Murrell and Lovett win third Preis der Diana in ten years with Andreas Wohler-trained daughter of Shamalgan

Australian Bloodstock won its third Preis der Diana (Gr 1, 2200m) in a decade in Germany on Sunday, but don’t expect to see the victorious filly Toskana Belle (Shamalgan) venturing Down Under.

The lightly raced three-year-old, now the winner of three of her five starts, has proven to be another wise European investment by Australian Bloodstock directors Jamie Lovett and Luke Murrell who purchased the filly in May after her success in the Henkel Stutenpris (Listed, 1600m) at Dusseldorf.

Finishing third in the Diana Trial (Gr 3, 2000m) at Hoppegarten for trainer Marian Falk Weissmeier and her new connections, she was transferred to fellow German trainer Andreas Wohler after the June 8 race.

“We’re big on tracking all those European races and historically around that time of year we’re always looking for something that we can target at the Preis der Diana and we’ve had a bit of luck previously, so it’s a race that’s been good to us,” Lovett told ANZ Bloodstock News yesterday.

“Luke Murrell, my business partner, is very good at translating the times at different tracks. She ran a good time when she won in France and then when she won the Listed race in Dusseldorf, that’s when we thought she was definitely running the time that would be good enough to have her competitive in a Group 1 Preis der Diana.”

Australian Bloodstock won the 2012 Preis der Diana with Salomina (Lomitas) with trainer Peter Schiergen and the 2015 edition with Turfdonna (Doyen) with Wohler in charge.

“Andreas has probably had Toskana Belle for two months now and it’s an amazing training performance when you look at it for what it is,” Lovett said.

“She had no luck when she raced for us in the Group 3 and she got smashed on the turn and nothing went to plan. Andreas took her the next day and he was adamant we’d go into the Oaks without another run, which very few trainers would have done, I would have thought.

“He had her spot on and he was very confident about her chances.”

Kerrin McEvoy, who rode in the Shergar Cup at Ascot on Saturday, travelled to Germany to ride Toskana Belle for Australian Bloodstock.

Lovett said: “We initially had Jamie Spencer booked to ride but when the Freedmans decided they were going to run Artorius in another Group 1 race, we lost Jamie, but as luck would have it Kerrin McEvoy was over there for the Shergar Cup, so we got Kerrin to Germany and it panned out well for everyone.”

Spencer rode the Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained Artorius (Flying Artie) into sixth place in the Maurice de Gheest (Gr 1, 1300m) at Deauville in France on Sunday.

Lovett revealed Toskana Belle – the sole stakes winner for her sire Shamalgan (Footstepsinthesand) out of the winning mare Tristane (Teofilo) and a half-sister to the juvenile-winning stakes-placed colt Frohsim (Dabirsim) – could head to America in a bid to enhance her value.

“I have had a brief conversation with Andreas, there’s some quite lucrative fillies and mares races in the States and if she was able to be competitive over there it opens up another market [for her to be sold]. We’d be quite keen to explore that,” the Newcastle-based Lovett said.

“We always buy them with the intention to trade out of them, so there’d be no appeal to bring her down here.

“When you’re buying fillies trying to upgrade them to get a twist, winning a three-year-old Classic is the biggest prize, isn’t it?”

Australian Bloodstock has developed a reputation for being able to source quality racing stock from around the world, particularly Europe, to either race in the northern hemisphere to bring down to Australia to target races such as the Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m). The pair won the 2014 Melbourne Cup with Protectionist (Monsun), a European who was also trained by Wohler for the connections.

“You’ve got to build that database [of form] over time, but we look forward to Mondays. We watch all those European races,” Lovett said.

“It’s not as laborious as one may think. It’s a job, but it’s what we do, and it’s not as if it’s hard work. If you love your racing, you enjoy watching them looking for your next opportunity.”

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