The Golden Slipper Stakes (gr. I) victory of Mossfun, gives us an excuse to post an article that we wrote about her sire, Mossman (who is having a career year) for Bluebloods magazine last month…
The male line of the undefeated St. Simon – one of the greatest racehorses and sires of the 19th century – has all but disappeared from mainstream thoroughbred breeding. It does, however, have a representative who is having a career year in the shape of Mossman. The eighteen-year-old stallion has ten stakes winners to his name in the 2013-2014 season, five of them graded, including the grade one scorers, Buffering, Miss Mossman and Mossfun.
Mossman descends from St. Simon via Princequillo, a staying star in the U.S. in the 1940s, and subsequently an outstanding sire, most notably of Horse of the Year Round Table. Mossman’s sire, Success Express, was a great-great-grandson of Princequillo, descending not from Round Table, but from Princequillo’s good two-year-old son, Prince John. Hold Your Peace, the sire of Success Express, was a talented runner who won the Arlington-Washington Futurity at two and the Flamingo Stakes at three – both races that were soon to enter the graded stakes program as grade one events – and ran third to that year’s Champion Three-Year-Old, Riva Ridge, in the Kentucky Derby.
Success Express himself was quick to show his ability running third to Crusader Sword in the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) while still a maiden. He then scored runaway win a Belmont Park maiden, covering the six furlongs in 1:08.8. A narrow winner of the Juvenile Stakes at Canterbury Downs, run over an extended mile, then delivered a stunning effort in the seven furlong Sport of Kings Futurity at Louisiana Downs, tallying by 15 lengths from Risen Star, who was destinied to earn a title as the following year’s Champion Three-Year-Old after capturing the Preakness and Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Success Express could only finishing fourth in the slop in the Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita, but rebounded to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) over the Champion Canadian Two-Year-Old Regal Classic and Tejano. The Breeders’ Cup was Success Express’s seventh start in four months, and those races had come at six different tracks, and he was surely feeling the effects of those efforts when only sixth behind Tejano in the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I), his final outing at two. Success Express showed some decent form at three, but never won again, and it’s likely that his exhertions as a juvenile had got to the bottom him. At stud, Success Express never received the best opportunities, but did sire 32 stakes winners, and in addition to Mossman, his grade one winners included New Zealand Filly of the Year Savannah Success, Al Akbar, Coogee Walk, It’s My Sin, Explosive Burst, Quick Star, and Golden Slipper (gr. I) heroine, Polar Success.
Mossman’s dam, Lichen Lady, a daughter of Twig Moss, was a black-type winner who scored at up to 2000m. She also produced the Rory’s Jester gelding Moss Rocket, a seven-time graded winner sprinting. Lichen Lady, was half-sister to Foreign Bank, dam of the Golden Slipper (gr. I) scorer, Guineas. Mossman’s third dam, No Relation II, was very close related to Klairessa, dam of the famed mare Eight Carat: both were by Klairon – to whom Mossman’s dam was inbred 3 x 3 – and No Relation II’s second dam, Alassio, was a three-quarters sister to Tessa Gillian, the second dam of Klairessa.
As a racehorse Mossman was tough and versatile, but just a cut below the best. He earned a grade one win at two in the QTC Queensland Classic (gr. I), and he also took second in the AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes (gr. I), and a third, behind that year’s Champion Two-Year-Old Dracula, in the AJC Champagne Stakes (gr. I). The following season, Mossman showed form over wide variety of distances, winning the VRC Debonair Stakes at 1400m and the MVRC AAMI Vase (gr. II) at 2050m, and also taken second in the VRC Australian Guineas (gr. I) and VRC Debonair Stakes, and third in the STC George Ryder Stakes (gr. I) and VATC Autumn Classic (gr. II), and fourth in the Victoria Derby (gr. I) and VATC Caulfield Guineas (gr. I).
Despite his very solid race-record, which was matched by exceptional looks, Mossman didn’t spark tremendous interest when he retired to Noble Park Stud, Queensland, covering just 40 mares at an initial fee of $4,000. That first crop resulted in 31 foals, 26 of whom started, with 19 winning. Despite being in a freshman group that also included Redoute’s Choice and Commands, Mossman soon hit headlines with his first runners including Segments – successful in the AJC Inglis Two-Year-Old Classic and AJC Gimcrack Stakes at two, and later winner of the MRC Schillaci Stakes (gr. II) – and Our Sweet Moss, whose quintet of black-type wins included the AJC Silver Shadow Stakes (gr. II).
Mossman’s bright start earned him a move to Vinery’s New South Wales facility, but his first season there was blighted by a colic surgery, which meant there were only 16 foals in his 2005-2006 crop. In the meantime, Mossman’s Queensland crops had boosted his reputation through such as Segments’ sister Pure Energy, who took the STC Reisling Slipper Trial (gr. II), and black-type scorers Mosstang and Prince Braeman. Once the colic hiccup was overcome, Mossman started to hit his straps, siring 18 stakes winners, 11 graded, in his next three crops. The Mossman’s have generally shown improvement with age, but he’s already got three stakes winners in his current crop of three-year-olds and two more in his current juvenile crop.
Mossman’s career has been greatly facilitated by his affinity for the Danzig line. Twelve of his 29 stakes winners are out of Danzig line mares. The best of these, Buffering, who has taken the VRC Sprint Classic (gr. I), MVRC Manikato Stakes (gr. I) and WATC Winterbottom Stakes (gr. I) this season, is out of a daughter of Anabaa, and is interesting for going back to a mare by Mossman’s male-line ancestor, Prince John.
Heroine of this year’s WRC New Zealand Oaks (gr. I), Miss Mossman is one of six stakes winners out of 33 starters sired by Mossman out of a Danehill mare, with Hoofit and Under the Eiffel also taking graded events. From grandsons of Danehill, Mossman has the recent ATC Phar Lap Stakes (gr. II) captor, Traitor and multiple stakes winner Dothraki. Miss Mossman is out of a mare who is Danehill/Bletchingly cross, and that pattern is intensified in the dam of Mossfun, whose dam is by Snitzel (by the Danehill/Bletchingly cross, Redoute’s Choice) and out of a mare by Redoute’s Choice’s broodmare sire, Canny Lad (by Bletchingly). From other Danzig line mares, Mossman has graded scorer Stirling Grove from a daughter of Desert Prince (by Green Desert) and black-type winner Master of Puppets out of a daughter Slavic.
We mentioned Mossman’s success with mares carrying the Danzig/Bletchingly cross, and Bletchingly has proved positive in general, appearing in seven of Mossman’s stakes winners, six of them graded. Bletchingly himself is broodmare sire of the graded winning siblings Segments and Pure Energy, and Bletchingly’s son, Canny Lad, appears as the broodmare of sire of Mossman’s ATC Coolmore Classic (gr. I) victress Ofcoursican.
The cross of Mossman with mares from the Mr. Prospector line wouldn’t have jumped off the page, given that Success Express was never represented by a stakes winner on that cross. Surprisingly, however, Mossman has thrived with Mr. Prospector line mares, and according to the TrueNicks Enhanced Report he has five stakes winners from 51 starters, for 10% stakes winners to starters. Three of these have won at grade two level, Second Effort (dam by Geiger Counter), South African multiple graded scorer Royal Zulu Warrior (dam by Wallenda, a son of Gulch), and Our Sweet Moss (from a daughter of Straight Strike).
From the Sir Tristram line, Mossman has graded scorer Plucky Belle from a daughter of Zabeel, and stakes winner Parriwi out of mare by Octagonal. The mating with Octagonal is interesting as his that horse’s granddam is Klairessa, the close relative to the third dam of Mossman, and Sir Tristram, the grandsire of Octagonal, has Turn-to and My Babu, who both stem from the same immediate family as Klairon (whom we have mentioned as being 3×3) in the dam of Mossman. From another branch of the Turn-to line, Mossman has stakes winner Backbone out of a mare by At Talaq (by Roberto).
Mossman’s three-time graded scorer Love Conquers All is out of a mare by Prince Salieri (by Salieri, who is out of a mare by Speak John, the great-grandsire of Mossman). Neeson, a Mossman gelding who has a pair of sprint graded stakes to his name picks on the Klairon double in Mossman’s pedigree, as he’s out of a mare by the Klairon line horse Don’t Forget Me (by Ahonoora). The only Mossman graded scorer we’ve yet to mention is Triple Elegance, who took the ATC Liverpool City Cup (gr. III). He’s out of a mare by Quest For Fame, a Blushing Groom grandson who gives a double of frequent Blushing Groom foil, Nijinsky II.
Mossman is just getting underway as a broodmare sire, but his daughters have already produced Benny’s Buttons (by Refuse to Bend), who captured the BRC Vo Rogue Plate (gr. III) and Real Surreal (by Real Saga), winner of the GCTC Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic. His record in this regard should improve as his better-bred daughters begin to produce. Now all he needs is to get a son to extend the St. Simon line one more generation.