published: 10 Nov 2014 in Stallion profiles

Champion German sire Monsun has been a marvellous influence on the European thoroughbred and now his Melbourne Cup and Australian Cup winner Fiorente (IRE) gets his chance to do the same in Australia from his home at Eliza Park International in Victoria.

MODERN Melbourne Cup winners have to have speed as well as stamina, traits Fiorente (IRE) had in spades. In the first two in 10 of his 20 starts, six of them wins, he was successful in Group races from 1600m-3200m and was a close third in Australia’s WFA championship, the Cox Plate-Gr.1 (2040m).

His last to first win in the Australian Cup-Gr.1 (2000m), where he beat the 2012 Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon, and his similar late charge to capture the Feehan (Dato Tan Chin Nam) Stakes-Gr.2 (1600m) highlighted his nifty turn of foot, something that’s not entirely unexpected given his dam carries a 3mx3m cross of noted speed influence Danzig. Both these crosses are through sons other than Danehill, one through Polish Precedent (whose dam is by Buckpasser, sire of Danehill’s second dam) and the other through Green Desert (whose dam is by Sir Ivor), the grandsire of I Am Invincible.

Although he is by the German champion Monsun, a noted stamina influence whose pedigree is devoid of Northern Dancer, Fiorente’s dam more than makes up for this with her double of one of his most influential sons. She also has a 4mx5f cross to the great Mill Reef (a horse who crosses so well with Sadler’s Wells and his tribe) and an additional line of his sire Never Bend and a 5fx5m cross of Sir Gaylord, via a daughter, Gaily, and a son, Sir Ivor (perfect to tap into Sir Ivor’s domestic line here via Sir Tristram and his many descendants). Further back we have the influential Petition (6f,5mx6f), twice though English Oaks winner Petitioner (second dam of Danzig) and once through short-lived English/Irish Derby winner Troy (a son of Petingo), who is best known here as the damsire of Street Cry (IRE).

A really handsome brown horse standing 16.1 hands who owns an exceptional race record, Fiorente was retired to Eliza Park International in Victoria (fee $17,600) earlier this year, damaging a tendon after running third on a heavy track behind Silent Achiever and Dundeel in the BMW-Gr.1 (2400m) at Rosehill (two lengths). It was his 15th “top four” run in 20 starts and he retired with earnings of about $6.5m. Initially trained by Sir Michael Stoute in England, Fiorente got off the mark at his second start in May 2011 when he won a 2000m maiden at Newbury and he was then second to Nathaniel (five lengths) in the King Edward VII Stakes-Gr.2 (2400m) at Royal Ascot (that horse would win the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes-Gr.1 at his next start) and he was then beaten a neck by last start Queen’s Vase-Gr.3 winner Namibian in the Gordon Stakes-Gr.3 (2400m) at Goodwood. This form earned him a Timeform of 114p (p=promising) at the end of the season.

He continued this good form in 2012 when close up (6th) in the Jockey Club Stakes-Gr.2 at Newmarket behind Al Kazeem (Dunaden third), second in the Goodwood Festival Stakes-LR (to Jetaway), sixth in the Hardwicke Stakes-Gr.2 (behind Sea Moon, 2011 Melbourne Cup winner and subsequent 2012 Caulfield Cup winner Dunaden and Red Cadeaux) and then a win in the Newmarket Princess of Wales’ Stakes-Gr.2 (2400m), beating Joshua Tree and Red Cadeaux, scoring by 2.75 lengths after taking the lead a furlong from home.

His final European run came on September 16, 2012, when he was fourth behind Orfevre in the Prix Foy- Gr.2 and he then headed south for his new Australian owners where he faced the starter in the 2012 Melbourne Cup for new trainer Gai Waterhouse on November 6, running on bravely to be beaten a length into second behind another import in Green Moon. Timeform gave Fiorente an annual rating of 123.

That run hatched an ambitious plan by his new trainer to try and capture the race that stops a nation the following year and end her unlucky run of minor placings in our richest test for stayers. Two trials at Randwick readied the entire for his return on April 27, 2013 and he ran a slashing third in the All Aged Stakes- Gr.1 (1400m), beaten 1.75 lengths by All Too Hard and with Rain Affair in second. Put away until mid-July, Fiorente had two trials at Randwick over 1400m, beating Carlton House in the first and then running second to that horse on August 2 before heading to Melbourne where he was beaten just 3.4 lengths by Atlantic Jewel when sixth in the Memsie Stakes-Gr.2 on a dead track on August 31.

Newspaper reports raved about Fiorente’s “electric turn of foot” when he scored his first Australian win in the Feehan (Dato Tan Chin Nam) next time out. He was worse than mid-field for jockey Nash Rawiller as they approached the turn and then widest into the straight as he set out after leader Spacecraft. The son of Monsun seemed to sprout wings in the Moonee Valley straight and grabbed the leader in the final strides, running 1:37.28 on the good track and with Lidari third in the field of 10.

“When was he going to win the race? It was devastating, I was very thrilled, I knew once he got over a mile he would get into his rhythm,” Waterhouse said after the Feehan. Rawiller said he was confidant a long way from home, “I gave them a bit of a start but I was able to keep him balanced, he is something pretty special.”

Two Gr.1 contests readied the horse for his main mission, and he was fourth of 16 in the Turnbull (2000m) behind Happy Trails and then third in the Cox Plate (2014) to Shamus Award and Happy Trails, beaten half a length on both occasions. With Damien Oliver on board Fiorente (55kg) was always travelling well in the Melbourne Cup and he took control in the long Flemington straight, holding off veteran stayer and 2011 Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux and Mount Athos to win by three-quarters of a length and with 2.25 lengths to third, running the 3200m in 3:20.30 on a good track. Gai Waterhouse, who said, “Fiorente is a dream come true for me,” became the first Australian woman to train a Cup winner after previously training three second placegetters in our major staying contest. Fiorente became only the fourth horse, after Empire Rose, Gold and Black and Carbine, to win the Cup after being second the previous year and he defeated a particularly strong field (13 Gr.1 winners) Given a break, Fiorente turned up with a second behind stable mate Glencadam Gold in a 1300m trial on January 31 and then put paid to Mourayan and Star Rolling in the St George (Peter Young) Stakes-Gr.2 (1800m) at Caulfield on February 22 before tackling the Australian Cup-Gr.1 (2000m) at Flemington on March 8. Fiorente, again partnered by Oliver, settled last behind frontrunner Shamus Award and with 2012 Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon tracking the leader. Green Moon wore down the Cox Plate winner in the straight, but had no answer for the late charge of Fiorente who went on to win this weight-for-age challenge by a half-length, with Foreteller third, the winning time 2:03.64 on a good track.

“I wanted to win this race and I knew I had the horse to do it. He just excites the crowd so much, he just knows where the winning post is, there was pressure the whole time, but he just keeps finding the line, he’s got this amazing will to win,” Waterhouse said. It’s a pleasure to train him and I feel so privileged to train such a lovely horse.”

Unplaced in the Ranvet at the end of March, Fiorente then faced a heavy track in the BMW-Gr.1 (2400m) on April 3, running two lengths third to Silent Achiever and Dundeel. It was his final start as he suffered a serious leg injury in the race and the decision was made to retire the horse, who had World Thoroughbred Rankings of 117 (2012) and 119 (2013) to stud. Fiorente’s sire Monsun, a son of German Triple Crown winner Königsstuhl and from Mosella by Surumu, died in 2012 and has left more than 100 stakes winners.

A multiple Champion Sire in Germany, his runners include Novellist (ex Night Lagoon by Lagunas) who broke the track record by two seconds when he won England’s weight-for-age championship, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes-Gr.1 (12f) at Royal Ascot in 2013 and now stands at Teruya Yoshida’s Shadai Stallion Station in Japan. Maxios (ex Moonlight’s Box by Nureyev), a halfbrother to Arc de Triomphe winner Bago and from the family of Danehill (USA), won the Prix du Moulin-Gr.1 (1600m) by five lengths in September 2013 and he also won the Prix d’Ispahan-Gr.1 (1850m) also at Longchamp in May that year. His Gr.1-winning fillies include Silasol (ex Stormina by Gulch), Estimate (ex Ebaziya by Darshaan) and the US Champion Turf Female of 2012, Stacelita (ex Soignee by Dashing Blade).

He is also sire of multiple Gr.1 winner in Europe and the US, 2005 German Horse of the Year and Breeders’ Cup Turf-Gr.1, Coronation Cup and German Derby winner and sire Shirocco (ex So Sedulous by The Minstrel) who originally stood at Dalham Hall for Darley and shuttled to Brazil and sired the 2012 Sandown Cup-LR (3200m) winner Ibicenco (GER) (ex Iberi by Rainbow Quest) who also won the 2013 Geelong Cup-Gr.3.

Another son is multiple Gr.1 winner and sire Manduro (ex Mandellicht by Be My Guest), rated the Best Horse in the 2007 World Thoroughbred Rankings and Champion Older Horse in Europe with a Timeform of 135 at five. He originally stood for Darley in UK but is now back in Germany at Gestut Schlenderhan and is the sire of Gai Waterhouse’s talented import Greatwood, recent winner of the Premier’s Cup-LR. Monsun’s other runners include German Derby winner and sire Samum (ex Sacarina by Old Vic) and his German Derby and French Oaks-winning sister Schiaparelli, German Oaks winners Salve Regina (another sister) and Amarette (ex Avocette by King’s Lake).

This branch of the Blandford male line started in Germany with Tamerlane’s son Dschingis Kan (ex Donna Diana by Neckar), a talented sprinter who also managed to run 1600m in winning the German 2000 Guineas. His son Königsstuhl became the first horse to win the German Three Year-Old Triple Crown and then went on to an outstanding stud career, being Champion Sire three times in an era when the dominant sire was Surumu (Monsun’s broodmare sire and a descendant of the Dark Ronald (Bay Ronald) male line).

Free of Northern Dancer, Raise a Native and Nasrullah blood, Monsun is a great-grandson of the July Stakes and St James’s Palace Stakes winner and 2000 Guineas runner-up Tamerlane (by the Coronation Cup winner Persian Gulf and from Eastern Empress by Nearco), himself a grandson of English Triple Crown winner Bahram (Blandford-Friar’s Daughter by Friar Marcus), a half-brother to Irish Derby winner and sire Dastur. Because of the war, Bahram was sold to the US in 1940 for £40,000 after a successful start to his stud career in the UK and was later sold on to Argentina in 1946 for $US130.000 and died there in 1956.

Bred by the Aga Khan III (grandfather of the present incumbent) and unbeaten in nine starts, Bahram, a bay with white star and strip, stood 16.2 hands and was a handsome fellow with a placid temperament who was lazy in his work at home and on the track, doing just enough to get the job done. He was the Champion British 2YO of 1934 when he capped his four-win season with success in the Gimcrack Stakes and then Middle Park Stakes and took the 2000 Guineas, Derby and St Leger the following year when his wins also included the St James’s Palace Stakes. His owner described him as “the horse of the century”. Because of his laziness on the gallops, his trainer Frank Butters said, “I never knew how good he was”.

Bahram retired to stud in Newmarket in 1936 and with just two crops racing was second leading sire in 1940 and then Leading Juvenile Sire in 1941 and his runners included 2000 Guineas winner and sire Big Game, Persian Gulf (who also left Derby winner Parthia) and St Leger winner Turkhan. The Aga Khan met with considerable criticism for selling all five of his Derby winners abroad including his three from the Blandford line (Bahram, Blenheim and the latter’s son Mahmoud). Luckily, this line, which had success in Australasia many decades ago, is now enjoying somewhat of a renaissance via Europe and Fiorente could do the same here.

New Zealand breeders will be well aware of a different branch of this line, that of Blenheim’s grandson Alycidon, whose son Alcimedes left such a big impression in the 1960s-70s with runners like Melbourne Cup winners Galilee and Silver Knight and other such as Divide and Rule and Prince Grant, while Sea Anchor, another from the same branch of this sire line, left Australian Horse of the Year Red Anchor. Another NZ champion sire of stayers, Zamazaan (Exbury) was also from the Blandford line, via Brantome, Vieux Manoir and Le Haar. Best remembered for ill-fated champion Beau Zam, he also left Caulfield Cup winners Affinity and Lord Reims and Sydney Cup winners Good Lord and Veloso.

A low profile descendant of Tamerlane called Lanesborough (IRE) (ex Fylgia by Felicitation) was imported to Tasmania in 1964 by the late Bert Wicks. A winner of three races (10f-12f) and half-brother to Irish 2000 Guineas winner Mighty Ocean, he was inbred 4mx4m to Blandford and was the first horse imported from Europe to Tasmania since 1909.

Lanesborough was lucky to survive the 1967 bushfires, which killed 62 people and destroyed the property near Hobart where he stood. He went on to become a great success story, leaving the 1970 Caulfield Cup winner Beer Street and 1972 Melbourne Cup winner Piping Lane, while a daughter Private Lane produced the Hong Kong International Vase winner Sunny Lane, and Beer Street sired the triple Gr.1 winner and sire Watney whose best runner Double Gin, a Gr.3 winner, was inbred to Beer Street and his sister Gin Lane (3x3). There is also significant inbreeding in Monsun’s pedigree as he carries the sister and brother Kaiserkrone and Kaiseradler (Nebelwurfer-Kaiserwude by Bubbles) 4x4, while his dam has Hyperion 4fx4m (via Suncourt and Aureole) and Ticino (sire of Neckar) 5fx5m.

Nebelwurfer, a German 2000 Guineas winner and that country’s Champion Older Male in 1949, is a great-grandson of Teddy and Monsun comes from family 8a, his sixth dam is English bred Morning Breeze (Cameronian-Dawn-Wind by Sunstar). This half-sister to the July Cup and National Stakes winner Tiffin (Tetratema) and the Victoria Cup winner Fonab (Abbotts Trace) established the family in Germany, and her daughter of 1949 Morchel (by Wilding, a grandson of Herold) is Monsun’s fifth dam.

Monsun’s dam Mosella was a Listed winner at 2100m in Germany and Monsun is the best of her six winners with 12 wins (two at two) from 2000m-2400m including the Cologne Preis von Europa-Gr.1 (twice) and the Aral Pokal-Gr.1. He was also runner-up in the Grosser Preis von Baden-Gr.1 and German Derby-Gr.1 and the second top rated three year-old in Germany in 1993. He was also runner-up in a Gr.2 in France. His second dam Monasia (by Italian Gr.1 winner Authi) was also a Listed winner (four wins 1300m-2200m) and produced three Listed winners from six foals (all winners).

Next dam Monacensia (Kaiseradler) had nine foals and all won including stakes winners Monazit and Monamira and she established a flourishing family with descendants including German 1000 Guineas winner Majoritat (Königsstuhl), German Derby runner-up Malinas (Lomitas), French Gr.2 winner Macleya (Winged Love), German Gr.1 winner Mystic Lips (Generous), Champion German 3YO Stayer Moonlady (Platini) and Japanese Gr.1 winner Eishin Flash (King’s Best).

Monsun was bred by Gestut Isarland and raced in the colours of Baron George von Ullmann before retiring to his owner’s stud Gestut Schlenderhan in 1996 where he was an immediate success. He led the German sires’ table in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006 and is also a champion sire of broodmares. A neurological condition meant he became blind in latter years and led to his death in September 2012. Monsun, who stood 16.2 hands, has been particularly successful with Northern Dancer line mares, Nijinsky and his close relative The Minstrel in particular, as well as Sadler’s Wells. He has also crossed well with the Mill Reef (Nasrullah) line. He has been successful with the family of Little Agnes (16c), good news for Australian breeders as its members include Zabeel and Carnegie (as well as Grey Dawn, Herbager and Slip Anchor) and has shown an affinity for the Native Dancer line, although from limited opportunity.

As mentioned earlier, Fiorente’s unraced dam Desert Bloom (family 5h) is inbred to Danzig. Her sire, the Japan Cup, Eclipse Stakes and Champion Stakes winner Pilsudski, is by triple Gr.1-winning miler Polish Precedent, a horse bred on the Danzig-Buckpasser cross (as is Danehill). Pilsudski’s dam Cocotte is by classic winner Troy (Petingo) and from Gay Milly (Mill Reef). Desert Bloom’s dam Desert Beauty, is by brilliant Danzig sprinter Green Desert (out of a mare by Sir Ivor) while her dam, the Yorkshire Oaks-Gr.1 winner and English St Leger runner-up and noted producer Hellenic, is by the Mill Reef grandson Darshaan.

Desert Beauty’s pedigree suggests Fiorente will be a good cross with mares featuring brothers Sadler’s Wells and Fairy King. (Further ammunition for this theory: Hellenic’s multiple Gr.1-winning daughter Islington is by Sadler’s Wells, as is her Gr.1-winning son Greek Dance, while her other Gr.1 winner, Mountain High, is by Danehill). There is further evidence to suggest this cross will work as Fiorente’s 10th dam is Carpet Slipper (Phalaris-Simon’s Shoes by Simon Square). She is a half-sister to Dalmary (Blandford), who is fifth dam of Sadler’s Wells and Fairy King and fourth dam of Nureyev. This family traces to Anne of the Forest (King Fergus), who also happens to be the taproot mare for Koniggstuhl, sire of Monsun.

In an era when breeders are looking for an alternative to the Danehill male line (and for a sire who should suit mares from the Danehill line) and when there is a renewed interest in stallions capable of getting classic and cup winners, Fiorente looks ideally placed to be a sire success here and revitalise a once-great male line.