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Stacelita - Prix de Diane - Chantilly 14.06.09

Stacelita runs away with the Prix de Diane to become the fourth Oaks winner by Germany's premier sire Monsun

  PICTURE: APRH 

Stacelita: Prix de
Diane win adds to Monsun's record

STACELITA: b f Monsun - Soigness (Dashing Blade)

AFTER several seasons when it seemed impossible to keep Monsun out of the news, the sire of Shirocco, Manduro and Schiaparelli had a surprisingly quiet time in 2008.

Four times champion sire in Germany, twice among the leaders in both France and Italy, and represented by top-level winners in Britain and North America as well, the Schlenderhan-based stallion had been acquiring a huge international reputation, and attracting mares from many notable European breeders.

When Getaway won the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes in good style at last year's Newmarket Guineas meeting, he promised to become the next big star, some bookmakers installing him as early favourite for the Arc. But in five subsequent efforts he could never replicate that form, and at the same time his sire's other representatives became less conspicuous.

In 2008 there were no Group 1 winners, and only Getaway managed to win in Group 2. His three-year-olds failed to muster a single Pattern success between them, and at the end of the season Monsun ranked only 17th on the sires' list in his own country. Nobody took much notice of the fact that his only juvenile starter in France made a winning debut over 1m1f at obscure Salon-de-Provence.

Start of something great

But that was a filly who this season has brought her sire back into prominence, remaining unbeaten while adding four more victories and impressing many observers as the best of her sex and age in Europe.

Jean-Claude Rouget brought Stacelita back in February in a no-account three-runner event at Toulouse, where a comfortable win provided no clues as to what she might become, but a month later, at Saint-Cloud, she made all in a Listed contest and went into many notebooks as a filly with a future.

A bout of coughing prevented an appearance for her next scheduled engagement in the Group 3 Prix Cleopatre, so more than two months elapsed before her return at the top level in the Prix Saint-Alary at Longchamp. She nevertheless went off as a warm favourite, assumed command from the start, burst clear with two furlongs left and came home an unchallenged winner by six lengths over Article Rare.

Visually it was a stunning performance, but there were still those who had doubts over the value of the form. The Saint-Alary had become a substandard affair in recent years, lacking true Group 1 quality, and not since 1999 had its winner gone on to triumph in the Prix de Diane. There would still be questions to answer when the Chantilly Classic came along.

On Sunday there was a further question, because Stacelita had to encounter faster ground than ever before, a fact which many thought might make her vulnerable in her toughest test to date, but she gave a display that effectively dispelled any notion that she might be just a mudlark.

This time she did not make the running, instead using the Wildenstein pacemaker rather better than Board Meeting, the intended beneficiary of Onega Lake's strong pace. It was always just a case of when Christophe Lemaire decided to press the button, and once Stacelita had bounded into a clear lead, it was obvious that no threat would emerge from the rear. Her stable companion Tamazirte, previously runner-up in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches, eventually asserted her superiority over the rest, but in truth this was a Classic that had never been a contest.

After five runs and five wins, without ever having been extended, Stacelita stands out among her contemporaries in France much as Zarkava did at this time a year ago. Could she be in the same class as the Aga Khan's 2008 Horse of the Year? Time will tell, but meanwhile it seems advisable not to bet against it.

A return to the spotlight for Germany's premier sire

Monsun is best known internationally for his top-class sons, but he has had his share of high-class daughters as well, and this was the fourth Oaks triumph they have recorded. In 2002 Guadaloupe won the Italian version three weeks before Salve Regina took the equivalent event in Germany. Amarette was another Preis der Diana heroine in 2004, and the favourite for that Classic this year seems likely to be Miss Europa, Monsun's recent winner of the recent Group 2 Diana Trial.

Monsun, who has been totally blind for several years, is now responsible for 34 individual winners of 73 European Pattern races, 21 of them at the top level. Stacelita comes from his tenth crop, which was conceived when his fee was €40,000, but the charge for his services has risen progressively since then to reach €150,000 in 2008, and this year there was no advertised fee, suggesting something higher still.

With higher fees come higher-quality mares, so it will be surprising and disappointing if Monsun's record does not improve significantly over the next few years. He is already the most successful German sire in the history of the European Pattern, and it is not long odds against his stock reaching the 100 mark in victories to join an elite group currently comprising only Sadler's Wells, Danehill, Nureyev, Habitat, Riverman, Danzig and Northern Dancer.

Immediate success for Soignee

Stacelita is the first foal of her dam, Soignee, who was a smart two-year-old, winning at Mulheim and Baden-Baden before a creditable effort as runner-up in the Group 3 Prix des Reservoirs at Deauville, beaten only half a length by Songerie. At three she was placed at Listed level in Dusseldorf before finishing down the field, with a career-ending injury, in the German 1,000 Guineas. She was promptly sent to Monsun, with Stacelita as the happy outcome.

The choice of Monsun as thefirst mate for Soignee was not difficult, because he had previously got a dual Group 2 winner in Simoun from Soignee's dam, Suivez, who was herself one of only eight foals sired by Fioravanti, a son of Northern Dancer who is, understandably, rarely encountered in pedigrees.

Winner of his first three races in Ireland, but subsequently successful only in three minor events in the States, Fioravanti was out of Pitasia, a dual Group 1 winner at two in the Prix Robert Papin and Criterium des Pouliches. Although his term at stud was brief, he was the sire of Wixon, the fastest French juvenile filly of 1992.

Another Schwarzgold triumph

Stacelita comes from an outstanding family, tracing to Schwarzgold, who is still regarded by many as the greatest horse ever bred in Germany. In 1940 she won the Preis von Diana by a distance and the Deutsches Derby by ten lengths, and later routed older horses by wide margins. She was unlucky at stud, producing only two foals, but through one of them, Schwarzblaurot, she became the ancestress of numerous celebrities, including Slip Anchor in Britain, Sagace in France and Steinlen in America.

And Stacelita is actually the second Oaks winner from her family in 2009. Schwarzgold is her eighth dam and the sixth dam of Buena Vista, who was successful in the Japanese version last month.

Bred by J-P Dubois in France.
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PEDIGREE ASSESSMENT

SIRE: MONSUN

Bred by Gestut Isarland. DM90,000 Baden-Baden yearling. Won 12 (8-12f) of 23 starts, viz. 2 out of 4 at 2 years, 6 (inc. Grosser Preis der Steigenberger Hotels-Gr3, Grosser Hertie Preis-Gr2, Aral Pokal-Gr1, Preis von Europa-Gr1) out of 8 at 3 years, 2 (Gerling Preis-Gr2, Preis von Europa-Gr1) out of 7 at 4 years, 2 (Gerling Preis-Gr2, Grosser Hansa Preis-Gr2) out of 4 at 5 years. RPR 111 at 3, 121 at 4, 120 at 5. Earned £692,955.

Strong, 16.1hh, attractive individual. High-class middle-distance performer, effective on top of the ground, but especially proficient on rain-affected surface. Habitually raced close to the pace. Very genuine and consistent.

Well-bred. A leading product of highly-successful cross of Konigsstuhl on Surumu, both multiple champion sires. Out of a Listed winner who was half-sister to 2 other Listed winners. Family of champion filly Majoritat, herself dam of 2004 Deutsches Derby runner-up Malinas.

Stands at Gestut Schlenderhan at a private fee. Sire of 11 crops of racing age, inc. notable winners: Network (Gr2), Samum (Deutsches Derby-Gr1, Grosser Preis von Baden-Gr1), Speedmaster (Gr2), Subiaco (Gr2), Noroit (Gr2), Simoun (Gr2),Guadalupe (Oaks d'Italia-Gr1), Salve Regina (Preis der Diana-Gr1), Aubonne (Gr3), Royal Fantasy (Gr2), Amarette (Preis der Diana-Gr1), Assiun (Gr3), Give Me Five (Gr3), Le Miracle (Prix du Cadran-Gr1), Noble Stella (Gr2), Shirocco (Deutsches Derby-Gr1, Gran Premio del Jockey Club-Gr1, Breeders' Cup Turf-Gr1, Coronation Cup-Gr1), Vallera (Gr3), Anna Monda (Premio Vittorio di Capua-Gr1), Arcadio (Gr2), Floriot (Premio Lydia Tesio-Gr1), Manduro (Prix d'Ispahan-Gr1, Prince of Wales's Stakes-Gr1, Prix Jacquesle Marois-Gr1), Royal Highness (Beverly D S.-Gr1), Sorrent (Gr3), Gentlewave (Derby Italiano-Gr1), Getaway (Gr2), Imonso (Gr3), Karavel (Gr3), La Boum (Gr3), Quelle Amore (Gr2), Schiaparelli (Deutsches Derby-Gr1, Deutschland Preis-Gr1, Preis von Europa-Gr1, Gran Premio del Jockey Club-Gr1), Axxos (Gr2), Mimetico (Gr3), Persian Storm (Gr3), Miss Europa (Gr2), Stacelita (Prix Saint-Alary-Gr1, Prix de Diane-Gr1).

DAM: SOIGNEE

Bred by Baron Georg von Ullmann. Won 2 of 5 races, viz. 2 (6.5f-7f) out of 3 at 2 years, 0 out of 2 at 3 years. Gr3-placed at 2, Listed-placed at 3. GAG rating 92 at 2, 82 at 3. Earned €34,000.

Well bred. Half-sister to dual Gr2 winner Simoun and Listed winner Soudaine (both by Monsun) and Listed winner Shining (by Surumu). By a high-class runner who has been a success at stud in Germany. Dam won 2 races, twice Listed-placed, out of a half-sister to Gr1 winner Steinlen and Gr2 winner Seurat. Same family branch as Zagreb (Irish Derby) and Super Celebre (2nd in Prix du Jockey-Club).

Traces to great German racemare Schwarzgold, also ancestress of Slip Anchor, Sagace, etc.

To stud at 3 years and dam of: Stacelita (2006 f by Monsun; dual Gr1 winner), unnamed (2007 f by Footstepsinthesand; unraced to date. She has a yearling filly by Shamardal.

CONCLUSIONS

Probably the best filly by her sire to date, and may well be the best of her age and sex in Europe. Seems certain to relish longer trips.

 

 

 

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