The English page - Stallions on parade
Last weekend´s Irish Stallion Trail was by all accounts a big success despite horrible weather. Just about every Irish stud of note took part, from Coolmore to the Irish National Stud. This weekend sees the Route des Etalons de Normandie, also over two days, with 30 studs taking part and almost 100 stallions parading.
It is difficult to imagine such an event in Germany, although the “Tag des Gestüte” (Stud Open Day) in mid-September is very popular and 13 studs took part last year. Put simply, the quality here is good, but the quantity not enough, and also the distances are too great; there are major studs in Germany next to the Polish border (Görlsdorf) and others within sight of the Alps (Ammerland). Although most of the top stallions stand in the Rhine valley, or close to is, that also extends from the Dutch border down to Switzerland. And at the last count here are only 47 thoroughbred stallions standing in Germany, less than half the number in Normandy alone.
But there was plenty of interest for German breeders in the Irish and French trails, and no doubt some breeders will be sending mares this year to stallions standing in those areas. Among the Norrmandy stallions for example, there are two winners of the Deutsches Derby, Kamsin who won in 2008 and was himself by another Derby winner Samum (2000) and Pastorius (2012), who defeated Novellist, who now stands with some success in Japan. Pastorius is by Soldier Hollow (In The Wings), currently Germany´s champion sire (for the third time).
Also on parade in Normandy is Manduro (Monsun), who was Germany´s top-rated two-year-old in 2004, when trained by Peter Schiergen, and was later transferred to Andre Fabre in France, where he showed further improvement; in 2007, at the age of five, he went through the season unbeaten, winning top races at distances from one mile to twelve furlongs. “He would have won the Arc” according to his trainer, but sadly had to miss the race following a setback. Fabre certainly knows what is required to win the Arc – as we saw recently with another German-owned star Waldgeist – and Manduro was officially rated the best horse in the world in 2007.
There are also plenty of stallions standing in Ireland with German connections, most of them now covering mainly N.H. mares, which has become a very lucrative business in that country. Sons of Monsun have done particularly well in this respect. Three of the most prominent are Shirocco, winner of the 2004 Deutsches Derby and later on the Breeders´Cup Tur and Coronation Cup (also trained then by André Fabre), Arcadio, who defeated Soldier Hpollow by a neck in a Cologne Group Two in 2006 and had earlier won the Bavarian Classic, and Getaway, winner of the 2009 Grosser Preis von Baden, whose progeny are fetching very high prices at the sales. All these ran in the colours of Baron Ullmann or his family´s Gestüt Schlenderhan, where Monsun himself stood for his entire stallion career.
Monsun himself was bred by Gestüt Isarland and bought by Baron Ullmann as a yearling. He can certainly claim to be the most successful German sire of all time and at the peak his career in the early years of this century was the most expensive stallion on the European mainland. His top fee of 150,000 euros put him out of reach of most German breeders, but he attracted mares belonging to such notable international breeders as the Aga Khan, Coolmore and the Wertheimer brothers. We still remember is daughter Estimate, bred by the Aga Khan, winning the Ascot Gold Cup in the Queen´s own colours, while three sons of his won the Melbourne Cup within four years (including the Schlenderhan-bred Almandin). Monsun died in 2012 and there are still a handful of his progeny in training (including the Röttgen-bred Aramon, a Group One winning hurdler), but his legacy is certain to live on for many generations thanks to his many sons at stud and also his many successful broodmare daughters.
Monsun himself was a most consistent performer who won 12 races (including three Group Ones) and never finished out of the money, but he was not a champion on the racetrack. His contemporary Lando (Acatenango) was his superior as a racehorse, and the 1993 Deutsches Derby, in which Lando defeated his stablemate Monsun with Sternkönig third and Komtur fourth, is generally regarded as the best German race of the modern era. Obviously as the sire of Ascot Gold Cup and Melbourne Cup winners, Monsun was never going to appeal to breeders looking for precocious juveniles, but generally speaking his offspring stay well, stay sound and keep their form over lengthy periods of time. They are also good-looking, as he was himself – not flashy, but very neat and well-proportioned. Monsun is also sire of Network, bred by Wittekindshof and winner for them of the Union-Rennen, who died last year in France, where he had always stood; Network was sire of superstar Sprinter Sacre, the highest-rated chaser since Arkle, and currently of Delta Work, one of the favourites for this year´s Cheltenham Gold Cup. Another superstar from this sire line is Annie Power (by Shirocco), winner of the Champion Hurdle.
There are also some stallion parades in Germany at this time of year, though nowhere near the scale of the activities in Ireland France. Last Sunday Gestüt Ebbesloh paraded their two stallions Girolamo (Dai Jin) and Brametot (Rajsaman) with the latter, a recent arrival from France, obviously the focal point as a dual French classic winner from the family of Monsun. Among the guests was Sylvain Vidal, who had bought Brametot as a yearling for 26,000 euros and has been closely involved with Brametot ever since. The other top stallion coming to Germany this year is Best Solution (Kodiac), winner of the Grosser Preis von Berlin and von Baden in 2018, who has been acquired by a syndicate of top German breeders and will stand alongside Soldier Hollow at Gestüt Auenquelle, where he can be seen Saturday. The biggest stallion parade of this sort will be held next Saturday at Gestüt Röttgen and the following day Gestüt Schlenderhan will be parading their stallions at Zievenich.