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Training legend Heinz Jentzsch dies aged 92

Germany: Heinz Jentzsch, the most successful German trainer of all time, died on Saturday in a Baden-Baden hospital at the age of 92.

The reports of his death in the German press invariably referred to him as a "legend". His career as a trainer was quite extraordinary and will in all probability never be equalled,certainly not in his country.

In all, he trained the winners of 4,029 races and he was champion trainer in Germany no fewer than 31 times, including the period from 1967 to 1987 when he was champion 21 years in succession.

He trained a century of winners 18 times, an amazing figure considering the number of races run in the country. While the German championship is decided on the number of winners, he was also the leading trainer by earnings in almost every one of those years.

He was born on March 13 1920 in Neuenhagen, near Berlin, where his father was a small trainer. He started training in 1942 and after the war moved first to Dresden, then to Munich.

But his career reallytook off when he moved to Cologne in 1959, to take over the "Asterblüte" stable (named after Gestüt Schlenderhan´s dual classic winner of 1949) at Cologne racecourse and he remained there until his first retirement
at the end of the 1997 season.

Jentzsch won the Deutsches Derby eight times and the Preis der Diana (Oaks) eleven times, as well as every other notable race in the German calendar.

His big race wins abroad included the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud with Acatenango, probably the best horse he ever trained, the Prix Jacques le Marois with Priamos and Lirung, and famously the Japan Cup in 1995 with Lando.

His last stable jockey Peter Schiergen took over the Asterblüte stable and has also done pretty well, while Jentzsch himself made a brief but unsuccessful comeback in1999 (aged 79!) as private trainer to the Ostermann family, owners of Lando.

He then finally retired to his house next to Iffezheim racecourse where he indulged his hobbies of breeding pigeons and painting.
Jentzsch was a modest and unassuming man who disliked socialising, but had a dry wit and his comments were always worth listening to.

He gave all the credit to his horses and their owners and breeders. "Good horses make good trainers" was his mantra, but his almost non-stop success over half a century make it clear that he was himself a trainer of the very highest rank.

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