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The English page - Covid-19 and other woes

Der Gentlewave-Sohn und Monsun-Enkel Easysland, Sieger in der Glenfarclas Chase in Cheltenham. www.galoppfoto.de - JJ Clark


David Conolly-Smith


Ausgabe 610 vom Freitag, 20.03.2020

The rapid spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Europe is causing major problems for all spectator sports, and racing is no exception. All racing in France and the U.K. has been suspended, while Ireland has imposed strict conditions with racing going on behind closed doors and not even the owners allowed to be present. In this country, the earliest possible date for racing to be resumed is April 19th, when the Frühjahrs-Meile at Düsseldorf, the first group race of the German season, will we hope be run behind closed doors. It must be hoped that the situation will be back to normal by May, when there is a full programme including several group races and classic trials, the popular Irish Race Day at Hoppegarten on the 10th, the first classic, the Mehl-Mülhens-Renen (2,000 Guineas) at Cologne on the 17th and the Baden-Baden Spring Meeting from the 21st to the 24th. There was already a report yesterday that the last-named fixture, together with other sporting events in the state of Baden-Württemberg, is to be cancelled but this is apparently not so (at least not so far). This week´s big Hong Kong meeting is to go ahead without spectators and so is next week´s Dubai World Cup day.

Last week´s week Cheltenham N.H. Festival did go ahead to the general surprise, with over 250,000 racegoers counted over the four days of the meeting. There was some great racing with really exciting finishes and also some top performances, but it was still a huge risk and one must hope that there no nasty side-effects still to come. From the German point of view the meeting was successful with one German-bred winner, Aramax (Maxios), and his three-parts brother Aramon (Monsun) was runner-up in the County Hurdle, both of them bred by Gestüt Röttgen and also BBAG graduates.

Altogether it was a good week for stallion sons of Monsun. His sons Schiaparelli, Arcadio, Gentlewave, like Maxios, all had winners at the meeting, while his sons Network, Getaway, Shirocco and Samum all had runners finishing in the money. While Delta Work (Network) disappointed us when only fifth in the Gold Cup after a sloppy round of jumping, his sire made up for this with a lucrative day at France´s top jumping course Auteuil on Saturday with two winners, including Grande Messe in a group race over hurdles. Davidoff (Montjeu) has no Monsun in his pedigree, but was German-bred and –raced; he now stands in France and his son Abracandas was an excellent runner-up in the Supreme Novices Hurdle. Another Grade One runner-up, in fact in the closest finish of the entire week, was Melon (Medicean), who is out of Night Teeny (Platini), and thus closely related to numerous Group One winners in Germany for Gestüt Wittekindshof and also Jürgen Imm´s Stall Nizza, and who was just touched off by the minimal margin in the Marsh Novices´ Chase.

Monsun´s influence is now worldwide and his son Novellist is now one of more promising younger sires in Japan. He is actually also related to Melon, but at some distance; they both trace back to Countess Batthyany´s useful filly Nigeria (Right Boy), foaled in 1966 and herself a direct descendant of Federico Tesio´s hugely influential mare Catnip (Spearmint). Novellist´s son Valcos was a good winner of a conditions race at Hanshin last week and is now expected to go on to better things, while his son Westerwald was recently group-placed in Japan. Novellist stands at the Yoshida family´s Shadai Stallion Station, arguably the best address in Asia.

Australian owners and breeders has also been a fan of Monsun ever since three sons of his won the Melbourne Cup in the space of four years. The first of them was Irish-bred Fiorente, who is now at stud down under and doing very well at Sun Stud, Victoria, with two Group One winners Hawkshot and Star of Carrum from his first crop. He won “the race that stops a nation” in 2013 and was followed a year later by the only German-trained winner of that race, the Andreas Wöhler-trained Protectionist, now standing at Röttgen and regarded as a very promising young stallion. Also in Australia, the Görlsdorf-bred Master of Wine (Maxios) was a recent Group Three winner at Rosehill and is due to run next in the Group One Ranvet Rawson Stakes. Maxios also had a recent Wertheimer-bred winner on the flat in France, and remains very interesting, even if he is to cover mainly N.H. mares in future from his Coolmore base. He started his stud career in Germany, at Fährhof, and that stud has found a smart replacement in Helmet (Exceed and Excel), who raced in Australia in Godolphin´s colours and is now enjoying a purple patch as a stallion, with numerous winners in Australia, including several at group and black type level. He is a member of the Anna Paola family, so also has German, more specifically Röttgen roots, and is best known so far for dual Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow. His daughter La Tene, a Group Two winner last time out, is due to run today (Friday) in the Group Three Alexandra Stakes at Moonee Valley.

By a complete coincidence, the Racing Post in its Thursday issue this week also has a piece by bloodstock editor Nancy Sexton on the successes of Monsun´s sons at Cheltenham and elsewhere. They are of course not limited to N.H. races, and his sons Samum, Shirocco, Manduro and Maxios have certainly all sired Group One winners on the flat as well. Nancy ends her article: “the Monsun story is far from over,” and we can only heartily agree.

With so little actually happening on the racing front, there is little to report at present, but we certainly hope and expect to be back with another English page here next week and to be able to continue with enough material until real racing starts again (we hope!) in mid-April.

David Conolly-Smith



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