MONSUN SEASON

It’s no secret that the late German stallion, Monsun – who died in September, 2012, at the age 22 – was an outstanding sire. However, even by his standards, he had exceptional day on Sunday, with five-year-old Maxios taking the Prix d’Ispahan (gr. I) and three-year-old filly, Silasol, capturing the Prix Saint-Alary, both at Longchamp, and in Milan on the same afternoon, Charity Line, from the second crop of Monsun’s son, Manduro, took the Oaks d’Italia (gr. I).

As a racehorse, Monsun was a talented, but not exceptional performer. A true 1½ mile horse, he  won 12 of 23 starts, including the Aral-Pokal (gr. I), two renewals of the Europa Preis (gr. I), two runnings of the Gerling Preis (gr. II), the Grosser Hertie-Preis von Deutschland (gr. II) Hansa-Preis (gr. II), and Grosser Preis der Steigebberger Hotels (gr. III). Rated second best of his crop in Germany at three, Monsun also placed in four other group one events, including when runner-up to his less fancied stable companion, Lando, in the German Derby (gr. I).

As a sire, Monsun’s deeds far out rank his race-record. Champion Sire in Germany in 2002, 2004 and 2006, he has been represented by 94 stakes winners to date, 55 of them group winners. Seventeen of Monsun’s offspring have captured group one events, and among the best-know internationally are Manduro – Europe’s Champion Older Horse of 2007 and Highweight on the International Classification – Shirocco, who took the German Derby (gr. I) on the domestic front, but also captured the Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I) and Coronation Cup (gr. I) against top class international foes, and Stacelita, who not only captured the Prix Jean Romanet (gr. I), Prix Saint-Alary (gr. I), French Oaks (gr. I) and Prix Vermeille (gr. I) in Europe, but also the Beverly D Stakes (gr. I) and Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (gr. I).

Monsun was something of a rarity, actually more nearly unique in the current day and age, in that he was a world-class stallion from the sire line of the great runner Swynford, through that horse’s son, Blandford, a six-time Champion Sire in England. The line that comes down to Monsun, descends via Blandford’s 1935 Triple Crown hero, Bahram, via his high-class son, Persian Gulf, then the good English miler, Tamerlane. The sire line arrived in Germany with, Dschingis Khan, a German-bred son of Tamerlane who was Champion Sprinter in his native country, although he stretch out far enough to take the local 2,000 Guineas. Monsun is by Dschingis Khan’s son, Konigsstuhl, the first horse to capture the German Triple Crown, and subsequently a three-time Champion Sire in Germany (in an era where he had to compete with dominant German sire of the time, Surumu, who just happens to be the broodmare sire of Monsun).

Monsun  is actually linebred to Konigsstuhl’s family, as his third dam is by Kaiseradler, a three-quarters brother to Kronung, the granddam of Konigsstuhl. At five generations (Nearco and Hyperion show up in the sixth generation), is an outcross to virtually anything that you are likely to find in other European or German commercial pedigrees. However,  going back to the early part of the last century, “old-fashioned” German pedigrees tend have a narrow genetic base , and it’s probably due to this that a stallion like Monsun has worked well as a first generation outcross.

One of the more surprising examples is the cross of Monsun with mares by sons and grandsons of Mr. Prospector. It made a promising start with a limited opportunity, which inspired some attempts with high quality stock. As a result, Monsun’s current three-year-old crop includes not only Silasol, who presaged her Prix Saint-Alary (gr. I) victory with a win in last year’s Prix Marcel Boussac (gr. I), and Ocovango, who will be among the favorites for the Epsom Derby (gr. II), having taken the Prix Greffulhe (gr. II). With Monsun having five stakes winners from 18 starters out of Mr. Prospector line mares, both Silasol (dam by Gulch) and Ocovango (dam by Gone West) are TrueNicks rated A++.

The cross of Monsun with Northern Dancer line mares has been far more prolific, with more than 50 stakes winners. That includes this weekend’s group one winner Maxios, who is out of a mare by Nureyev, and is rated TrueNicks A+ as one of four stakes winners from 14 starters by Monsun out of Nureyev line mares. Maxios could make an interesting stallion prospect, as his granddam is Coup de Genie, a group one winning sister to Machiavellian, and the third dam is Coup de Folie, who is by Halo out of Northern Dancer’s half-sister, Raise the Standard, and so inbred to Almahmoud.

Talking of Maxios’ stallion prospects reminds that five of Monsun’s sons have already sired stakes winners. The first of these, the German Derby (gr. I) winner, Samum (out of a mare by the Sadler’sWells son, Old Vic) already has four group one winners to his name, including his  Kamsin (inbred to Sadler’s Wells, Surumu, and High Top and his sister, Cockade, the dam of Old Vic). Shirocco (out of a mare by The Minstrel), whose oldest runners are now five,  has nine stakes winners in his first two crops, four of them group.

Manduro, his sire’s best racing son, is like Samum and Shirocco, out of a Northern Dancer line mare (a daughter of Be My Guest. He actually has a rather interesting pedigree structure as his strain of Northern Dancer sits between a 3 x 4 inbreeding to Monsun’s sire, Dschingis Khan, a pattern which invites Northern Dancer line mares. Manduro’s oldest offspring are now four, and he has six first crop stakes winners, four out of Northern Dancer line mares. His best winner to date, the Criterium de Saint-Cloud  (gr. I) captor, Mandaean, is out of a mare by Darshaan, but does have a Northern Dancer double, as his second dam is by El Gran Senor (by Northern Dancer) out of half-sister to Manduro’s broodmare sire, Be My Guest.  His weekend Italian Oaks (gr. II) scorer, Charity Line is also out of a Northern Dancer line mare (a daughter of Hernando), in fact her dam is inbred 3 x 3 to Northern Dancer’s son, Nijinsky II. through Niniski and Caerleon. The Nijinsky II strain is one that proved very beneficial for Surumu, and there are no less than 23 stakes winners by Monsun and his sons out of mares carrying Nijinsky II, 15 of them group.

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