world of Breeding: Shirocco another success story for Classic blend.
AS USUAL in Hamburg on Deutsches Derby day, the ground was heavy and conditions extremely testing for the 135th renewal of Germany's premier Classic at the weekend. But even in a quagmire the race tends to produce a true result and it would seem unwise to cast doubts on the merits of Shirocco, who stormed home by four lengths from the Union Rennen victor Malinas, with the best of the rest, Omikron, six lengths further back.
Trainer Andreas Schutz has always believed that Shirocco was the pick of his three-year-olds, and he did not lose faith when the colt was beaten into third place in the Union Rennen, the Group 2 Derby trial, over 11 furlongs. After Shirocco had reversed the Cologne form in no uncertain manner, Schutz declared that the son of Monsun was quite up to the standard of his four previous Derby heroes, and named the Arc de Triomphe as his chief autumn objective.
Shirocco is a full-brother to Subiaco, runner-up in the 2000 Derby, and to Storm Trooper, who finished third in the same Classic a year ago. A fourth product of an identical mating, the unraced September Storm, waits in the wings for the 2005 renewal.
Sunday's result inevitably draws attention to the sire of this group, who is enjoying a tremendous year, ranking head and shoulders above all other stallions in Germany while adding to a record that entitles him to high rank among the best in Europe.
From his first four crops, which totalled 137 foals, Monsun has 96 individual winners, representing an outlandish 70 per cent; his 20 stakes-winners translate at 14.6 per cent of his output, and 28.5 per cent are, at worst, stakes-placed. Among them were winners of the Deutsches Derby and Grosser Preis von Baden (Samum), the Oaks d'Italia (Guadalupe), the Preis der Diana (Salve Regina), and the Deutsches St Leger (Royal Fantasy). He was the champion sire in Germany in both 2000 and 2002.
Monsun's fifth crop - now three-year-olds - number 65, and it is clear they are going to secure him a third title. His stock have won both the Derby and Oaks (Preis der Diana, with Amarette), he has Group 3 winners in Assiun and Vallera, La Ina was placed in both fillies' Classics, Delsun and Give Me Five are Pattern-placed, and Golden Millennium has placed at Listed level.
Statistics can always be open to different interpretations and Monsun's record might well be read as that of one who is a big fish in a small pond. It is certainly true that, to date, his achievements are largely confined to Germany, where the racing programme tends to suit his stock; he does not get precocious individuals, and middle distances are what they require. Even so, Monsun's start has been rather more impressive than that of any other prominent German sire of recent times. One major triumph on the international stage could easily propel him to the forefront in Europe, securing him significant support from leading breeders in Britain, Ireland and France.
Monsun's pedigree mixes the best of German breeding in recent times. He is the son of a multiple champion sire in Konigsstuhl and out of a mare by another multiple champion in Surumu. That cross was instrumental in producing numerous high-class performers, including Derby winners Pik Konig and Lavirco, and though Monsun met his match on Derby day - runner-up to Lando - his Group 1 triumphs in the Aral Pokal and the Preis von Europa earned him the Horse of the Year title.
After further major victories at four and five, Monsun retired to Schlenderhan with a record of 12 wins and six placings from 23 starts. He was not expected to excel with his first two-year-olds, yet ten of his 20 runners scored at that age, giving more than a hint of what was to come by making him leading
Most of Monsun's 14 individual Pattern winners have come from mares with non-German backgrounds, nine of them descending in the male line from Northern Dancer. Shirocco is the latest with that connection, produced by So Sedulous, a mare by The Minstrel who showed useful form when trained by Geoff Wragg, winning a maiden at Yarmouth and a little race at Doncaster, as well as reaching fourth place in a Listed event at Deauville. Her best form was at a mile, and she never attempted longer distances.
SO SEDULOUS had cost Ir50,000gns as a yearling in Ireland, where both her dam and her dam's sister had excelled as two-year-olds. She was the first produce of Sedulous, who won the Group 3 Killavullan Stakes two years after the Tyros Stakes victory of her full-sister Tapolite. That pair were daughters of 2,000 Guineas hero Tap On Wood, whose own sire Sallust had also linked well with the family, as sire of Ireland's top-rated juvenile filly of 1983, Gala Event.
Gala Event, winner of the Group 3 Anglesey Stakes and Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes, was a half-sister to Pendulina (by Prince Tenderfoot), a stakes-winner herself before she produced Tapolite, Sedulous and Disregard That, an unraced daughter of Don't Forget Me who became the dam of 2003 Greenlands Stakes winner Miss Emma.
These are all connections that suggest speed rather than stamina, but further back in the female line there are numerous notable staying links. Pendulina's dam Rosemarin was a half-sister to the dam of Noble Dancer, a formidable runner in Scandinavia before his export to the States, where he collected nine Graded wins, two of them at the
top level over a mile and a half in the San Luis Rey Stakes.
In addition, Rosemarin's grand-dam was half-sister to winners of the Belmont Stakes (Cavan) and St Leger (Indiana), and in the remoter reaches of the family we find the ultimate long-distance specialist, Brown Jack, six times hero of the Queen Alexandra Stakes, and his sister, Brown Jill, the grand-dam of Grand National winner Kilmore.
The family's staying bias disappeared under the influence of speedy sires in more recent generations, and with Monsun, a powerful factor for class at middle distances, it has attained the Classic blend.
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 EUR20,000 (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), Royal Fantasy (Gr2), Amarette (Preis der Diana (Gr1), Assiun (Gr3), Shirocco (Deutsches Derby-Gr1).
Dam: So Sedulous
Bred by Forenaghts Stud in Kentucky. Ir50,000gns Goffs yearling. Won 2 (8f) of 11 races in England, France and Germany, viz. 0 out of 4 at 2 years, 2 out of 7 at 3 years. Placed 4th in mile Listed race at Deauville. Timeform 91 at 2, 102 at 3. Earned pounds 12,548 + Ff12,000.
Rather small sort and a tail-flasher, but game and consistent. Showed quite useful form, seemed to act on any ground.
Well bred. By a multiple Gr1 winner who did well as a sire (and is also broodmare sire of Grey Swallow) out of an Irish 2yo Gr3 winner who was also sister to Listed winner Tapolite,
three-parts sister to Gala Event (Gr1 winner at 2 in Ireland), and half-sister to the dam of Miss Emma (Gr3 winner in Ireland).
Same family as Noble Dancer (multiple Gr1 winner in US), Cavan (Belmont Stakes) and Indiana (St Leger).
To stud at 4 and dam of: Satchmo (1996 c by Surumu; Listed winner), Subiaco (1997 c by Monsun; Gr 2 winner, Derby 2nd), Shoah (1999 f by Acatenango; winner), Storm Trooper (2000 c by Monsun; winner, Derby 3rd), Shirocco (2001 c by Monsun; Derby winner), September Storm (2002 c by Monsun; unraced). She was not covered in 1997, was barren to Monsun in 2003, and has a filly-foal by Monsun, already named So Squally.
Another notable advertisement for his outstanding sire. Likely to make his mark in top international events at weight-for-age.
Shirocco added to the prestige of his sire Monsun by landing the Deutsches Derby