Ausgabe 547 vom Freitag, 07.12.2018
With racing at a very low ebb in Germany for the next few weeks, it seems a good time to look at what´s going on around the world. This Sunday we have the International Races at Sha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong, with four valuable Group One events – over six, eight, ten and twelve furlongs- all with high class international fields. Unfortunately there is no German-trained runner, our hopes that Night Music (Sea The Stars) would be invited were dashed; Stall Salzburg´s mare is going to be sold at Arqana next week instead. However the Hong Kong Vase is still of great interest, with Waldgeist (Galileo) likely to start favourite and the enigmatic Pakistan Star (Shamardal) also in the line-up. The latter was bred by Gestüt Wittekindshof, while the former is 75% owned by Gestüt Ammerland and is a representative of the celebrated Ravensberg “W” family. Also of interest from the German point of view is the Hong Kong Cup, the top event, in which Stormy Antarctic (Stormy Atlantic) will take his chance; he won the Badener Meile back in May and in July was an excellent runner-up to Benbatl (Dubawi)in the Grosser Dallmayr-Preis. The form of the Munich race has been significantly boosted since and a good performance here by Stormy Antarctic could boost it still further.
Closer to home, the National Hunt season is now in full swing in the U.K., Ireland and France, and we have already had the first Grade One races. Last Sunday at Fairyhouse the Drinmore Chase (a race won in 2013 by German-bred subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Don Cossack) ended in a narrow victory for Delta Rock, who despite a mistake at the last, got up in the final 100 yards to defeat Le Richebourg. Both the winner and the runner-up are sons of Network, one of the leading N.H. stallions in France, who is also the sire of U.K. champion Sprinter Sacre, officially rated the best jumps performer since Arkle. Network is a son of Monsun, who for obvious reasons often figures in this column. Network was bred by Wittekindshof and is in fact distantly related to Pakistan Star. He won the main Derby trial, the Group Two Union-Rennen, but did not really build on that form. However he has been a major success at stud and stands at Haras d´Enki for 12,000 euros, making him one of the most expensive N.H. stallions in France.
Over twenty sons of Monsun now stand as stallions, and they are spread all over the world – Japan, Australia and New Zealand for example. Many of them are specialist N.H. stallions, especially those standing in Ireland, where they are extremely popular and cover huge books. It would be unfair to regard Monsun as mainly a source of jumpers, as his flat sons and daughters have also done pretty well. He was by Königsstuhl out of a Surumu mare, two of the best postwar German Derby winners and the classic trip of one and a half miles was clearly his best trip. He won his first two races at two and went on to top class performances at three, four and five. He was sound and consistent and had plenty of stamina, while his offspring usually have these qualities as well, and often enough improve with age. This is ideal for old-style owner-breeders, but unfortunately not for modern commercial breeders.
During his career Monsun sired at least three top milers – Manduro, Vadamos (now shuttling between Ireland and New Zealand) and Maxios, all of whom won Group One races over a mile in France and all of whom are now at stud. But he also sired the winners of many of the world´s top staying races, including three winners of the Melbourne Cup, two of whom are at stud - Fiorente in Australia and Protectionist at Röttgen. The 2016 winner, the Schlenderhan-bred Almandin, is a gelding and still in training, winning the Group One Tancred Stakes earlier this year. Monsun is also the sire of Ascot Gold Cup winner Estimate, bred by the Aga Khan and a birthday present for the Queen, as well as Prix du Cadran winner Le Miracle and three winners of the German Derby in the brothers Samum and Schiaparelli and Shirocco. While these are among the world´s most prestigious events, they are also in the eyes of some breeders the kiss of death. For this reason stallions by Monsun are often enough damned with faint praise.
In the opinion of this writer, this is very unfair. Shirocco, who also won the Breeders Cup Turf for owner-breeder Baron Ullmann when trained by André Fabre – a great admirer of Monsun – is now covering N.H. mares at Glenview Stud in Ireland for a “private” fee, but he is also capable of siring top class winners on the flat, such as 2017 German Derby winner Windstoss and recent Melbourne Cup third Prince of Arran, another runner in Sunday´s Hong Kong Vase. Samum, who died this year, sired numerous winners under both codes, including German Derby winner Kamsin, himself not only the sire of On the Go, winner of this year´s Grand Steeple in Auteuil, but also of several promising two-year-olds in 2018.
Novellist, spectacular winner of the King George, has made a very encouraging start to his stallion career, based at Shadai Station in Japan, and so has Fiorente at Sun Stud in Australia. Manduro was Monsun´s best son on the track and was the highest-rated horse in the world after his unbeaten five-year-old season. He has also been one of the most successful at stud, siring dozens of black type and group race winners from his base at Darley´s Haras du Logis; they include the Aga Khan´s champion stayer Vazirabad but also winners over all distances.
Getaway, who won the Grosser Preis von Baden for Baron Ullmann, stands at Grange Stud and is just about the hottest N.H. sire in Ireland right now; his daughter Verdana Blue recently won the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton and this week ran second in a listed race on the flat. Other sons of Monsun standing in Ireland include Arcadio, Ocovango and Aizavoski, while Lauro is the sire of Dlauro, who on his only start so far won an Irish point to point - and was then sold for the mind-boggling sum of 410,000 guineas to trainer Joseph O´Brien for Australian owner Lloyd Williams. This suggests that the Melbourne Cup might be the long-term plan. In the U.K., Schiaparelli is covering N.H. mares, as Italian Derby winner Gentlewave in France.
Monsun broodmares are arguably doing even better than his sons. Waldgeist is already a dual Group One winner and we hope he can add a third on Sunday; Monsun´s daughter Stacelita, herself a champion on the racecourse, has produced the Japanese classic winner Soul Stirring. Three successive winners of the German Derby were out of his daughters, including Sea the Moon, currently fifth in the table of first season sires in Europe. Not far behind comes Sommerabend, a daughter of the Monsun mare Sommernacht. Monsun died in 2012, but the worldwide successes of his sons and daughters – and now their sons and daughters - ensure that his legacy will be with us for a long time yet.