Westerberg buys into Coolmore Classic hopefuls High Definition and Santa Barbara
The Derby and Oaks favourites were bred by Aidan and Annemarie O'Brien
Westerberg, the racing operation of Georg von Opel, has bought into Coolmore's leading Classic contenders High Definition and Santa Barbara ahead of their three-year-old campaigns.
According to Horse Racing Ireland's latest registrations supplement, Westerberg now owns a 12.5 per cent share in the unbeaten High Definition, who heads the Derby betting at around 7-1, with John Magnier and Michael Tabor each owning a 31.2 per cent share and the remaining 25 per cent belonging to Derrick Smith.
The same four partners own an equal 25 per cent share in Santa Barbara, who heads the Oaks market at a general 8-1 having created a deep impression with a successful debut at the Curragh last September.
Both horses are trained by Aidan O'Brien and were bred by the master of Ballydoyle and his wife Annemarie under the couple's Whisperview Trading banner. Both High Definition and Santa Barbara had previously been registered to the Coolmore partners Magnier, Smith and Tabor along with Mrs A M O'Brien.
"I can confirm that Westerberg have bought into those two horses," said Von Opel's racing and bloodstock adviser Jamie McCalmont. "Mr Von Opel is new into the business and is a partner in quite a few horses at Ballydoyle now. The opportunity came up to buy into these two horses and he was very happy to do that."
High Definition, a son of Galileo and the Listed-winning Fastnet Rock mare Palace, won a Curragh maiden on his debut before following in the footsteps of his brother Innisfree by landing the Group 2 Beresford Stakes.
Although Santa Barbara is yet to be tested in stakes company, she boasts a blue-chip pedigree being a Camelot half-sister to the Breeders' Cup-winning siblings Iridessa and Order Of Australia.
When asked about the number of horses in training Westerberg will have for the 2021 season McCalmont said: "It's growing all the time. It's very much in its infancy so it's still expanding. Mr Von Opel is very keen to have the best bloodlines, that's very much the policy."
Westerberg's biggest racecourse result to date came courtesy of Miss Yoda's victory in the Group 1 German Oaks. The daughter of Sea The Stars, who jointly topped the 2018 BBAG Yearling Sale at €280,000, has now joined Von Opel's broodmare band and is set for an exciting debut covering.
"She's being bred to Wootton Bassett and is at Coolmore already," said McCalmont. "We wanted to start her off with a top-class proven stallion. Obviously being by Sea The Stars means you can't go to Galileo, but we thought Wootton Bassett was a very good stallion to start her off with."
Von Opel's Westerberg first burst onto the scene in 2019 when public auction purchases made with Coolmore's MV Magnier included the €3 million sister to Group 1 winners Forever Together and Together Forever, since named Espania, and the 2,100,000gns sister to Lancaster House now named Drummer Girl. Westerberg also signed for a Galileo sister to Alice Springs at €2.2m.
Last year's yearling sales saw some further notable additions, with MV Magnier confirming that Westerberg would be a partner in the Galileo fillies who topped Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, namely the 3,400,000gns sister to Japan and Mogul, and the 2,800,000gns daughter of Prize Exhibit.
Von Opel, the great-grandson of Adam Opel, founder of the German car manufacturer Opel, is estimated by Forbes to have a net worth of $2.2 billion.
Besides his racing and business interests, he and his wife set up the Georg and Emily von Opel Foundation, a charitable trust that aims to improve the lives of the vulnerable, particularly children, in the developing world with access to food, clean water and healthcare.