08/03/2008, Düsseldorf / Germany

 

Henkel Race Day 2008 – a joyful festival for all the family

Henkel Race Day took place at the Düsseldorf Grafenberg racing course on Sunday, August 3, 2008. This year saw more visitors than ever before, attracted by the 150th running of the “Preis der Diana” German Oaks. There were 22,000 spectators, all keen to enjoy every minute of the exciting racing event, augmented by the wide range of attractions provided at this most pictorial of sporting venues. The winner of the big race was Rosenreihe of the Wittekindshof yard owned by Dortmund entrepreneur Hans-Hugo Miebach – in a finish of unbelievable tension and excitement. For only in the final few meters of the 2,200 meters distance was top jockey Andrasch Starke able to secure victory after coming from an almost hopeless position just 200 meters out from the post.

No one, it appears, wanted to miss this unique flat racing anniversary. The Europe Group I race is Germany’s longest-standing and most traditional Oaks, and it has been held under the patronage of Henkel in Düsseldorf since 2006. This is one of the main reasons why Henkel Race Day featuring the “Preis der Diana” has, over the last few years, moved into the ranks of the truly top events of Germany’s flat racing season. The prize money for this race, which was first held in 1857, totaled 656,000 euros this time, with more than 80 percent coming from the entry fees paid by the participating stables. This made it the richest German Oaks of all time and the second most valuable race to be held in the country. As a Group I event, it belongs to the highest category on the international turf scene.

Hero of the day was top jockey Andrasch Starke who managed, in the final few meters of the race, to turn what appeared to be a lost cause into a triumph of perfect timing. With his filly still hopelessly boxed in 200 meters from the finish, he suddenly found a way through and, with an amazing turn of foot, Rosenreihe accelerated past the field. Meter by meter, she ate up the ground between her and the leaders, finally pipping Lady Marian at the post, who, just seconds before, had appeared to have the race in the bag. Third was co-favorite Baila Me before Très Rapide. This was the fifth time that Starke had taken the Preis der Diana.

The racing event card was complimented by a range of innovative and colorful attractions for the whole family, in keeping with the Henkel traditions on this day at the races. So once again, visitors of all ages were able to take away their own personal impressions of what the Henkel claim “A Brand like a Friend” really means.

This year, the race course was once again transformed into a world of Henkel-related experiences. In the popular “Brands Paddock”, visitors were given a chance to join in various activities and experience the brands and innovations that make up Henkel’s world. Ladies were invited to avail themselves of the expertise of Henkel’s own hair styling consultants, and a skin analysis was also on offer at the Cosmetics/Toiletries pavilion. The race-goers were likewise able to glean tips on the subjects of laundry care and adhesive bonding in the individual marquees – the “Brand Stands” – that made up this unique concourse.

To mark the 130th anniversary of Henkel’s presence in Düsseldorf, this year saw for the first time an exhibition marquee where young people were able to participate in a quiz on the history of Henkel. And those with the 20 highest scores were each offered a training course in job application and interview techniques.

Particularly popular with the public was the newly introduced picnic area offering an unimpeded view of the race track. Here, anyone sporting a picnic blanket was welcome to find a spot so that, in true Ascot style, they could pass away the time watching the colorful events as they unfolded around the picturesque race course. And there was also plenty of excitement to be had in the “Children’s Paradise” with a bouncy castle and pony rides among the kiddy attractions. New this year was an Action Area directly next door to the Children’s Paradise, where the young and the young-at-heart were able to test their fitness on an aerotrim gyroscope, trampolines and a modern climbing wall.

Under the slogan “Cast Your Vote For A Worthy Cause”, visitors were given an opportunity to select one of three social projects that was closest to their hearts. For each participant who did indeed cast their vote at the Henkel Smile marquee, Henkel donated one euro to the selected cause, resulting in around 20,000 euros being collected for the three Henkel Smile projects. Today, the name of the first winner of the “Preis der Diana” in 1876 – Henkel’s founding year – is even more applicable than ever: Vergiss Mein Nicht which means “Forget me not”. The “Henkel Race Day featuring the Preis der Diana” is indeed an event destined to stay in the memory.