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Horse Racing: GERMANY CALLING; Pedigree analysis Monsun marches on courtesy of Gentlewave.

Byline: TONY MORRIS

IT is commonly perceived that Italy offers the cheapest prestige in the European Pattern. The breeding industry there has long been at a low ebb, so its principal races often provide easy pickings for foreign raiders, and we tend to pay scant respect to those who succeed.

But it would surely be a mistake to suppose that the winner of Sunday's Derby Italiano, French-trained Gentlewave, secured only specious honours by his victory.

The richest race to date in the 2006 European calendar was won in appropriately magisterial style, and it will be surprising if future events fail to confirm that the Monsun colt is one of the leaders of his generation at middle distances.

Unraced at two, Gentlewave has come quickly to the fore this season and should now be unbeaten after five races.

He began with a win in a minor tenfurlong event at Saint-Cloud, collected in Listed company over a slightly longer trip at the same course, then completed a swift hat-trick with a Group 2 victory in Longchamp's Prix Noailles, when one of his victims in a tight finish was his stable companion Linda's Lad, a previous Group 1 scorer.

Gentlewave's next target was the Prix Hocquart, and he understandably started a hot favourite, but when a second Group 2 success seemed assured Christophe Soumillon dropped his whip. Hands and heels proved inadequate encouragement when Numide came with a wet sail to get up in the final strides.

It cost E61,200 to supplement Gentlewave for the Derby Italiano, but it could not have been a difficult decision for his connections. Punters at the Capannelle needed little convincing that the investment would be returned with interest, sending him off at odds-on in the 14-strong field, and at no stage was the issue in doubt.

Always going easily under local rider Mirco Monteriso, the favourite progressed smoothly to take command over a furlong out and drew clear effortlessly to beat the Montjeu colt Storm Mountain by four lengths.

Gentlewave returned to Chantilly, having banked E479,232 (some pounds 330,000) by dint of his easy success, and will now be aimed at the Grand Prix de Paris on July 14. He is going to take some beating there, and he will surely be a factor in top weightfor- age events when the time comes.

Andre Fabre holds the strongest of hands for the mile-and-a-half contests, and he will have a knotty problem deciding on targets for threeyear- old Gentlewave, four-year-old Hurricane Run and five-year-old Shirocco, all proven stars, and all - significantly - with German influences close up in their pedigrees.

Hurricane Run is out of a mare by Surumu, a Deutsches Derby winner and frequent champion sire in Germany. Shirocco and Gentlewave are both by Monsun, a triple Group 1 winner at weight-for-age, and currently his nation's pre-eminent sire, with a rapidly growing international reputation.

I have long championed the cause of German breeding, not least for the fact that it is regulated like no other industry I know, with soundness as the key principle. Germany has rules in place that grant opportunities for a stallion career only to horses who have achieved a certain level of racecourse performance, who have raced for more than one season, who have no inherited or inheritable physical defects, and who have never competed while under medication.

Those are sensible rules, and while they would have barred the likes of Night Shift (poor performance), Fasliyev (only one season), Fairy King (both counts), Dancing Brave (parrot mouth) and the vast majority of horses trained in the US (medication) from standing at stud in Germany, they have preserved the integrity of the nation's stock, and it should be no surprise that its horses are becoming increasingly influential on a wider stage.

Sadly, it's a case of 'anything goes' in the rest of the world, and breeders are all too readily persuaded to patronise horses whose qualifications for stud duty are at best dubious and at worst non-existent.

Monsun, bred on the proven cross between Konigsstuhl and Surumu, had four seasons in training and was a multiple winner in all of them. From 23 starts he was successful 12 times, his principal victories coming in the Aral Pokal at three and the Preis von Europa at both three and four. He ran second in the Deutsches Derby, beaten a length by Lando, who was later to win a Japan Cup.

Retired to stud at Schlenderhan, Monsun wasted no time in establishing himself as a superior sire. From his first crop of only 35 came ten individual two-year-old winners, registering record earnings for a first-season sire, and among them were Samum and Subiaco, subsequently first and second in the 2000 Deutsches Derby.

HAVING covered books in the 30s and 40s in his first four seasons, Monsun achieved much wider patronage in the year after his first two-year-olds excelled, and in the ensuing crop of 66 foals were winners of both Germany's top Classics, Amarette in the Preis der Diana and Shirocco in the Deutsches Derby.

Shirocco has gone on to advertise his sire's qualities in three other countries, adding victories in the Gran Premio del Jockey Club, the Breeders' Cup Turf, and most recently - and most impressively - in the Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket.

The international community should be getting the message about Monsun now, for Shirocco and Gentlewave are not the only ones to have spread the word in 2006. Manduro, also in the Fabre yard, notched a Group 2 success in the Prix d'Harcourt, and Noble Stella took the Grade 3 Bewitch Stakes at Keeneland.

Foaled in Ireland while his dam Saumareine was visiting Sinndar, Gentlewave was bred by the Haras de la Perelle, whose owner, Jurgen Winter, was among the first breeders outside Germany to appreciate Monsun. Unfortunately, he did not profit from his perspicacity, because he received only E55,000 when Gentlewave went to auction at Deauville. At that time Saumareine had produced just one winner, but she now has four from as many runners.

There was plenty of black type on Gentlewave's catalogue page, including the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby victor Charming Duke under the second dam, but the colt's most notable relation in the female line was the rather more remotely connected Toccet, one of America's top two-year-olds of 2002, when he landed a Grade 1 double in the Champagne Stakes and Hollywood Futurity. Gentlewave may just prove to be a finer advertisement for the family.

SIRE MONSUN

Bred by Gestut Isarland. DM90,000 Baden-Baden yearling. Won 12 (8-12f) of 23 starts, viz. 2 out of 4 at 2 years, 6 (inc. Grosser Preis der Steigenberger Hotels-Gr3, Grosser Hertie Preis-Gr2, Aral Pokal-Gr1, Preis von Europa-Gr1) out of 8 at 3 years, 2 (Gerling Preis-Gr2, Preis von Europa-Gr1) out of 7 at 4 years, 2 (Gerling Preis-Gr2, Grosser Hansa Preis-Gr2) out of 4 at 5 years. Timeform 124 at 3, 122 at 4, 119 at 5. Earned DM2,088,594.

Strong, 16.1hh, attractive individual. High-class middle-distance performer, effective on top of the ground, but especially proficient on rain-affected surface. Habitually raced close to the pace. Very genuine and consistent.

Well-bred. A leading product of highly-successful cross of Konigsstuhl on Surumu, both multiple champion sires. Out of a Listed winner who was half-sister to 2 other Listed winners. Family of champion filly Majoritat, herself dam of 2004 Deutsches Derby runner-up Malinas.

Stands at Gestut Schlenderhan at a fee of E60,000 (Oct 1). Sire of 6 crops of racing age, inc. notable winners: Network (Gr2), Samum (Deutsches Derby-Gr1, Grosser Preis von Baden-Gr1), Speedmaster (Gr2), Subiaco (Gr2), Noroit (Gr2), Simoun (Gr2), Guadalupe (Oaks d'Italia-Gr1), Salve Regina (Preis der Diana-Gr1), Aubonne (Gr3), Royal Fantasy (Gr2), Amarette (Preis der Diana-Gr1), Assiun (Gr3), Give Me Five (Gr3), Noble Stella (Gr3), Shirocco (Deutsches Derby-Gr1, Gran Premio del Jockey Club-Gr1), Vallera (Gr3), Anna Monda (Premio Vittorio di Capua-Gr1), Arcadio (Gr3), Manduro (Gr2), Royal Highness (Gr2), Sorrent (Gr3), Gentlewave (Derby Italiano-Gr1), Quelle Amore (Gr2).

DAM SAUMAREINE

Bred by SCEA Haras du Reuilly in France. Ff540,000 Deauville August yearling. Won 2 (8-10f) of 12 races, viz. unraced at 2 years, 1 out of 6 at 3 years, 1 out of 6 at 4 years. Also placed 2nd twice and 3rd once. Earned Ff221,000.

Attractive sort, and a quite useful, consistent performer in respectable company. Effective on any ground.

By an Arc de Triomphe winner who has not excelled at stud. Half-sister to 7 other winners, inc. Charming Duke (by Iron Duke' Gr1 in US) and As Que To (by No Pass No Sale' Gr3 in France). Dam a 2-y-o winner, half-sister to 5 other winners, inc. Chartino and Canaletto (both Listed). Grand-dam shared with Simon du Desert (Gr3) and Venize (Gr3), Listed winners Fay Wray, Collecta, Courtly Candor and Miss Walkie Talkie, and with Listed-placed winner Cozzene's Angel (dam of dual US Gr1 2-y-o winner Toccet).

To stud at 5 years and dam of: Splendeur (1999 f by Desert King' winner), Sonka (2001 f by Desert Prince' winner), Saudade (2002 f by Linamix' winner), Gentlewave (2003 c by Monsun' Derby winner), Saura (2004 c by Sinndar' unraced to date, with A Fabre). She has a yearling colt by Act One.

CONCLUSIONS

Yet another excellent advertisement for the best sire in continental Europe. Very progressive sort who seems sure to thrive at the highest level.

CAPTION(S):

Shirocco, like Italian Derby winner Gentlewave, is another son of Germany's pre-eminent sire Monsun
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:May 25, 2006
Words:1575
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