Almandin A Third Melbourne Cup Winner For His Sire Monsun
For 76-year-old part-owner Lloyd Williams, it was his fifth win in the world’s richest distance handicap as Williams had previously shared ownership of Just A Dash (Whiskey Road), successful in 1981, What A Nuisance (St Puckle), the 1985 winner, Efficient (Zabeel), popular grey winner in 2007, and most recently the import Green Moon (Montjeu) in 2012.
Green Moon, like Almandin, was prepared at Williams’ private training centre Macedon Lodge near Melbourne by trainer Robert Hickmott. The team deserve the highest of praise in nursing Almandin back to peak fitness for such a stiff test of stamina after the German stakes winner sustained a serious tendon injury after his arrival in Australia.
From a breeding viewpoint, the story of the 2016 Melbourne Cup centres on Almandin’s celebrated, now deceased sire Monsun (Konigsstuhl) as he has now supplied three of the past four winners of the race, beginning with Fiorente in 2013 (after a second to Green Moon the year before), and then followed by the impressive victory of Protectionist in 2014.
In modern times, only great New Zealand-based sires Sir Tristram (Sir Ivor) and his son Zabeel (Sir Tristram) have matched Monsun’s feat from many more runners. Sir Tristram’s Melbourne Cup winners were Gurner’s Lane in 1982, Empire Rose in 1988 and Brew in 2000 while Zabeel’s three winners were champion Might And Power in 1997, Jezabeel in 1998 and Efficient in 2007.
In Australia Fiorente, a Group Two winner in Britain, also won the Australian Cup (Gr 1, 2000m) and two other feature races and is now being given excellent opportunities as a sire at Sun Stud in Victoria where he is covering this season at a fee of $17,600 (inc GST).
Protectionist, majority owned by an Australian syndicate, has been retired to stud and may possibly shuttle to Australia next spring.
We have seen another handsome son of Monsun, a Group One winner over 1600 metres in France, Vadamos, run well in Group One company in Melbourne in the past few weeks and as he is part-owned by NSW breeder John Camilleri’s Fairway Thoroughbreds he, too, may shuttle to a stud in Australia next spring after completing his debut stud season in Ireland in 2017.
Class, stamina and outcross bloodlines are the considerable legacies offered to Australian breeders in using sons of Monsun, four times champion sire in Germany, as this influential stallion is a tail male descendant of Blandford (Swynford), Europe’s greatest Classic sire of the 1920s and 1930s and his branch is via unbeaten British Triple Crown winner Bahram (Blandford).
Monsun is a son of Germany’s first Triple Crown winner Konigsstuhl (Dschingis Khan) and as a racehorse was a tough, high class middle distance performer who acted on firm and soft going but was particularly effective on a rain affected surface. He began racing as a two-year-old, winning 12 of his 23 career starts, eight stakes races including three at Group One level, the Aral Pokal (Gr 1, 2400m) and two renewals of the Preis von Europa (Gr 1, 2400m) as a three- and four-year-old. He was also runner up to Lando (Acatenango) in the Deutsches Derby (Gr 1, 2400m).
Born in 1990, Monsun, an impressive individual, retired to Gestut Schlenderhan near Cologne, Germany, in 1996. Before his death in September, 2012, he had sired some 754 foals of which 112 are stakes winners to date, 501 are winners and 11 of his progeny have been classed as champions.
His many other major winners are too numerous to mention here but towards the end of his stud career leading breeders from all parts of Europe were paying high fees to book mares but it should be said that a number of his early sons to go to stud such as Samum and champions Shirocco and Manduro have proved a little disappointing as sires of good winners on the flat but several are having an impact as sires of jumpers.
Younger sons like Novellist in Japan and Maxios, a close relative of Machiavellian (Mr Prospector) and speedier than many other sons, in Europe may fare better as sires.
Monsun’s daughters, though, have really excelled as producers,leaving more than 50 stakes winners to date, 11 at Group One level including Pastorius (Soldier Hollow), Sea The Moon (Sea The Stars), Night Magic (Sholokhov) and Colour Vision (Rainbow Quest). Monsun’s success as a broodmare sire is hardly surprising as his own maternal grandsire Surumu (Literat), six-time champion sire in Germany, headed the German broodmare sires table 11 times.
Almandin’s dam Anatola (Tiger Hill) was a stakes winner in Germany and among her three other winners is Atempo (Monsun), a stakes-winning brother to the Melbourne Cup winner. Only last week four-year-old mare Amazona (Dubawi), a close relative of Almandin, won a Group Three race in Germany, her dam Amarette (Monsun) being out of Almandin’s second dam Avocette (Kings Lake).
Readers may recall that Almandin’s maternal grandsire Tiger Hill (Danehill), a three-time Group One winner in Germany, stood for four seasons, 2005 to 2008, at Darley’s NSW farm with five stakes winners up to Group Two level resulting from those seasons but he has enjoyed greater success in Europe with an overall tally of 48 stakes winners, five of them Group One winners, while his daughters have so far left 16 stakes winners. Another of their four Group One winners is Hong Kong star Akeed Mofeed (Dubawi), now standing at Goldin Farms in South Australia.
Almandin’s second dam Avocette is a stakes winner and a half-sister to Aviso (Tertullian) whose 12 wins included the Mehl-Mulhens Rennen (German Two Thousand Guineas) (Gr 2, 1600m).
The pedigree of Almandin shows much diversity and is a nice amalgam of German, British, American and French blood. Monsun is linebred 5 x 5 to the sister and brother Kaiserkrone (Nebelwerfer) and Kaiseradler (Nebelwerfer) while Almandin’s dam brings in another line of Kaiseradler. Almandin is also distantly linebred to Neckar (Ticino) and Birkhahn (Alchimist), two of the most renowned sires in German breeding.