Stefan Koslowski


    he horses run head to head through the last
    bend, the spectators have jumped up from
    their seats, the tension grows metre by metre

as the pack crosses the finish line. You can only tell which horse is in front by the coloured jockey jerseys, so often is there a change in the lead and so closely packed is the crowd towards the finish line. In the meantime, the spectators are raving with enthusiasm, but the first three horses are so close to each other after 2,400 metres in the finish that the finish photo has to decide. After endless minutes, the stadium announcer announces the result of the 153rd German Derby in Hamburg: The winner is… Sammarco from Park Wiedingen Stud.

Helmut von Finck, the owner of the winning stud, can still feel the emotions weeks after the victory. It was only afterwards that he understood why this life’s dream was so important to him. Before, he didn’t even know why he had this dream and what it meant at all. But only after the derby did he know the significance of this victory, he notes.

However, it was a long way to victory in Germany’s most important horse race. It all started at the young age of 14 when he was taken to the racetracks in Munich-Riem or Daglfing by his older brother and his enthusiasm for horses and the racing atmosphere was sparked. At that time, he put DM 2.50 into betting machines and thought he knew something about horses.

Later, Helmut von Finck went to the famous horse race in Baden-Baden with his brother and mother. There was a newspaper in the hotel in which a horse was described as so great that he wanted to bet on it, even if it was not a favourite. On the day of the race, Helmut von Finck was once again with “his” horse, which looked at him as if it wanted to tell him “Don’t worry, I will win the race”. With this spiritual intuition, he bet on the horse that beat the favourite in a neck-and-neck race. Helmut von Finck won a tidy sum and then it was all up with him. From the winnings he immediately bought a horse, and so the hobby gradually turned into a business.

However, he was not obsessed with money, but has always thought more about the meaning of life. Ideal things are more important to him. Nevertheless, he bought more horses at auctions, some of which did well, and later he added to his vocation as a horse breeder.

One immediately senses that for Helmut von Finck all his horses are the centre of attention. Nevertheless, there are two exceptional horses that he mentions again and again. One of them is Soldier Hollow, whom he bought in 2000, at the time he acquired the Park Wiedingen Stud. 

Super Hollow was a super racehorse for a long time and won many prizes, including the Dallmeyer Prize in Munich, the Prix Roma, a race at the world-famous Arc-de-Triomphe weekend in Paris and was eventually named Galopper of the Year. After his racing career he became a stallion and has many successful descendants worldwide. One member of Soldier Hollow’s large family is Sammarco, the three-year-old winner of the German Derby and currently the star at Gestüt Park Wiedingen, which is idyllically located south of Hamburg in the Lüneburg Heath. There are 30 horses here, the racehorses are with their trainers.

Horse breeding always sounds very romantic, but it is a lot of work, notes Helmut von Finck. A stud farm is also a business that involves organisation, finances and management. Above all, however, you have to deal with living beings around the clock who are not computers that you shut down in the evening. The horses are the protagonists. There are three months a year with sleepless nights, because when the foals come, everything is done for the welfare of the animals. The people at the stud are just the helpers to please the horses. Here, personal bonds are built up between man and animal, which cannot exist in this way in large breedings. 

Helmut von Finck combines the best of two worlds with his stud. On the one hand, dealing with creatures that he and his wife Kerstin have grown fond of and that are like family members. On the other hand, you can not only have a lot of fun, but also earn good money, because the horses are living capital. And that is much nicer than an investment made of paper, metal or virtual things, the horse lover thinks.

There are also highly interesting possibilities for newcomers to this form of capital investment to participate in a horse that could possibly become successful. These include so-called syndicates, i.e. communities of owners who hold shares in a horse, a form that is particularly popular in Australia, the USA and England.

Helmut von Finck also has various partnerships that work with racehorses as well as with breeding horses. This has its advantages, because sometimes it is nicer to share a horse with partners. A 25 per cent stake is not a 100 per cent cost, and if the mare develops well, you have a great horse.

In his syndicates, Helmut von Finck prefers 3-4 partners, because that is a healthy and manageable mixture of not too many partners. Many prospective buyers do not know their way around very well in the beginning and cannot or do not want to take on the complete responsibility for a horse. But if there is trust in a professional and expert, everyone can benefit and have fun, which is quite a great experience. Even newcomers can get good horses this way, because if you bet on the wrong horse at the beginning of an auction, all your money is gone. Thus, a syndicate is also an excellent risk minimisation.

Originally, the current star at Gestüt Park Wiedingen was to be called San Marco, named after the water taxi landing stage in Venice. Due to a transmission error, however, it became Sammarco – after all, this is also the name of an excellent Tuscan winery. And Helmut von Finck had reason to celebrate again shortly after the great victory in Hamburg. Four weeks after his triumph in the German Derby, Sammarco also won the Grand Dallmayr Prize at the racecourse in Munich. And once again Helmut von Finck bet on the right horse.

WordPress Cookie Notice by Real Cookie Banner