Monroe still making a mark at mares’ sale


More than a thousand horses, the majority fillies and mares, have been catalogued to go through Tattersalls’ ring at the December Sale over the four days from the 4th to the 7th of the month. Most are either broodmares already or will be bought with a future breeding career in mind. This year’s sale features the remaining fillies and mares from the dispersal of the Ballymacoll bloodstock, as well as Group 1-winning sprinters Marsha and Quiet Reflection and Royal Ascot two-year-old winner Different League.

The pedigrees on the catalogue pages are there to help sell the broodmares of the future, but they’re also an informative summary of the stud careers of broodmares of the past. In most cases, those pedigrees go back as far as the third dam or, where space permits, ‘the next dam’.

A trawl through the 2017 December Sale catalogue reveals that only 21 mares who appear somewhere on the bottom line of those pedigrees can boast a dozen or more winners at stud.

The most number of winners produced by any broodmare in the catalogue is 14, a score reached only by the trio of Fanfreluche, Welsh Garden and Monroe.

Fanfreluche was champion three-year-old filly in Canada and (jointly) the USA in 1970, her big win south of the border coming in the Alabama Stakes at Saratoga. Fanfreluche’s 14 winners came from 16 runners and 18 foals of racing age. They included La Voyageuse, L’Enjoleur and Medaille d’Or who were all champions in Canada in one category or another. Fanfreluche’s unraced daughter L’On Vite became dam of the Phoenix Stakes and Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winner Holy Roman Emperor. Fanfreluche is represented in the catalogue by lot 2060 Doctor Serena, a twice-raced four-year-old great granddaughter by Cape Blanco who’s a half-sister to the Craven Stakes runner-up Dancing David.

Welsh Garden was also a champion filly, as a two-year-old in Ireland in 1975. She won her last five races that year, though an aversion to starting stalls meant she had to race at Ireland’s smaller tracks where stalls had not yet come into use. All 14 of Welsh Garden’s runners were winners, from a total of 15 foals that she produced. The only one of those winners to squeeze onto the bottom of the page in the pedigree in which she appears is Molesnes, winner of the Prix du Cadran. This is lot 1677, the twelve-year-old mare Kirkinola, a French listed winner by Selkirk, who has produced three winners to date. Welsh Garden is Kirkinola’s fourth dam. Kirkinola is out of the Cherry Hinton Stakes winner Spinola and a half-sister to Dorcia, winner of this year’s Stockholm Cup International.

Monroe wasn’t a champion, but like the other two prolific broodmares, she had plenty of ability. A $300,000 yearling purchase by Robert Sangster and trained by Vincent O’Brien, Monroe was by Derby winner Sir Ivor but was all speed; at two she was second in the Phoenix Stakes, while her biggest win came as a three-year-old in the Group 3 Ballyogan Stakes at Leopardstown over five furlongs.

Monroe was bred to be above average – her brothers Gielgud and Malinowski won the Champagne Stakes and Craven Stakes respectively – and, as a daughter of Best In Show, she was bred to excel at stud too, her dam also producing those other fine broodmares Sex Appeal (dam of El Gran Senor and Try My Best), Blush With Pride (grandam of Belmont Stakes winners Jazil and Rags To Riches) and Minnie Hauk, ancestress of several top winners in the Niarchos colours, including Irish 2000 Guineas and Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Spinning World.

Monroe’s 14 winners came from 18 foals of whom 17 raced. A couple of her foals, Masterclass and Diese, were Group 3 winners in France, but the pick of her offspring was Xaar, Europe’s top two-year-old of 1997, when his wins included Prix de la Salamandre and the Dewhurst Stakes, races also won by his sire Zafonic for Xaar’s owner and trainer Khalid Abdullah and Andre Fabre.

As a foundation mare for the Juddmonte operation, Monroe is present in the pedigrees of other top winners in the Abdullah colours. Senure, a son of Diese, won the United Nations Handicap and Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship, while Xaar’s sister Silver Star became grandam of the champion US older filly Close Hatches whose sister Lockdown finished third in this year’s Kentucky Oaks.

Half-brothers Bated Breath (now a good young sire for Juddmonte) and Cityscape, one a top sprinter and the other a top miler, also trace back to Monroe who is their great great grandam. Their dam Tantina is also the grandam of Suffused, the 2016 E. P. Taylor Stakes runner-up who won a couple of Grade 3 contests at Gulfstream Park early in 2017.

Monroe’s descendants have proliferated to the extent that she has three great granddaughters in the 2017 December Sale, none of them in Juddmonte ownership. Lot 1562 is the unraced eight-year-old Dansili mare Adjudicate. She’s a sister to the Australian Group 2 winner Permit and out of a half-sister to Senure. Also unraced, lot 1952 is Pitch, a five-year-old daughter of Montjeu, she too out of a half-sister to Senure. Not long after her in the ring will be Sepal (pictured below), lot 1960, a four-year-old filly in training by Afleet Alex who’s a granddaughter of Silver Star. Sepal ran up a quick four-timer in handicaps in the north of England and Scotland in August and September at up to a mile and three quarters.



Images: Tattersalls sales pavilion –, Sepal – Ayr racecourse