A timely boost for German breeding

Christa Riebel analyses the pedigree of the recently retired Arc winner, Torquator Tasso, one of the best horses ever to have been bred in Germany

Torquator Tasso, who has retired to Gestüt Auenquelle at a fee of €20,000, is one of the best horses ever bred in Germany and should prove himself a valuable addition to an industry which is still reeling from the premature death of his sire Adlerflug; the loss of previous Champion Sires Areion and Lord of England, and whose other recent Champion, Soldier Hollow, is heading towards the twilight of his career. 

Torquator Tasso became the third winner of the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for Germany, following Star Appeal in 1975 and Danedream in 2011. Unraced at two, he broke his maiden at the second time of asking and subsequently hinted at his class by finishing fast to chase home his paternal half-brother, In Swoop, in the Group 1 Deutsches Derby. The latter, incidentally, went on to finish second in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe that same year. Torquator Tasso meanwhile also finished runner-up in the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden, before landing his first top-level event when taking the Grosser Preis von Bayern.

Torquator Tasso surges past his rivals to become Germany’s third winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Torquator Tasso surges past his rivals to become Germany’s third winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

At four, Torquator Tasso landed the Group 2 Großer Hansa-Preis before finishing second to the outstanding Alpinista in the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Berlin – and we now know the value of that form. He then annexed the Grosser Preis von Baden on his way to his greatest victory in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, where he displayed a great turn of foot on his favoured heavy going. 

This year at five, Torquator Tasso took the Grosser Hansa-Preis for a second time, before gallantly chasing home Pyledriver in the Group 1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes. His below par performance in the Grosser Preis von Baden was mainly due a to lot of changes in his daily and racing routine, something he never took to very kindly, and his sometimes very headstrong demeanor is very reminiscent of Lombard in the early seventies. Interestingly, the latter appears in Torquator Tasso’s pedigree as the sire of Allegretta and Alya. Torquator Tasso then ended his racing career on a high note by finishing well to take third place in this year’s Arc, thereby cementing his reputation as a leading performer at international level.

Torquator Tasso is the best of Adlerflug’s seven Group 1 winners and helped secure his sire his second Championship this year. Adlerflug is by In The Wings, one of Sadler’s Wells’ leading sire sons, who is also the sire of Germany’s other leading sire Soldier Hollow, as well as of two further Group 1 winners in Mamool and Kutub, while his Irish Derby-winning son Winged Love also stood successfully in Germany. 

Adlerflug’s dam, Aiyana, is a Last Tycoon daughter of the Lombard mare Alya (runner-up in the then Group 2 Preis der Diana-German Oaks). Alya herself is a full-sister to the then Group 2 Deutsches St. Leger hero and leading Polish sire Anno; the Stakes producing Listed winner Arionette, and, of course, the magnificient Allegretta. The latter’s legacy is mainly built on the exploits of her Group 1 English 2000 Guineas winning son and prolific sire King’s Best, the French Group 3 winning Riverman mare Alles Les Trois (dam of Group 1 winner Anabaa Blue) and most importantly, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe heroine and stellar producer Urban Sea, whose progeny includes four Group 1 winners, headed by the Derby winning pair of Champion Sires Galileo and Sea The Stars. The latter also emulated his dam’s success in the Arc, while Galileo in this case should be noted separately as the leading siring son of Sadler’s Wells.

Torquator Tasso’s dam, Tijuana, is by Toylsome, a smart and and tough sprinting son of Cadeaux Genereux, the winner of the Prix de la Foret at the highest level and who injected the necessary speed into the pedigree. The next dam is the Acatenango mare Tucana, who produced the Group 2 winner Tusked Wings to a mating with Adlerflug. It should not go unmentioned that Tucana’s sire, Acatenango, also sired the Deutsches Derby hero and Champion Lando, as well as the French Derby winner Blue Canari, from mares by Sharpman and Trempolino respectively, these representing the Sharpen Up sire line responsible for Cadeaux Genereux

This aspect is underlined by Tucana being a daughter of the French Listed placed Trempolino mare Turbaine, herself a half-sister to the above mentioned Miswaki mare Urban Sea, which has Torquator Tasso featuring the full-sisters Alya and Allegretta 3x4 in his own pedigree. Moreover, Turbaine produced the five time Group winning Champion Sprinter and leading sire Tertullian from a mating with Miswaki representing the Mr. Prospector sire line, just like King’s Best’s sire Kingmambo. 

Tijuana in turn produced her second Group 1 winner in this year’s runaway Grosser Preis von Bayern hero Tunnes to a mating with Guiliani, which gives Tunnes a 3x3 inbreeding to Turbaine and therefore 4x4 to the mighty Allegretta. 

All of this demonstrates that Torquator Tasso’s pedigree combines proven crosses with a strong focus on inbreeding to leading representatives of one of the most successful German dam lines of all time, which, via Allegretta’s dam Anatevka, traces back to the unbeaten Deutsches Derby winning Pharis mare Asterblute. 

Torquator Tasso enjoying life at Gestüt Auenquelle

Torquator Tasso enjoying life at Gestüt Auenquelle

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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