Alfred Hitchcock could hardly have written a better script for what proved to be the most valuable race held at Mülheim Raffelberg in many years. The €25,000 BBAG Diana Trial for three-year-old fillies was hard to beat in drama on Monday evening. It was only after magnifying the photo of the finish that the enthusiastic crowd of approximately 4,500 found final certainty about the winner: the 205:10 longshot Realeza, trained by Andreas Wöhler for Gestüt Fährhof, was literally a nose ahead with jockey Jozef Bojko in this preparatory test for the 160th running of the Henkel-Preis der Diana, the prestigious German Oaks to be held next month.
In marvellous sunshine, Realeza and the local Jens Hirschberger-trained heroine Viva Gloria delivered a thrilling finish. Viva Gloria is owned by Peter-Michael Endres's and Karl-Dieter Ellerbracke's Gestüt Auenquelle. And even though the home victory did not happen, Viva Gloria's great runner-up performance were also a kind of reward for the remarkable commitment in recent months.
According to the stewards, Realeza had a minimal advantage by a nose over Viva Gloria (75:10) on the finish line. Three quarters of a length behind finished the French guest filly and 34:10 favourite Amaranthe from the training quarters of Henri-Alex Pantall.
„Too bad it wasn't quite enough,“ said Karl-Dieter Ellerbracke. „Nevertheless, the performance was very good.“ Trainer Jens Hirschberger thought so too: „It was only the second career start for Viva Gloria. That's why I'm not disappointed at all. If she stays healthy, we are now tackling the German Oaks. She most likely qualified with today's second-place finish.“
In all likelihood, horse racing fans will also see yet another Hirschberger-horse on August 5 at Düsseldorf, Gestüt Ittlingen's Area (48:10) who is also nominated for the Oaks and did not exceed past a sixth place on home track with top jockey Andrasch Starke aboard. According to Hirschberger, „She was stuck in the field.“
The race day still ended with a home victory for Mülheim though when five-year-old Part of Ireland underpinned Raffelberg-trainer Yasmin Almenräder's dazzling stable form. During the derby meeting at Hamburg-Horn Almenräder had already won four races and the day prior to Mülheim's card, she also scored in Cologne. Now she even managed an optimal outcome at Raffelberg: One starter, one victory! „The year started off slowly. Now the form is perfect, and it all could can go on like this,“ said Almenräder.
After a total of eight races at the Raffelberg family racecourse, total turnover amounted to a remarkable €108,417. This was the best result so far this year. Hence, after three race events under new management this year, Werner Krüger, vice chair of the racing club, was extremely satisfied: „Both the number of visitors and the sales results impressively illustrate that the people of Mülheim continue to accept their racetrack very well. Mülheim is back.“
The next race day at Raffelberg will be on Saturday, August 18. The start of the first race is scheduled for about 1 p.m. The event is organised by the new racing club, Rennclub Mülheim an der Ruhr e.V. in partnership with the long-standing sponsor Sparkasse Mülheim. A colourful supporting programme is planned for the entire family.