I don’t know if you’ve ever watched “Connections” by James Burke, based on his popular series of articles which appeared among others in the leading American publication Scientific American, but it’s a great show. The inquisitive and erudite Burke starts with a particular scientific subject of interest, then proceeds by smaller or greater leaps of logic on to another, then another, working his way through many connected subjects until he arrives right back where he started. The connection from one subject to the next can be solid or it can be very quirky, any connection will do. Sort of like six degrees of separation, but much more complicated.
Anyway, watching Dylan Thomas cap a fine season with his Arc win, and hearing the commentator recount jockey Kieren Fallon’s assessment of the son of Danehill as by far the best horse he’d ever ridden, set me thinking about his connection to Manduro, the recently retired German wonder horse.
One swallow doesn’t make a summer, but the only time they met, in the Prince of Wales’s Gr1 at Ascot over 10f in June , Manduro won decisively with multiple Gr1 winner Notnowcato well beaten off. Manduro, a son of the great German sire Monsun, has had a stellar 2007, being undefeated in five starts, a Gr3, then three of the world’s top Gr1’s (Prix d’lspahan, Prince of Wales’s S, Prix Jacques le Marois) and then finally the time-honoured Prix Foy Gr2, in which he suffered a career ending injury. Switched from 9f to 10f back to 1600m then up to the classic 2400m, he met every challenge, repelling the opposition with his fluent stride, opposition that included the mighty Dylan Thomas. Surely Manduro is the best racehorse the world has seen since - say Dancing Brave, or maybe even longer. His sire Monsun has established himself as a real force in international breeding, with a long list of topliners including recent Prix du Cadran winner Le Miracle, Schiaparelli Royal, Highness Shirocco etc.
Monsun, as you would expect has one of the highest APEX ratings of any stallion in Germany. In fact you would expect him to be on top, but although he’s a fine second with an A rating of 3.49, it’s Darley’s Tiger Hill (also by Danehill)who is on top with 3.94. Although he has only 165 year starters compared to Monsun’s 530 it’s a clear pointer to the merit of Tiger Hill, who has sired 29 stakes horses from just 146 starters.
So now I have to put on my James Burke hat and work out how to get back to Dylan Thomas, the aforementioned son of Danehill. Well, as it happens Tiger Hill is a son of none other than, you guessed it, Danehill, the best sire of sires since his own grandsire Northern Dancer, which augurs well for the future stud career of Dylan Thomas … . . which is were we came in.
Extract by Andrew Richard from Stallions Daily Bulletin 12.10.07