More Flat sire sons of Monsun welcome

Almandin (red cap): third son of Monsun to win the Melbourne Cup

PICTURE: Getty Images More Flat sire sons of the late Monsun welcome
By Martin Stevens 3:56PM 2 NOV 2016

THE record of Monsun in just four days: a third winner of one of the world's great races, the Melbourne Cup, in four years and two Group 1 winners out of his daughters.

Flemington hero Almandin becomes the 22nd individual top-level winner for the late, legendary German sire – a haul that includes celebrities such as Estimate, Manduro and Shirocco – while Sunday's Criterium de Saint-Cloud scorer Waldgeist and Tuesday's Grosser Preis von Bayern winner Guignol join a list of top-class horses produced by his daughters that includes Gold Cup winner Colour Vision and German Derby victors Lucky Speed, Pastorius and Sea The Moon.

Monsun was clearly adept at transmitting class to his offspring and he appears to be a fine ingredient in a pedigree. It begs the question, why are there not more of his sons in the British and Irish stallion ranks advertised for the Flat?

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The answer is that, as sources of stamina and late bloomers generally, Monsun and his sons fall foul of many commercial breeders' demand for precocity and speed. Because so many Monsun-line runners tend to be durable stayers, they have proved perfect recruits for jumping and many Monsun stallions have been snapped up by National Hunt studs – not that there are any rules to stop a breeder aiming to breed a Flat horse from them.

Two of the winners of showpiece races at this year's Cheltenham Festival – Annie Power and Sprinter Sacre – are paternal grandchildren of Monsun through Shirocco and Network. Shirocco is an example of a horse who is now billed as a jumps sire at Glenview Stud, having formerly stood under the Darley banner, but could still reward a Flat breeder with patience as he will always have two fine talents in Brown Panther and Wild Coco on his record.

The popularity of one of Monsun's past Melbourne Cup winners, Fiorente, since he retired to Sun Stud in Australia seems to show an acceptance by the country's breeders that they need to bolster their stamina breeding. Only one of the 24 runners in Tuesday's Melbourne Cup carried the AUS suffix.

Why more Flat owners in Britain and Ireland would not want to race progeny of Monsun or his sons remains a mystery.

No, Monsun could never have got you a Brocklesby winner, and you would have to pay more months' training fees before the progeny showed their best, but to compensate there is a vibrant secondary market for horses who show talent at further than a mile, from buyers looking for a potential stayer to campaign in Cup races in Australia to the jumps fraternity on the hunt for new talent. Just look at the 500,000gns underbidders Tom Malone and Joe Tizzard were prepared to pay for classy 1m4f winner Harlem at the Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale last week.

There is hope for the Monsun line in Flat racing though. Dual Group 1 winner Maxios has received strong support in his early years at Gestut Fahrhof, including from his owner-breeders the Niarchos family, and his first yearlings were popular at the sales this autumn.

And what is really gladdening is that Vadamos, a son of Monsun who won the Prix du Moulin in September and has won over as far as 1m4f, is starting his career at one of the most commercially astute operations around, Tally-Ho Stud, next year, with owners Andreas Putsch and John Camilleri retaining shares.

The future of the Monsun line in European Flat racing may lie in only a few stallions, but they are certainly in the right hands to succeed.

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