A chapter in the history of the BBAG (Baden-Baden Auction Company) sales house in Baden–Baden, Germany, closes this week when the final Monsun yearlings come under the hammer.
Monsun died in September 2012 aged 22 as a four–time champion German sire and the most successful stallion in the history of the German Pattern system. Such a reputation was not earned from large crops or the help of major international owner-breeders. Monsun achieved notoriety without the vast numbers of some of his contemporaries, and it wasn’t until his later years that he received notable support from the international community.
Consequently, his stock are highly prized commodities at auction, as was illustrated only last month at the Arqana August Sale when a final-crop daughter sold for a sale-topping €1.2 million ($1.58 million) to Tony Nerses on behalf of Saleh Al Homaizi and Imad Al Sagar. On no fewer than five occasions, he has supplied the sale-topper at the BBAG September Yearling Sale, notably in 2007, when a colt out of North America set an auction record at €710,000 ($932,700).
Once again, Monsun should play a pivotal role in the fortunes of this year’s BBAG yearling sale Sept. 2. Following the withdrawal of lot 190, he is represented by six yearlings including another colt out of North America, who is a brother to Listed winner Not For Sale (78), and a half-brother to G3 winner Ten Meropa (199). To put his influence on the sale into perspective, his progeny averaged €330,000 ($433,500) at last year’s renewal against the overall figure of €49,993 ($65,670).
A further chance to secure a member of his final crop arises in Newmarket at the Tattersalls October Sale. Just one representative is catalogued, a colt from Newsells Park Stud out of Tu Eres Mi Amore, a close relation to Henrythenavigator and Magician.
When Monsun retired in 1996 to stand at Baron George von Ullman’s Gestüt Schlenderhan, few would have envisaged just how influential he would become. In one respect, there was plenty to enthuse about. He combined two of Germany’s most successful lines as a son of German Triple Crown winner Konigsstuhl, a three–time champion sire, and product of a mare by Surumu, himself a six-time champion sire. He also boasted 12 wins from 23 starts, including the G1 Aral-Pokal and two renewals of the G1 EMS Kurierpost Europa Preis. In essence, he was true to the German ideal – tough, sound, and genuine.
Monsun was most effective over 1m4f, but given that he ventured out of Germany only twice for trainer Heinz Jentzsch (when second to Sunshack in the G2 Prix Conseil du Paris at Longchamp and unplaced in the G1 Coronation Cup at Epsom), he was relatively unfamiliar to racegoers outside his native country. Even more unfamiliar was his pedigree, which doesn’t contain a drop of Northern Dancer or Mr Prospector blood and traces back to Blandford rather than the ubiquitous Phalaris – if that element of his pedigree was deemed unfashionable upon his retirement, his standing as an outcross certainly later became an asset.
His first crop of 34 foals yielded 10 2-year-old winners, and when Samum and Subiaco ran one-two in the following year’s Deutsches Derby, it became apparent that Monsun was one of the best kept secrets in Europe.
Out of that first crop also came G2 winners Network and Speedmaster, and thus began the trend of big numbers from small crops. For instance, G1 winners Shirocco, Amarette and Le Miracle hailed from Monsun’s fifth crop of 66 while out of a sixth crop of just 56 foals emerged champion Manduro as well as fellow G1 winners Anna Monda, Floriot and Royal Highness – bred off a €20,000 fee ($26,300). Also increasingly apparent was his knack for upgrading mares – not one of his first 14 G1 winners were out of mares who were Pattern winners or producers (to any other stallion).
Currently, his record reads 439 winners (63 percent) from 700 foals of racing age. He is responsible for 19 G1 winners and 103 black-type winners overall, meaning he returns an outstanding 15 percent black-type winners to foals figure. While it is generally recognized that his progeny benefit from time, he is capable of siring the odd high-class 2-year-old, namely Prix Marcel Boussac heroine Silasol and Prix Thomas Bryon winner Maxios.
Until the mid-00s, Monsun was very much the domain of the German breeder. He understandably served Gestüt Schlenderhan owner Baron von Ullman particularly well, providing him with early Group winners such as Shirocco, Guadalupe, Getaway, Arcadio, and Simoun.
G2 winner Simoun, foaled in Ireland in 1998, was the first Pattern winner by Monsun not to carry a German suffix. However, it wasn’t until 2006, when Gentlewave won the G2 Prix Noailles at Longchamp and the Italian Derby, that a breeder outside Germany recorded a first Group success with the stallion. Even so, the breeder in question, Haras de la Perelle, failed to gain much financial reward for the initiative, selling the colt for just €55,000 ($72,250) as a yearling.
2006 was a vintage season for Monsun, one in which 19 Pattern races were won by his progeny, among them Shirocco, Manduro, and Getaway. By that time, thanks to a number of international performers, the secret was out and Monsun was covering some of Europe’s finest mares.
His first really expensive crop, conceived in 2007 when his fee doubled to €120,000 ($157,000), contained G1 winners Maxios and Fiorente, bred by the Niarchos family and Ballymacoll Stud Farm. The following year’s group, bred when he stood for €150,000 ($197,000), contained Ascot Gold Cup heroine Estimate and Ascot King George winner Novellist.
In his final years, by which time the horse was blind, Monsun’s books read like a who’s who, containing accomplished mares such as Ouija Board, Petrushka, Ameerat, Shawanda, Passage Of Time, and Impressionante. Not every foal achieved the desired outcome but as shown by results from this season, which has featured G2 wins by Almandin, Longina, and Protectionist, the story is far from over. There should also be much to look forward to from his last crop, which contains the progeny of high–class racemares Daryaba and All Is Vanity.
The question now is whether a son can maintain his line. Manduro recently sired his third G1 winner when Ribbons took the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville, while Shirocco’s European progeny are headed by a quartet of G2 winners. However, neither horse has yet produced a colt with the right credentials to head to stud, unlike Samum, the sire of 2008 Deutsches Derby winner Kamsin, whose only runner to date is Listed winner Amazonit. Yet, while Samum’s fee hit a high of €25,000 ($33,000) in 2009 and 2010, he stood this season at Gestüt Karlshof for only €5,500 ($7,225), reflective of how success has not been so easily forthcoming since.
Novellist will get every chance at the Shadai Stallion Station in Japan, while it will be fascinating to see how Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente fares at Eliza Park Stud in Australia. But perhaps the answer lies with Maxios, who stood his first season at Gestüt Fährhof in Germany this year. As a relation of successful sire Machiavellian and direct descendant of Natalma, he certainly boasts the pedigree for the job.
Another well-bred recruit is 2012 Arc third Masterstroke – a relation to Galileo and Sea The Stars – who stood his first season for Darley this year at Haras du Logis.
While some of his better sons attempt to make inroads on the flat, Monsun has developed into an excellent sire of jumps stallions. G2 winner Network is the sire of Sprinter Sacre and Rubi Ball among others, while Gentlewave’s first crop contained classy juvenile hurdler Pearl Swan. Shirocco, who recently switched from Darley to Rathbarry Stud’s jumps arm, Glenview Stud, is the sire of top hurdler Annie Power. With that in mind, it is unsurprising that Arcadio and Getaway were two of Europe’s busiest stallions in 2013, covering 292 and 254 mares, respectively.
Should Monsun fail to leave behind a truly successful son, he will have least forged an excellent reputation as a broodmare sire. His daughters are already responsible for seven G1 winners, including the winners of the past two renewals of the Deutsches Derby in Pastorius and Sea The Moon, who won this year’s race at the expense of Lucky Speed, also out of a Monsun mare.
Lot No. & Name
71; Long Summer
f - Lagalp (Galileo)
78; North Face
c - North America (Pivotal)
142; Fast Lightning
c - Flashing Colour (Pivotal)
c - Starla Dancer (Danehill Dancer)
Jamie Railton, agent
c - Tenderly (Danehill)
c - Aramina (In The Wings)