Everything is fine this weekend at the horse race track in Hoppegarten. The color stands for the running, although it is unusually dry in Berlin and Brandenburg these days. This applies in particular to the dominant color on the coming race day. The so-called Irish Raceday is on the program on Sunday (first start: 2 p.m.). And this is all about this racing-crazy nation. The races have titles such as Saint Patrick opening race or Gaelic Games Trophy, among others
However, the highlight of the day is the 51st Oleander race, which is considered the most important race for long-distance specialists in this country. A total of EUR 100,000 in prizes will be paid out. “This is well above the usual level of such an event,” says Michael Wrulich, Managing Director of the racetrack. The importance of this race is shown by the fact that the most successful German horse trainers, who are mainly based in North Rhine-Westphalia, make the journey to Hoppegarten to send their “stayers” into the race. This means horses that feel comfortable on distances of 2600 meters or more.
With a distance of 3200 meters, the oleander race is the longest on the Hoppegarten racing calendar and is particularly attractive for spectators. Not only because the horses gallop over the run for around three and a half minutes. First they cover 850 meters on the so-called straight track to pass the grandstands for the first time. This is followed by a further 2350 meters with the climax of the finish line. The spectators get two things: inside, the snorting and the thundering of the hooves particularly well. “Of course, that’s particularly attractive for the spectators,” says Wrulich.
The stayer races are particularly appealing in terms of race tactics. While a sprint is about releasing all reserves of energy over a distance of one kilometer and a little more, it is important to divide the distance correctly, just like in a human marathon. It is also very important for the jockeys and jockeys to orientate themselves towards the competition in order not to leave any gaps that are too large and to choose the right line.
In terms of the total number of events in Germany, the long-distance races are clearly in the minority. Which is why events such as the oleander race are of great importance. Because every horse race also has a kind of showcase function to show how competitive the gallopers from German breeding are. Especially the “stayers” made in Germany enjoy the highest international recognition. “Many horses that ran in the Altano race in previous years are now being bred, and we are now looking forward to a new generation,” says Wrulich.
For the highlight of the coming race day (start: 4.40 p.m.) the betting market sees a head-to-head race of German horses. With a rate of 40:10, the gelding Nubius from Peter Schiergen’s stable is the favourite. He was second in the Altano race, the important preparatory race on the same track, on Easter Sunday and will be ridden by champion jockey Bauyrzhan Murzabayev. The first competitor is Loft, coached by Marcel Weiß under Rene Piechulek (long-term quota 45:10).
However, the start of the season also made it clear once again that outsiders in particular can also have their big moment in galloping. Mare Navratilova had won with odds of 237:10. The emotions at the racetrack were in the red at the time. Especially with all those who had noted the mare on their betting slip.