Soldier Hollow to her credit and is a full-sister to the Group 3 winning Platini mare Deva. They are granddaughters of the imported Northern Dancer mare Diana Dance, herself a daughter of the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes heroine Deceit.

Sadly, the four-time Champion Sire Areion (Gestüt Etzean, €12,500) currently hasn’t any sons at stud in Germany. Areion himself is the best son of the smart sprinter Big Shuffle, another Champion Sire whose progeny included Auenadler, Kalatos and Call Me Big, all of whom managed to sire Group and Listed winners from very limited opportunies.

Like Big Shuffle, the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes hero Dashing Blade proved an inspired stallion import. A multiple Champion Sire, his line is well represented by his Group 1 Grosser Dallmayr-Preis winner Lord Of England (Gestüt Etzean, €6,500), who can always to be found near the top end of the stallion statistics. Lord of England hails from the highly successful dam line of the Crepello mare Love In whose descendants include the Group 1 Deutsches Derby winners Lavirco and Lagunas (a leading sire in this country), as well as the internationally proven Lomitas, himself responsible for the South African Champion Sire Silvano. 

Lomitas has one son at stud in Germany, the Group 3 winning chestnut Polish Vulcano (Gestüt Idee, €1,800) who only had seven foals in his first crop, of which only two went into training, including the Group 3 St. Leger Italiano victor Sir Polski. His second crop comprised only a single foal, Sir Polski’s full-brother Sir Vulcano, who was an impressve winner of his only start at two last year and was recently a fast finishing fourth in the Group 3 Bavarian Classic. 

A representative of the fast fading Nijinsky sire line, Polish Vulcano is inbred 3x4 to the leading German sire influence Surumu and is closely related to the two Deutsches Derby winners in Pik Konig and Philipo – both of whom died before being having the chance at stud – plus the smart five-time Group winning Champion Miler Power Flame, sadly a gelding.

Lord of England’s leading performers to date are eleven Group winners and another nine Listed winners, headed by the Group 1 Classic winners Feodora and Isfahan (Gestüt Ohlerweiherhof, €4,500) who made a flying start to his stud career last year with eight winners, including a Group 3 winner.

Isfahan (left), seen here winning the Group 1 Deutsches Derby, was the Leading First Season Sire in Germany last year.

Isfahan (left), seen here winning the Group 1 Deutsches Derby, was the Leading First Season Sire in Germany last year.

In fact, Isfahan ended the season as the Leading First Crop Sire in Germany, followed by the Group 1 Melbourne Cup and fellow Group 1 Grosser Preis von Berlin winning Monsun horse Protectionist (Gestüt Röttgen, €6,500) whose eight winners from his initial crop to date contain three Stakes performers, including the recent Group 3 Bavarian Classic hero Lambo. Protectionist is closely related to the Champion Sire Peintre Celebre and his paternal half-brother Persian Storm, as well as to the outstanding stayer Stradivarius. He represents the only remaining son of his sire at stud in Germany and naturally hopes are high for him to continue this male line successfully. 

Monsun does however have ten other Group siring sons at stud in England, Ireland and France, plus the leading National Hunt sires Getaway and Network topping a list of numerous stallions in that discipline.  

Another domestic second season sire is the Group 1 Grosser Dallmay-Preis hero Guiliani (Gestüt Erftmühle, €3,000), but his total of only two winners to date this year leaves him with something to prove. By the five times Group winning Champion Sprinter and Champion Sire Tertullian – a three-parts-brother to Galileo’s dam Urban SeaGuiliani is one of two Group 1 winners out of the Oaks d’Italia heroine Guadalupe (Monsun), a full-sister to the aforementioned Getaway. 

The Group 1 Grosser Dallmayr-Preis and Group 2 German 2000 Guineas hero Lucky Lion (Gestüt Graditz, €4,000 Euros) also falls within this second season category and he is still waiting for his first winner. He is by High Chaparral out of a mare by Big Shuffle, thus bred on the same cross as the Group 3 winning juvenile Tai Chi (Gestüt Ohlerweiherhof, €4,500) who has five Stakes winners to his credit, headed by the Group 1 winner Nancho.

The grey shuttle stallion Reliable Man (Gestüt Röttgen, €6,500) has returned to Germany for the 2021 northern hemisphere season. He has sired 16 Stakes winners (six in Germany), including three Group 1 winners. Victorious in the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club, he represents a long sire line of Derby winners stretching back via Dalakhani (French Derby), to Darshaan (French Derby), Shirley Heights (Epsom and Irish Derbys) and Mill Reef (Epsom Derby). Reliable Man’s first dam is by Sadler’s Wells which means he features a reverse combination of the successful Sadler’s Wells-Darshaan cross in his pedigree.

Multiple Group 1 shuttle sire Reliable Man returned to Germany for the 2021 covering season.

Multiple Group 1 shuttle sire Reliable Man returned to Germany for the 2021 covering season.

Another solid young sire is the seven-time Group winning Champion Miler Amaron (Gestüt Etzean, €4,500) who annexed the Group 1 Premio Vittorio di Capua at three and is a son of the high-class and prolific sire and emerging sire of sires Shamardal, representing the currently very active sire line of Storm Bird’s leading son Storm Cat. His first two crops were headed by a Listed winner at Newmarket; a triple Grade 2 winning hurdler and two other Stakes performers. 

Shamardal now has a second son at stud in Germany in the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes winner Waldpfad who retired to Gestüt Erftmühle (€3,000) this year. His dam Waldbeere is a full-sister to the (then) Group 2 Falmouth Stakes runner-up Waldmark, also grandam of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomhe hero and young sire Waldgeist who has his first foals on the ground this year in Ireland. Waldpfad’s own grandam is the outstanding racemare and producer Wurftaube, the best daughter of Acatenango.

The Group 2 winning sprinter Red Jazz (Vollblutgestüt Lindenhof, €5,000) represents the Johannesburg-Hennessy branch of the Storm Cat line and is leased from Ballyhane Stud in Ireland. Two Group winners top his progeny list which comprises a large number of winners, but he’s still got something left to prove at Stakes level. 

Gestüt Karlshof stands the strapping Australian Group 3 winner Counterattack who has had only three runners and two winners from his first crop of two-year-olds “down under” so far. By the leading Australian sire influence Redoute’s Choice – a son of Danehill – Counterattack is a half-brother to the Group 1 winners Red Tracer and Shellscrape and has his first crop of northern hemisphere two-year-olds on the ground this year.

Another with his first juveniles in 2021 is the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club and Group Poule d’Essai des Poulains hero Brametot (Gestüt Ebbesloh, €5,000) who moved from France in 2020. His dam, Morning Light, is a half-sister to Monsun, which says it all, and breeders are reportedly very pleased with his first German foals.

Another highly interesting import is Best Solution, who retired to Gestüt Auenquelle at a fee of €6,500 in 2020. A well balanced individual, he has a very relaxed nature and has been well supported in both quality and quantity in his first two covering seasons. He scored three times at the highest level; the Grosser Preis von Baden and Grosser Preis von Berlin in Germany, and the Caulfield Cup in Australia. He’s a son of Kodiac, currently emerging as a sire of sires, and is from the same dam line as Northern Dancer’s sire Nearctic. His first two dams are by Kingmambo and Sadler’s Wells respectively, while Kingmambo’s own dam, Miesque, is by Sadler’s Wells’ three-parts-brother Nureyev. This gives Best Solution 5x5 of Northern Dancer in combination with Mr. Prospector. In addition, his dam features the superior broodmare Special as the dam of Nureyev and second dam of  as 4x4 in her own pedigree. 

Best Solution, winner of the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Berlin (above) and Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden, also prevailed in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup in Australia

Best Solution, winner of the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Berlin (above) and Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden, also prevailed in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup in Australia

The tough and hardy sprinter and miler Millowitsch (Gestüt Röttgen, €1,111) is named after a famous Cologne comedian. The winner of five Group races up to a mile, Millowitsch’s first crop are now yearlings. He is one of only very few offspring by the ill-fated, smart miler Sehrezad, himself by the Machiavellian horse Titus Livius out of a mare by Kenmare. Millowitsch’s dam, Muriel, is by the Danzig horse Fath and has three Stakes horses, plus two more winners by less popular and successful sires, to her credit. This is the dam line of such proven sires as Elusive Quality, Mukaddamah and Gregorian.

About the author

Christa Riebel

Christa Carolin Riebel was born in Germany, but grew up in India where her father was the managing director of Agfa Gevaert Industries. She is bilingual and, after school, studied languages and biology at the University of Mainz where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree.  

Christa worked part-time on a large thoroughbred stud in the United States during her holidays and, in 1990, joined The National Stud’s Student Training Course, finishing second in her class and being awarded a Diploma which included a scholarship to Australia. There, she worked at Segenhoe Stud and in the leading veterinary clinic in Scone. She subsequently returned to Australia in 1991 to work at Emirates Park.

The following year, Christa started conducting pedigree research for Mrs. Alexandra Scrope’s Mercury Thoroughbred Consultants. She then began writing articles on diverse breeding topics for the German racing paper Sport Welt and magazine Vollblut, as well as for international publications like Pacemaker & the Thoroughbred Breeder, Irish Field, Racetrack and Asian Thoroughbred News. She has been responsible for the annual German Stallion Book since its inception in 1995, as well as being the German correspondent and writer of pedigree notes for Thoroughbred Daily News.

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