Lucas Cranach

published: 10 Jan 2015 in Stallion profiles

Australian racegoers never saw the best of Lucas Cranach (GER), but his Melbourne Cup third and his St George Stakes win in just three starts here and his record of six wins in 12 starts was enough to prompt his normally reticent trainer’s statement that “on his day he was the best horse in Australia”. The talented stayer has been well supported in his first season too, so obviously breeders share that opinion.

​HANDSOME stayer Lucas Cranach (GER) has taken to his new role as a stallion “like a duck to water”, which is just as well because the St George Stakes-Gr.2 winner and Melbourne Cup placegetter looked after a big book in his first season at Malcolm Boyd’s Bullarook Park Stud at Avenel.

Malcolm was delighted with the enthusiastic response by breeders to the young horse when I spoke to him in early December. “I’m really happy with him, he’s gone about his job really well and the injury that forced his retirement hasn’t been a problem,” he said. “I’m hoping we will crack 100 mares by the end of the season. He’s in the nervous nineties now and with the majority of mares covered in foal.

“He’s a lovely horse and just starting to let down a bit, which is good considering his workload in his first season, and everyone who sees him is taken with just what a good type he is. He should throw some really beautiful foals. Considering he is a stayer, we couldn’t have asked for better support from breeders and they obviously recognise what a good horse he was.”

Lucas Cranach (Mamool-Lots of Love by Java Gold), who won in Germany and France before his purchase by Australian Bloodstock’s Luke Murrell and Jamie Lovett, had just three starts in Australia for trainer Anthony Freedman and the horse arrived here after a European preparation under the watchful eye of Anthony’s brother Lee, a man who knows a thing or two about the Melbourne Cup after winning the race five times.

“When Anthony and I sat down and looked at his videos, we quickly realised this horse had the X-factor about him, he really is exciting,” Lee said at the time. His comments came not long after Lucas Cranach had won the Grosser Hansa-Preis-Gr.2 at Hamburg (2400m) on June 26, showing an electrifying turn of foot to collar German Derby winner Durban Thunder and Sir Lando. In that race he broke well and pulled hard early, but then settled towards the rear in the eight-runner field and was travelling smoothly when he swung wide into the straight as his jockey Eugen Frank quickened the tempo and the horse took the lead with a furlong and a half to run, running on strongly to win going away by 3.5 lengths and with 1.25 lengths to the third horse. 

Racing Post said the horse “showed a spectacular turn of foot to sprint past the entire field in the space of a furlong”.

Racing Post continued: Despite the slow pace, Frank had kept Lucas Cranach at the back of the field for the first 10 furlongs. “He has to be ridden like that,” said the jockey. “He likes coming from behind and has tremendous speed.” That said, even the four year-old’s trainer was surprised by the way his colt won. “I was amazed,” said Sascha Smrczek. “In fact before the race I was not at all confident as he was sweating up badly.” Looking ahead, he added: “I had originally planned that the valuable race in Turkey over this distance [Bosphorus Cup] was to be his main target for this year, and maybe we will stick to this, as he does not have any fancy entries.

“He has improved from start to start and was disqualified after ‘winning’ in France last time, but showed much better form today.” Press room colleague Günther Müller, whose wife Erika owns the winner, described the result as being “like a dream”. Müller added: “We bought him as a newborn foal direct from the stud because we fell in love with him straight away. I’m not going to disclose the price but by our standards he was quite expensive.”

Lucas Cranach, bred by Gestut Graditz, had one unplaced run at two in Germany in November 2009 and then won his first four starts as a three year-old for Dusseldorf-based trainer Smrczek and owner Frau Müller, all his efforts in 2010. He kicked off with a nose win over 2400m at Hamburg on July 16, then won over 2400m at Baden-Baden on August 29 by six lengths before a 2.5 length win over 2400m at Cologne on September 26. Taken to France on November 26, he won the Grand Prix du Nord-LR (2100m) by a neck on a heavy track from Mulan and with 2/1 favourite Birzali six lengths back in third to record his first stakes success. His record at three earned him a rating of 107p with Timeform.

Lucas Cranach began his four year-old season in France on May 5, 2011 when fourth in the Prix d’Hedouville-Gr.3 (2400m) at Longchamp behind Ivory Land after running on strongly from last to be beaten just 1.75 lengths. Then he was demoted to second in the Listed Prix Bedel at Lyon-Parilly (2400m) on May 25, with runner-up Balaythous promoted, after being first past the post (short head), before returning to Germany to claim the Hansa-Preis-Gr.2 on June 26 in 2:29.22. He had one more run in that country before export when an unlucky fifth of 10 behind the Arc winner Danedream in the Grosser Preis von Berlin-Gr.1 (2400m) on July 24.

In the essay on Germany in Racehorses of 2011, Timeform’s experts wrote, “Lucas Cranach looked one of the most progressive older horses in Germany, and when he gave a good beating to Durban Thunder in the Hansa-Preis at Hamburg in June it was the sixth time in his last seven starts that he had passed the post first.” His Timeform for the year was 119, the equal-fourth highest rating among the older horses in Germany, topped by the Gr.1 winner Durban Thunder, the horse he defeated easily in his Gr.2 success, on 123.

Lucas Cranach did not race again until October 15 and he had his first Australian start for Anthony Freedman in the Caulfield Cup-Gr.1 (2400m) when he carried 56kg into fifth place, beaten 3.1 lengths, behind Southern Speed, Green Moon, Tullamore and Manighar (short head) in a field of 18 after being near the rear early and coming wide on the final turn, staying on well. He then saddled up for the Melbourne Cup-Gr.1 (3200m) at Flemington on November 1 and ran a ‘blinder’ to be third of 24 behind Dunaden and Red Cadeaux (nose), beaten 1.4 lengths in 3:20.84 and with Americain a neck back fourth and Manighar fifth. Lucas Cranach raced in mid-field and started to make headway in the final 400m, hitting the lead approaching the final 200m and was caught with 50m to run but held on bravely.

Off the scene until February 25, 2012, the great-grandson of legendary sire Sadler’s Wells flashed home for a dominating 1.25 length win in the MRC Peter Young Stakes (St George)-Gr.2 (1800m), coming from last to beat fellow imports Ilo and Manighar in 1:48.22.

“I always had the opinion he was that good,” Anthony Freedman said, after the stallion’s dazzling Caulfield victory. This success prompted favouritism for the Australian Cup-Gr.1 ahead of Americain.

It was Lucas Cranach’s sixth win in 12 starts and took his earnings past $809,000, and bookies also posted him early favourite for the 2012 Melbourne Cup. Unfortunately his season ended soon after the win when he suffered a bone chip, “a tiny flake” at the back of a sesamoid. The injury proved more troublesome than first thought and the horse was subsequently retired on January 3, 2013. Freedman said the injury had not mended as well as everyone would have liked and “there is no chance it will either”.

“It was quite a serious injury, you are always cautious. He had all the rehab, all the time in the world, but at some stage you have to make a decision,” Freedman said. “He was x-rayed yesterday and we were told the extent of things and the likelihood of the horse racing again was zero. He was a very good horse and it’s very disappointing for everyone, not only the owners, but me and the staff.” 

Freedman said Lucas Cranach, who defeated subsequent triple Gr.1 winner Manighar in his St George Stakes win, had untapped ability. “I think on his day he was the best horse in Australia. They are hard to come by, we will just have to try to find another one.” For the publicity shy and reticent Freedman to make such a statement is unusual indeed and he’s not one to make such comments lightly.

However the Freedman stable’s loss was to prove a major gain for the Victorian breeding industry with the horse heading to Bullarook Park by arrangement with his Australian Bloodstock syndicate and at a first season fee of $5500. The 16.1 hand bay/brown is a son of the German dual Gr.1 winner Mamool, while his dam, Lots of Love, was also a stakes winner in Germany and she is a daughter of Java Gold, a multiple Gr.1 winner in the US and head of that country’s Three Year-Old Free Handicap in 1967. Java Gold is best known locally as the broodmare sire of Helenus, winner of the VRC Derby, Caulfield Guineas and Rosehill Guineas and sire of the Gr.1 winners Ethiopia and Cedarberg before his death in April 2013.

Mamool (In The Wings-Genovefa by Woodman (USA)), who was Germany’s Champion Older Horse in 2003, is no stranger to the Australian punter having ventured here twice to compete in the Melbourne Cup, finishing 23rd in 2003 and seventh in 2007 for breeder Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum’s Godolphin Racing. Mamool won eight of his 22 starts including the Grosser Preis von Baden-Gr.1 (12f) and the Cologne Preis von Europa-Gr.1 (12f) and he also won the Yorkshire Cup-Gr.2 (13.5f), Royal Ascot Queen’s Vase-Gr.3 (16f) and the Goodwood Glorious Stakes-LR (12f). He initially stood at Gestut Isarland (birthplace of Monsun) but moved to Gestut Romerhoff for the 2011 season, standing at €5000.

Mamool’s first foals arrived in 2007 and he has had 103 starters for 55 winners of $3m and his six stakes winners represent 5.8% of runners. While Lucas Cranach is the best of his performers, he is also sire of Italian Gr.2 winner and Gr.1 placed Orsino (Platini and 4m,5mx5m Northern Dancer), German 1000 Guineas-Gr.2 winner Lips Poison (Royal Academy; inbred 4m,5mx5m,5m,6m to Northern Dancer including via three-quarter brothers Far North and Nijinsky and a RF to Special 5fx5m via Fairy Bridge and Nureyev) and German Listed winners Orluna (Acatenango; Far North-Nijinsky 4x5), Lamool (Windwurf; Far North-Nijinsky 4x5) and Semina (Second Set; Northern Dancer 4m,5mx5m,5m and Special 5fx5m via Fairy Bridge and Nureyev).

Lucas Cranach also has three lines of Northern Dancer (4m,5mx5m) and is another with the three-quarter brothers Far North and Nijinsky (4x4). It would be easy to source Far North’s brother The Minstrel (Northern Dancer-Fleur by Victoria Park) via daughters of his son Palace Music, who stood in Victoria. These mares could be a good match with Lucas Cranach.

Mamool’s progeny have a winning distance index of 2261m. From his first crop of just 42 foals, he’s had 31 runners for 22 winners (5SW) of 72 races, while his 33 foals of 2008 contained 29 runners, 16 winners (1SW), with 42 wins. That his runners improve with age is apparent when you consider he’s had 63 runners at four years for 39 winners of 90 races.

Mamool’s sire In The Wings (Sadler’s Wells-High Hawk by Shirley Heights), who died at 18 in 2004, was a superb racehorse and very good sire for Darley and his wins included the 1990 Breeders’ Cup Turf-Gr.1 at Belmont Park. He also counted the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud-Gr.1 and the Coronation Cup-Gr.1 among his seven wins in 11 starts and left 64 stakes winners (10Gr.1) including Central Park (dual Gr.1 winner Italy, runner-up Melbourne Cup), Act One (multiple French Gr.1 winner), Winged Love (Irish Derby), Moon Ballad (2003 Dubai World Cup), Champion US Turf Colt of 1996 Singspiel (Dubai World Cup, Japan Cup, Canadian International, Coronation Cup, Juddmonte International shuttled to Australia) and 2004 German Horse of the Year and four-time Gr.1 winner Soldier Hollow.

His Gr.1 winners were out of daughters of Halo, Common Grounds, Habitat, Woodman, Relkino, Baillamont, Last Tycoon, Top Ville, Sanglamore and Diesis. He left 405 winners (72.1% of starters) of more than $60m and with a winning distance index of 2475m. Bred on the familiar cross of Sadler’s Wells over a Mill Reef line mare, breeders could do well to find mares containing horses with a similar cross (daughters of High Chaparral for example, as he also has a line of Sharpen Up which has nicked well with In the Wings) to put to Lucas Cranach. He should also suit mares from the Danehill line as this has worked well with Sadler’s Wells (and with Woodman, who is Mamool’s damsire and well known to Australian breeders).

Lucas Cranach’s damsire Java Gold is a grandson of Graustark, whose brother His Majesty is damsire of Danehill. Inbreeding to the family of Special has also worked and there will be ample opportunity to access Fairy King, a brother to Sadler’s Wells, via his son Encosta de Lago, or their three-quarter brother Nureyev. Ill-fated Northern Meteor carries a double of this family, so his daughters are worth considering.

Lot’s of Love, dam of Lucas Cranach, comes from a distinguished German family and her seventh dam Agalire (Laland) won the Grosser Preis von Baden-Gr.1 and her dam, Atalante (Fervour-Athene by Ariel), is a half-sister to Athanasie (Laland), dam of the German Derby and Grosser Preis von Baden winner Athanasius, a noted sire. This is family 16 and in the more immediate removes we find Lucas Cranach’s fourth dam Lara (Boticelli-Loire by Neckar) is closely related to Gr.1 winner Las Vegas and German Oaks-Gr.2 winner Loisach. Lara’s daughter L’Oise, a winner in France, is by star German racehorse and sire Alpenkonig, twice leading sire in Germany and a son of Tamerlane who is a male line ancestor of the 2013 Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente.

L’Oise is the dam of stakes placed Lost Love, a daughter of another German legend in Acatenango (16 wins in 24 starts), a multiple Gr.1 winner in Germany and Gr.1 winner in France, three times German Horse of the Year and Champion Sire there in 1993, 1995,1997 and 1999. Lost Love, who won at two in Germany and was Gr.3 placed, is the dam of five winners including Lots of Love whose four wins from 1500m-1600m included a Listed race at Cologne. Dam of Lucas Cranach, she has also produced three other winners including the German 1000 Guineas fourth Lady of Budysin (by Soldier Hollow), bred on a similar cross to Lucas Cranach, and the multiple winner Lady Di (by Samum, a son of Monsun).

Her sire, Java Gold (Key to the Mint-Javamine by Nijinsky) represents the Ribot male line and carries a 3fx5m cross of Princequillo. Bred by Paul Mellon, he won the Remsen-Gr.1 at two and the Travers-Gr.1, Marlboro Cup Invitational-Gr.1 and Whitney Handicap-Gr.1 at three, and was runner-up in the Jockey Club Gold Cup-Gr.1. His runners included Champion US Sprinter of 2000 and Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Kona Gold (Slew o’Gold), Trinidad champion Sian’s Gold (Giboulee), Gr.2 winner and sire Grand Jewel (Alydar), Mocha Express (Lord Gaylord) and champion Czech juvenile Access to Java (Mtoto), who stands in the Czech Republic. Java Gold stood at Lane’s End in Kentucky from 1988-95 and then at Gestut Ammerland in Germany from 1996-1999, and Lots of Love was from his first German crop. 

A horse with tons of talent who won from 1800m-2400m, Lucas Cranach is among the first of the recent influx of imported stayers purchased in Europe to chase our staying riches to go to stud. Named after German Renaissance artists (father and son) known for their paintings, engravings and woodcuts, Lucas Cranach is sure to make his mark on the broad canvas that is Australian breeding. The Melbourne Cup success of Fiorente, with his similar strong German antecedents, has been a timely boost for this talented performer who could easily leave Cup and classic winners, and his modest fee makes him an attractive prospect indeed.

Toggle Cross Duplications
Show/Hide Sibling Identifiers

Six x Six Enhanced Pedigree Grid for

LUCAS CRANACH (GER) 2007 Bay colt
by Mamool - Lots of Love, by Java Gold


B. 1999
GW 8 wins
f:152 r:114 w:57 SW:6
  In The Wings
B. 1986
GW 7 wins
f:697 r:575 w:410 SW:64
  Sadler's Wells
B. 1981
GW 6 wins
f:2140 r:1678 w:1082 SW:291
  Northern Dancer   Nearctic   Nearco 4
  Lady Angela 14
  Natalma   Native Dancer 5
  Almahmoud 2
  Fairy Bridge 3 Bold Reason   Hail To Reason 4
  Lalun 19
  Special   Forli 3
  Thong 5
  High Hawk
B. 1980
GW 6 wins
f:17 r:13 w:10 SW:4
  Shirley Heights   Mill Reef 3 Never Bend 19
  Milan Mill 22
  Hardiemma   Hardicanute 3
  Grand Cross 1
  Sunbittern   Sea Hawk   Herbager 16
  Sea Nymph 3
  Pantoufle   Panaslipper 1
  Etoile de France 9
B. 1992
GW 2 wins
f:10 r:7 w:6 SW:1
Ch. 1983
GW 3 wins
f:1961 r:1665 w:1102 SW:100
  Mr. Prospector   Raise A Native   Native Dancer 5
  Raise You 8
  Gold Digger   Nashua 3
  Sequence 13
  Playmate   Buckpasser   Tom Fool 3
  Busanda 1
  Intriguing   Swaps A4
  Glamour 1
  Reigning Countess
B or Br. 1982
GW 6 wins
f:10 r:8 w:7 SW:3
  Far North   Northern Dancer   Nearctic 14
  Natalma 2
1 Fleur   Victoria Park 10
  Flaming Page 8
  Countess Fager   Dr Fager   Rough'n Tumble 1
  Aspidistra 1
  Compassionately   Hail To Reason 4
  Sister Antoine 4
B. 1997
SW 4 wins
f:9 r:7 w:4 SW:1
  Java Gold
B. 1984
GW 9 wins
f:357 r:292 w:207 SW:13
  Key To The Mint
B. 1969
GW 14 wins
f:623 r:466 w:328 SW:49
  Graustark   Ribot   Tenerani 6
  Romanella 4
  Flower Bowl   Alibhai 6
  Flower Bed 4
  Key Bridge   Princequillo   Prince Rose 10
  Cosquilla 1
  Blue Banner   War Admiral 11
  Risque Blue 2
B. 1973
GW 7 wins
f:3 r:3 w:2 SW:2
1 Nijinsky   Northern Dancer   Nearctic 14
  Natalma 2
  Flaming Page   Bull Page 4
  Flaring Top 8
  Dusky Evening   Tim Tam   Tom Fool 3
  Two Lea 23
  Home By Dark   Hill Prince 9
  Sunday Evening 9
  Lost Love
B. 1992
SP 1 win
f:8 r:7 w:5 SW:1
Ch. 1982
GW 16 wins
f:562 r:450 w:374 SW:117
  Surumu   Literat   Birkhahn 1
  Lis 7
  Surama   Reliance 16
  Suncourt 19
  Aggravate   Aggressor   Combat 9
  Phaetonia 10
  Raven Locks   Mr Jinks 22
  Gentlemen's Relish 11
B. 1978
Wnr 1 win
f:10 r:8 w:5
  Alpenkonig   Tamerlane   Persian Gulf 2
  Eastern Empress 1
  Alpenlerche   Birkhahn 1
  Ascona 2
  Lara   Botticelli   Blue Peter 20
  Buonamica 22
  Loire   Neckar 4
  Legende 16

Northern Dancer (CAN) 1961 : 4m 5m x 5m
Flaming Page (CAN) 1959 : 6f x 5m
Tom Fool (USA) 1949 : 6m x 6m

Native Dancer (USA) 1950 : 6f 6m x
Hail To Reason (USA) 1958 : 6m 6f x
Birkhahn (GER) 1945 : x 6m 6f