Hindsight : Andreas Löwe
By Peter Mühlfeit
His career as a trainer ended in style: With a winner in Dortmund just after Christmas in 2016. Thirty-five years earlier he had opened his account with his first runner Adita in Cologne, where he is still based. In between, Andreas Löwe collected 1,163 wins on the flat plus 25 over the jumps. Five individual Gp1 winners stand out, and he won seven Classic races. For his owners he earned almost €16 million in prize money. Löwe started his racing passion as a jockey at the famous Gestut Ravensberg, but was too heavy for a professional career. Löwe then became stud manager before turning to training. Peter Muhlfeit spoke to Andreas Löwe about his career and life today.
AL: I haven’t really stopped working with horses. I’m an adviser and racing manager for Gestut Gorlsdorf and Gestut Winterhauch, in any capacity I’m needed. To stop completely would have made me sick, as my wife and I love to be around horses; and we like to travel to the sales and the races. Since the 1960s, I practically have been in the horse yard every day. I couldn’t just switch off the engine. Luckily my wife who had shared that passion all along, still thinks the same. Otherwise it would not have been possible.
How are the Gorlsdorf and Winterhauch stables performing this season?
Gorlsdorf had a Listed winner at Baden-Baden with the Sea The Moon-Filly, Preciosa. That was a very promising run. I’m sure there is more to come from her as she is only three years old and raced very lightly. She was in the ring during the Spring Sales the day before the race, but luckily she didn’t find a buyer. Gorlsdorf has about 20 horses in training. There are some good two-year-olds, but it’s early days. Winterhauch was a bit unlucky with plenty of injured horses, but we are hoping for a much better second half of the season.
As a trainer you won twice the German Oaks and four times the German 1000 Guineas. Were you particularly good with fillies?
I have been asked that a lot. But to be honest it had a lot to do with the fact that I often had more fillies in the stable than colts. A few decades they were much cheaper to buy, and we always had to look for budget opportunities. But I have to admit, I always had fun training fillies as they are often more sensitive than the colts and need a different approach. Mystic Lips was very special as she won the German Oaks like almost no other. I picked her at the BBAG Yearling Sales in 2005 for Stall Lintec. And Lolita, winner of the German 1000 Guineas, was a very sensitive filly. She was bought at the BBAG Spring Sales in 2003.
You also trained a lot of good colts. Name some of your favourites!
Amaron, a Group winner from two to seven years, impressed me the most. I bought him at Tattersalls December Sales in 2010 for Winterhauch. He was so consistent in his form. Just like Lucky Lion he won a Gp1 race. But Lucky Lion, runner-up in the German Derby and another one I bought for Winterhauch (this time however at the BBAG Yearling Sales) was a very difficult horse. So to win with him made me very proud.
In the early days it was Protector I liked best as he performed successful on Group level for eight years, winning two Gp2 races. He was also the first German horse to be invited to the International Races in Hong Kong. He finished fourth in the then Gp2 Hong Kong Vase in Sha Tin.
What about the jockeys—who in particular did you like to work with?
With Andreas Helfenbein I had a lot of success, also on top level. He won the Diana (German Oaks) for me on Mystic Lips for example. But it has always worked well for me and my owners not to stick to one particular jockey, but to look around who is available and who would be the best to ride the horse.
You picked a lot of your winners at the sales for your owners. Where were your best hunting grounds?
I’m still acting as a thoroughbred agent if someone wants me to buy a horse for them. In the past I obviously had a good range of owners who asked for my advice. I guess I was pretty successful in Newmarket. I always liked the December sales as the prices were much in the budget range of my owners. You could get some good buys there. For me, the looks of the horse is very important—the first impressions—to see how the horse presents itself. Usually you see rather if it has character. And that’s very important.
For example Sehrezad—his story is rather unusual, isn’t it?
Holger Renz, a longtime racing owner, had the idea to buy a horse at Newmarket together with some friends. They asked me for advice, but the sales catalogue contained about 2,000 horses. So we decided to make a preselection by considering only the horses born on the 22th of April, the birthday of one of the partners. There were forty horses with that birth date and I immediately fell for Sehrezad, who became the top miler in Germany in 2010. He won three Group races.
You have travelled a lot. Where do you like it best?
I’m anglophile. Newmarket is wonderful; the British people in general are very hospitable. I love racing in Epsom or Ascot, and we used to have runners there with some success. Italy had been our ‘El dorado’ through the years. We won a lot of big races, and they offered much more money than we got in Germany. But the situation now makes me rather sad. It’s a real shame if you think about the lovely tracks they have in Italy.
You have been involved in racing for more than five decades. What do you still find fascinating?
Needless to say, I love horses—their expression. They are such special animals. And I like to transfer the enthusiasm I have for these horses to my clients. Despite the fact that there is a lot of pessimism about the future of racing in Germany, in my circles, the people I’m dealing with I find plenty of enthused voices who are hoping for a better future of racing and are willing to invest in that future.
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