German racing legend Hein Bollow dies at the age of 99

Hein Bollow (right) with Peter Schiergen, the only other person with 1,000 winners in Germany as both jockey and trainer. Photo: Marc Rühl/

By Nicholas Godfrey

Germany: Hein Bollow, a legendary figure in German racing in the 20th Century, has died in hospital in Cologne following a stroke last week. He was 99.

A 13-time champion jockey, Bollow rode the winner of the Deutsches Derby on four occasions (Allasch 1953, Kaliber 1954, Kilometer 1956 and Herero 1962  – and then also trained the winner of Germany’s premier Classic with Marduk in 1974.

Deutscher Galopp president Michael Vesper paid tribute to Bollow. “We are very sad – We have lost a defining personality in German horse racing. German racing mourns the loss of light.”

Bollow suffered his stroke the same day a recent interview with him was broadcast on Stern TV in the evening in Germany.

In a long, distinguished career spanning more than 50 years, Bollow became the first to train 1,000 winners both as jockey and trainer – to be precise, according to, he rode 1,033 winners before weight problems meant he turned to training, in which role he won 1,661 domestic races. Only Bollow’s close friend Peter Schiergen, the multiple champion jockey and trainer, has managed to emulate the feat since.

Bollow retired from training after 25 years in 1988 to look after his wife Margot, who was in ill health. His farewell success came in the Preis von Europa at his home track, Cologne, with Kondor.

However, the best horses he ever trained were his German Derby victor Marduk – who won back-to-back editions of the nation’s most prestigious race, the Grosser Preis von Baden (1974 and 1975) – and fellow multiple G1 winner Nebos. The latter was beaten less than two lengths in the Arc as a four-year-old in 1980, when he was named German Horse of the Year.

Usually in company with Schiergen and his stable jockey Filip Minarik, Bollow continued to visit German racecourses until old age, although the coronavirus crisis meant his daily visits to Schiergen’s Cologne-based stable had to be curtailed.

He suffered his stroke only days after a recent interview was aired on Stern TV in Germany.

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