For the first time in many years such an attractive and significant race will be decided on the racecourse at Raffelberg in Mülheim. Featuring eight races, Monday's after-work race card (event starts at 5 p.m., first race at 5:55 p.m.) offers the spotlight for the „BBAG Diana-Trial,“ a €25,000 Listed-level challenge over 2,000 m for twelve three-year-old fillies. The winner's owner alone will receive €14,000.
The feature race will be decided as the sixth race on the card with the starting gates opening at 8:25 p.m.. It serves as a preparation for the 160th Henkel-Preis der Diana, the German Oaks (€500,000) which will be held on Sunday, August 5, in Düsseldorf. For many years (from 1948 through 2003) this classic of German horse racing was decided at Mülheim before the former racing club decided to sell it for economic reasons.
Two Hirschberger hopefuls on home track
Mülheim-based trainer Jens Hirschberger has his eyes firmly set on the German Oaks. He has won the German Derby twice already, in 2007 and 2009, but a winner in the German Oaks is still missing from Hirschberger's record. The trainer will present two of his hopefuls for the classic in Monday's card. Gestüt Ittlingen's Area, ridden by top jockey Andrasch Starke, and Viva Gloria (Lukas Delozier) are tackling the €25,000 race at Raffelberg. Both fillies are nominated for the German Oaks.
„Area is great. If things go well on Monday, she is a pretty sure candidate for the German Oaks,“ says Hirschberger. After all, the Ittlingen-filly had already triumphed a few weeks ago in Dortmund with eight-time champion Andrasch Starke, thus impressively making her ambitions known. Hirschberger's second starter is also set to succeed at Mülheim. „Viva Gloria has not yet secured her spot for the German Oaks. She needs a good race on Monday, ideally at least a third place, to maintain a chance of starting in Düsseldorf,“ the trainer reveals. Viva Gloria is owned by Gestüt Auenquelle of Peter-Michael Endres (Duisburg) and Karl-Dieter Ellerbracke (Rödinghausen). Particularly remarkable: Endres is president of the racing club at Düsseldorf, Ellerbracke heads the Rennclub Mülheim an der Ruhr.
Yet another chance for a home victory in the BBAG Diana-Trial could come through Miura (Maxim Pecheur), who is being prepared at Raffelberg by William Mongil. The Dutch jockey Adrie de Vries, who won the German Derby with Weltstar at Hamburg racecourse a few days ago, will also be in the race with Indian Dream for trainer Miroslav Rulec. The French guest mare Amaranthe from Henri-Alex Pantall's training quarters will have Soufiane Saadi in the saddle and will add some international flair to the event.
Almenräder in top form
Mülheim-based trainer Yasmin Almenräder brought home no less than four victories from the recent meet around the German Derby at Hamburg-Horn, and was thus amongst the most successful participants in the Hanseatic city. Almenräder now intends to transfer this momentum to the home track. On Monday, she will saddle the five-year-old gelding Part of Ireland, ridden by Martin Seidl, in the „Preis der Trainingszentrale Mülheim an der Ruhr“, a level 3 handicap endowed with €7,500. Last year, Part of Ireland could not be defeated in three of his nine starts. His best result this year was a fourth place in Dresden. According to Almenräder, „he has improved again and should have good chances on his home track. His only start in Mülheim so far in 2017 ended with a second-place finish.“
Water on! A lot to do
Despite the many summerly days with very little precipitation in recent weeks the turf track at Raffelberg presents itself in rich green color. To accomplish this, of course, we had to do a lot of watering. „The well capacities on the track reached their limits. So, we had to resort to water from the municipal system,“ says Vice President Werner Krüger. „This means extra expenses; however, it also guarantees the best possible conditions for training and racing.“
Prior to the after-work race day on Monday, there was plenty of activity at the racecourse yet again. Trees and hedges were trimmed, the rear facade of the main stand received a new coat of paint, rails were replaced and new furniture was purchased. In addition, 22 brand-new displays will be in use for the first time on Monday so that visitors can follow the races even better. Since February, the new racing club has already invested almost 200,000 euros in the renovation of the facility. Further measures are to follow in the coming weeks and months.
Just a first step
Monday's feature race for fillies with a purse of €25,000 should not remain a one-time event at Raffelberg. „Rather, this race should be a first step on the way back to Mülheim's former glory and be permanently established here,“ as vice president and sports director Günther Gudert emphasises. „In the ideal case, we want to organise one race with a greater purse on every raceday in the future. Trainers, who have horses in the feature race, usually also bring starters for the undercard,“ says Gudert. For Monday a total of 79 horses were nominated for the eight races. Günther Gudert is pleased: „This is an exceptionally good result. Other racing clubs dream of such a card.“
Interim results very positive
The new Rennclub Mülheim an der Ruhr e.V. around its chair Karl-Dieter Ellerbracke took to task at Raffelberg this past winter. Since then, there have been two race events with a total of around 8,000 visitors to the track. „So far we are very satisfied,“ says vice president Werner Krüger. „We are not in the red and we are very pleased with the amazing response. We have initiated additional surveys in the city to find out how citizens perceive us. The feedback we received was extremely positive.“ The responsible persons of the racing club also succeeded in organising an additional fifth raceday in cooperation with a partner. This will take place on Saturday, September 15. Prior, the traditional Sparkasse Raceday will take place on Saturday, August 18, featuring an attractive supporting programme for the whole family.