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German trainers' title race ends in dead-heat

Germany: The identity of the 2009 German champion jockey has been known ever since the summer as Panamanian-born Eduardo Pedroza has been the clear leader for much of the year.

However, the trainers' title went right down to the wire before ending in a dead-heat.

Christian Von Der Recke - Doncaster

Christian von der Recke: late flurry

  PICTURE:Martin Lynch  

Rather perversely, the German title race is decided by the number of winners rather than by prize-money as in most other racing nations.

Andreas Wohler appeared to have a comfortable lead but defending champion Christian von der Recke came with a strong late run to force a dead-heat on the line.

In mid-Novemberthe title seemed almost certain to go for the first time to Wohler, but from then on there were only a handful of fixtures on the two all-weather tracks at Dortmund and Neuss, where von der Recke frequently shines and Wöhler has few runners.

Even at Christmas, Wohler still led by five, but von der Recke landed a double on Boxing Day at Dortmund before saddling 12 runners at Neuss on New Year´s Eve in a last-ditch attempt.

Wohler had only one runner, who flopped at 11-10 in a conditions race won by von der Recke's 7-2 shot Bucked Off, an import from the U.K. where he was trained by Tom Tate.

Von der Recke had already won a maiden race with the US-bred Criticize, so was now onlyone behind with fancied runners in all three races to come.

The first ran badly, but the second (ridden like all the stable's winners on the day by Andreas Helfenbein) scored easily by five lengths.

This was Our First Chestnut, better known as a jumper, but good enough on the flat to win a handicap under top weight. Fittingly, he is owned by Bernd Raber, one of the stable's oldest and most loyal owners.

It was now level pegging with one race to go, a moderate handicap in which the stable's runner Giant Gino was second favourite at 29-10 behind top-weight Los Cantos at 13-10.

Los Cantos went into a clear lead in the straight, but Giant Gino could be seen making up ground on the outside and threw adown a strong challenge in the final furlong. However, it was not to be and the favourite galloped on strongly to win by three-quarters of a length.

This left von der Recke, who also had four winners over jumps, and Wohler joint champions on 70 winners.

Wohler is on holiday in New Zealand but von der Recke commented: "This was a fair result and I am delighted, especially as I thought I had no chance only a week ago.

"This was a great team effort and I would like to thank everybody involved - now we're off to celebrate!"

If the championship had been decided on winnings, then neither would have had a look-in behind the easy leader in that category Jens Hirschberger, whose 29 wins included the two most valuable races of the season, the German Derby and Grosser Preis von Baden.

A recent poll of trainers confirmed they do not wish to change the title race to prize-money.

Eddie Pedroza landed the jockeys' championship for the third successive time with 96 winners, 13 clear of his nearest pursuer Filip Minarik.

He always held a clear lead - even a bad fall at Baden-Baden, which put him out of action for five of the busiest weeks of the season, could not stop him.

"Considering the circumstances, I have to be satisfied with the 2009 season," said 35-year-old Pedroza, who is first jockey to the Wöhler stable. "But there weren't as many big points as usual and my aim for 2010 is to win more Group races."

He is followed in the statistics by Filip Minarik, who also missed several weeks through injury, Andrasch Starke and Andreas Suborics.

Special mention must be made of Steffi Hofer, 22-year-old daughter of trainer Mario (fourth in the trainers' list with 60 winners).

She is apprenticed to her father and rode63 winners for fifth place - easily the best season ever enjoyed by a woman jockey in Germany.

Top five German jockeys 2009

1. Eddie Pedroza 96 wins (424 rides)

2. Filip Minarik 83 (603)

3. Andrasch Starke 73 (389)

4. Andreas Suborics 67 (377)

5. Steffi Hofer 63 (467)

Top five German trainers 2009

1. Christian von der Recke 70 wins (338 runs)

2. Andreas Wohler 70 (270)

3. Peter Schiergen 62 (317)

4. Mario Hofer 60 (372)

5. Roland Dzubasz 51 (245)


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