Sunday’s thrilling Gr1 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe victory for Galileo’s son Waldgeist may have been a deflationary moment for the romantics shouting the history hungry Enable home.
But it was an iconic occasion all round for one of South Africa’s leading breeders, Dr Andreas Jacobs.
The man who acquired Maine Chance from Graham Beck shortly after the turn of the century, and has become a hugely respected and dominant player on the local racing and breeding landscape, was clearly thrilled after Waldgeist had finished like an express train to sail past the almost invincible Enable in the final 100m of a race for the ages.
Whatever the outcome, the champagne celebration was sort of always on, as Enable’s sire Nathaniel stands at the Jacobs’ family’s UK operation, Newsells Park.
Understanding her husband’s great passion for the game and for top horses, Dr Jacobs’ wife Nathalie, who was beside him at the ParisLongchamp lead in, will no doubt excuse his brave emotional metaphorical response to the eager media in the heady post-race moments on a super Sunday.
“It’s a feeling comparable to the day I got married!” exclaimed the man whose late Dad Klaus had acquired the 1200 acre Newsells Park Stud in Newmarket in 2000 and built it into one of Europe’s most successful commercial breeding operations before his untimely death in 2008.
Emotions have large licence – especially, we imagine, after a horse that you bred and own had just won the event labelled ‘ the most eagerly-anticipated flat race for a generation.’
Not that this was a maiden major race moment – Silvano, who Dr Jacobs says was ‘the first good horse I bred’, won the Arlington Million, the QE11 Cup and the Singapore Cup. They have also had great success on home ground with the Preis von Baden and German Derby.
On Sunday, Newsells Park Stud manager Julian Dollar shed tears when he said that Dr Jacobs’ late Dad Klaus Jacobs, would have been thrilled about the win.
Waldgeist, who was bred by Newsells Park in partnership with Gestut Ammerland and Coolmore, is out of Walderlerche, a granddaughter of the multiple German champion mare Wurftaube.
His victory, at his second attempt at the big one, was an eighth Arc for master French trainer Andre Fabre, and a first for jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot.
Coming off a smooth win in the Gr2 Qatar Prix Foy three weeks earlier, the three-time Gr1 winner had his regular partner aboard for his second appearance in Europe’s most prestigious €5 million staying event.
The five-year-old delivered what could be labelled the performance of a lifetime. In doing so, he catapulted himself into the history books as the one and only horse to ever have beaten the great Enable in the Arc!
Dr Jacobs is the third generation of a breeding and racing family.
His Grandfather Walther Jacobs founded their German stud farm, Gestüt Fährhof near Bremen, in the early 60’s. The farm was originally started for the family’s Warmblood horses as Andreas’ father Klaus was an Olympic dressage rider and Andreas competed at European Championship level.
Gestüt Fährhof’s reputation for producing top class thoroughbreds grew quickly and it has established itself as a multiple German champion.
The argument to keep top horses in training for longer than their 3 or 4yo year has been bolstered Waldgeist’s success.
The future for Waldgeist will now be up for serious discussion.
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