The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Ire-I) lost a star when dual English Classic winner Sea the Stars (IRE) bowed out due to expected soft ground conditions, but it launched a new one in Derrick Smith’s colt Fame and Glory (GB). Now the winner of five of six lifetime starts, the Investec Epsom Derby (Eng-I) runner-up turned in an impressive performance in the Irish premier Classic, sailing home by five lengths over a yielding course.
Sea the Stars’ connections may have been wise to skip a confrontation over ground heavier than their colt prefers, for Fame and Glory had (and has) the pedigree as well as the past performances to suggest that more testing going might well tip the scales in his favor. Bred by Ptarmigan Bloodstock and Miss K. Rausing, the colt is a son of Montjeu (IRE), who won the Budweiser Irish Derby in 1999 and has two previous Irish Derby winners to his credit in Hurricane Run (IRE) (2005) and Frozen Fire (GER) (2008). Montjeu is also the sire of Vodafone Epsom Derby winners Motivator (GB) (2005) and Authorized (IRE) (2007).
Montjeu, who also won the 1999 Emirates Airlines Prix du Jockey Club and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Lucien Barriere (both Fr-I), had a notable liking for soft to heavy going. This has not been an uncommon trait for the progeny of European supersire Sadler’s Wells, which have generally preferred ground with a bit of give to it. While Sadler’s Wells himself got his only Classic score in the two-mile Airlie Coolmore Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I), he was beaten only a neck by Darshaan (GB) for the Prix du Jockey Club, then at 2,400 meters (about 1 1/2 miles), and he has excelled above all as a sire of the European middle-distance horse. In Montjeu’s case, he received a double dose of stamina thanks to his dam, the group III-winning Top Ville (IRE) mare Floripedes, who was a runner-up in the testing Prix Royal-Oak (Fr-I) against males.
Second on the 2008 European general sire list, Montjeu has ranked among the top five sires in Europe the four previous years and appears to be going neck and neck with Galileo (IRE) for the title of Sadler’s Wells’ best sire son in Europe. Now 13 years old, the stallion stands at Coolmore Stud in County Tipperary, Ireland.
Gryada (GB), dam of Fame and Glory, was not so distinguished as Montjeu on the race course, earning her only black type with a third-place finish in the 1995 Premio Dormello (Ity-III). Her best runner from seven previous foals has been Grampian (GB), a multiple stakes-placed winner by Selkirk. Like Montjeu, however, she does have strong Classic connections: her sire, Shirley Heights (GB), won the 1978 Epsom and Irish Sweeps Derbies.
If further proof were needed of the increasing importance of German bloodlines to European breeding following this year’s conquests by Sea the Stars, Stacelita (FR), and Le Havre (IRE) (see: Emergent German Thoroughbred Bloodlines), Fame and Glory has supplied it, for Gryada is out of German-bred Grimpola (GER). In a rare reversal of the usual pattern, however, Grimpola may be supplying more speed than stamina to Fame and Glory’s pedigree. While she was adept enough at middle distances to run third in the 1985 Preis der Diana (Ger-II) over 2,200 meters (about 11 furlongs), Grimpola ran her best race in the shorter ARAG Schwarzgold Rennen (German Ger-II). Though her daughter Gonfalon (GB) (by Shirley Heights’ son Slip Anchor (GB)), Grimpola is also the granddam of the high-class Lando (GER) mare Gonbarda (GER), whose victories include the 2005 IVG Preis Von Europa (Ger-I).
Grimpola was sired by Windwurf (GER), a Horse of the Year and multiple champion in his native land. A good stallion who reached as high as second on the German general sire list, Windwurf was by four-time champion German sire Kaiseradler (GER), who descended from a branch of the Teddy male line via Marcel Boussac’s great sire Asterus (FR) and his German-bred son Magnat (GER).
Grimpola was much the best runner produced by her dam Gondel (GER), a daughter of the 1964 Deutches Derby winner Zank and the Birkhahn (GER) mare Goldhanne (GER). As Windwurf was also produced from a Birkhahn mare, Grimpola is inbred 3 x 3 to Birkhahn, a horse whose career as a champion racehorse and sire in Germany spanned both sides of the Iron Curtain. Grimpola is also inbred 4 x 3 to the high-class Neckar (GER), five times the leading German sire and five times the leading German broodmare sire.
Fame and Glory is the latest top runner produced by crossing the bloodlines of Sadler’s Wells and Mill Reef, which automatically duplicates the mare Lalun (dam of Bold Reason, broodmare sire of Sadler’s Wells, and Never Bend, sire of Mill Reef). To date, there have been at least 85 graded/group stakes winners with pedigrees combining the two stallions, headed by multiple champion High Chaparral (IRE). Eight of these runners have been sired by Montjeu; besides Fame and Glory, they include 2006 Prix Royal-Oak (Fr-I) winner Montare (IRE) and 2009 David Jones AJC Australian Derby (Aus-I) winner Roman Emperor (NZ). The latter horse carries an additional cross of Bold Reason through his New Zealand-based son Sound Reason. Since the duplications of Lalun are now typically in the neighborhood of 5 x 5 or 5 x 6, the amount of credit that goes to her for the class of these relatively distant descendants is open to question, but she certainly isn’t hurting them.