Click above to watch Montjeu winning the
2000 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (G1)
(Image : The Guardian - Footage : Sachahuista)
Sadler’s Wells (USA) - Floripedes (FR)
1996 - 2012
Montjeu (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells - Floripedes, by Top Ville), a champion on the racecourse who went on to become an influential stallion, died Thursday morning at Coolmore Stud following a short illness due to complications from septicaemia. He was 16.
Bred by the late Sir James Goldsmith, campaigned by Michael Tabor and trained by John Hammond, the bay captured the G1 Prix du Jockey Club, G1 Irish Derby and G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe during his 3-year-old campaign in 1999. He added a facile score in the G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at four, and retired to Coolmore with a record of 11 wins from 16 starts. From his first crop, Montjeu sired G1 Epsom Derby hero Motivator (GB) and G1 Irish Derby hero Hurricane Run (Ire). He has since sired two other winners of the Epsom Classic in Authorized (Ire) and Pour Moi (Ire), and was represented in 2011 by GI Breeders’ Cup Turf hero St Nicholas Abbey (Ire).
Taken to Ascot for his crowning moment in the G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes in July 2000, Montjeu put up arguably his greatest performance - and visually his most stunning - when winning unextended and doing what Mick Kinane classed as ‘three-quarters’ speed.” His unextended 1 3/4-length defeat of Fantastic Light (Rahy), who would lower the colors of Galileo (Ire) a year later, in the 50th renewal of that midsummer feature, was a rare moment for the turfistes. For Kinane, the feel the great horse gave him that sun-kissed afternoon left him in no doubt as to his standing among the best he had ridden. “He knows how good he is,” he commented at the time. “That’s why he comes at them with such power. I would have liked to have held on to him a bit longer, but a furlong and a half out he just wanted them and I had to let him go.”
His faithful and adoring lad Didier Follop - who often had to ride Montjeu into the paddock before his races - and his understated but shrewd trainer John Hammond took care of nurturing his quirks and mighty ego, while his pilots Cash Asmussen and Mick Kinane imparted more than a share of their justified self-belief in the saddle. Together, they brought a brilliant talent to its peak and were touched by magic as a result.
“He was a really outstanding racehorse - one of the few outstanding racehorses I’ve ridden,” Kinane told PA Sport. “That King George win was pretty good all right. He treated them with contempt that day and it was just a privilege to be on board. He had some other good performances in the Irish Derby and the Arc, and he’s obviously going to be sadly missed. He had an aura about him and a few issues, and the great horses he’s sired have all had that as well - that’s what’s made them great. His fillies have been much better of late as well and I think he’s going to end up being an outstanding broodmare stallion. He’s going to leave a big hole in racing.”
“It’s really sad news,” Hammond told PA Sport. “He provided us with some magic moments. I was just very fortunate that he turned up at our place. The two days that stick out are obviously his wins in the King George and the Arc. He was fairly amazing at Ascot and the Arc win was special because I didn’t think he was going to win when the other horse got away from us. I think he showed his brilliance at Ascot and his courage at Longchamp. If he was a human being I’d describe him as an eccentric genius.”
When Montjeu entered stud in 2001, the jury was still out as to whether the all-conquering Sadler’s Wells would have a son that could approach his sire’s achievements in the breeding shed. However, his first crop indicated that Montjeu would be a force to be reckoned with. Motivator, hero of the G1 Racing Post Trophy at two, added the G1 Epsom Derby in 2005. Hurricane Run (Ire) captured the G1 Irish Derby and G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe that season, while Scorpion (Ire) added victories in the G1 Grand Prix de Paris and G1 St Leger Stakes. Two years later, Authorized (Ire) also completed the Racing Post Trophy / Epsom Derby double. Fame and Glory (GB), hero of the G1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud in 2008, went on to capture the Irish Derby the following year, the G1 Coronation Cup at four, and added the G1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last season for good measure. St Nicholas Abbey, winner of the Racing Post Trophy in 2009, missed out on the major races as a 3-year-old, but returned at four in 2011 to secure the Coronation Cup and the Breeders’ Cup Turf. French-based Pour Moi (Ire) came with a furious late rush to take Epsom honors last June in what would be his final career start, and will now attempt to take his sire’s place at Coolmore. Montjeu was represented by another Racing Post Trophy winner last season in Camelot (Ire), and that colt is the current favorite for the June Classic at Epsom.
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News