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Fiorente breakthrough could spark staying resurrection

5 min read
Could Sun Stud's Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente (Ire) drive a resurrection in Australian-bred stayers?

Monsun (Ger) has written himself into Melbourne Cup history as the sire of three of the past five winners and Sun Stud's Mark Lindsay believes his bloodlines can reinvigorate the staying breed in Australia in the coming years.

Monsun's 2013 Cup winner Fiorente, who stands at Sun Stud in Victoria, marked a milestone of his own on Saturday as Stars Of Carrum became his first stakes winner in the G2 Drummond Golf Vase at Moonee Valley.

Lindsay, Sun Stud's Senior Sales and Nominations Manager told TDN AusNZ that the win was a huge boost for Fiorente, with Stars Of Carrum being part of his first crop.

"It was what we hoped would happen. We thought with the breed, and the Monsun line, it was going to happen once we got runners near to 2000m. It was the best thing possible, timing wise," he said.

"It's basically getting them to a distance where we always knew they were going to be suited. The Monsun line is such a dominant staying line in Europe, and we’ve seen them win Melbourne Cups. It was just a case of lack of opportunity down here for horses who are looking to get out towards 2000m as a 3-year old."

"It was what we hoped would happen. We thought with the breed, and the Monsun line, it was going to happen once we got runners near to 2000m. It was the best thing possible, timing wise." - Mark Lindsay

In an industry focussed on speed and precocity, Sun Stud has felt the pressure with Fiorente, who was sharp enough to win a G2 Dato Tan Chin Nam S (1600m) and finished second in a Cox Plate but was always expected to be a sire of stayers.

That meant while other first-season sires were writing themselves up in lights with 2-year-old winners last season, Fiorente, had to be content with one success from just 13 starters, the Darren Weir-trained Hawkshot.

Lindsay said that the depth of 3-year-old staying races up until this point had made it difficult for Fiorente's progeny to make an impact until recently, but three winners in two weeks has given the stallion a timely boost.

"When you are standing those sort of sires, there are very few 2-year old races at a mile and above and then as a 3-year old, you've only got 10 or so races before Christmas where you can run over 2000m and further," he said,

"Trying to sell the story in the past two years hasn’t been easy, because people might say they expect them to take time, but they aren’t as patient as they say they are when they set out on their adventure to breed one."

Fiorente

Excited for the future

But far from disheartened by the temperature of the marketplace, Lindsay is excited about the prospect of Fiorente's first crop heading towards the feature three-year-old staying races over the next nine months.

He is confident that Fiorente, with those Monsun bloodlines, could form a significant part of the project to resurrect the Australian-bred stayer.

"The idea of Monsun blood coming out to Australia, I think is the catalyst for the resurrection for breeding staying horses." - Mark Lindsay

"That's what is so exciting about it. If Australia can start to progress into the idea of breeding a stayer again. Anybody who says we can’t breed a stayer in Australia is wrong, it is just that we haven’t had the right approach," he said.

"The idea of Monsun blood coming out to Australia, I think is the catalyst for the resurrection for breeding staying horses."

Standing a Cup winner

Fiorente is the only son of Monsun standing in Australia at the moment, with Vadamos (Fr) standing at Rich Hill Stud in New Zealand. His other Melbourne Cup winning stallion, Protectionist (Ger), stands at Gestut Rottgen in Germany.

Americain (USA), the son of Dynaformer, (USA) currently at Swettenham Stud, is the only other Melbourne Cup winner at stud in Australia, with 2009 winner Shocking (Street Cry {Ire}) at Rich Hill as well.

Watch: Fiorente winning the 2013 Melbourne Cup

Lindsay said despite the Cup's rich sporting and cultural history, it was hard to market a winner of the famous race, even one with the profile of Fiorente, as a stallion in the current market.

"Australia has had this whole perception that Melbourne Cup winners don’t work at stud. The only reason for that is that we can't get that zippy, fast 2-year old that people are fascinated with," he said.

"Australia has had this whole perception that Melbourne Cup winners don’t work at stud." - Mark Lindsay

"You have a horse like him, whose progeny have got next to no opportunity of getting a profile unless you win like we did the other day, because of the way our races are programmed."

"But there is hope there that the industry can focus on diversifying, not just on two-year-old speed."

Double chance in Derby

That's what makes Saturday's win by Stars Of Carrum so significant. He now heads to one of the feature races of the spring, the Group 1 Victoria Derby, along with another of Fiorente's first crop, the Robbie Griffiths-trained Alessandro, a recent winner against the older horses at Cranbourne.

"Yesterday was a bit of a jackpot for us, with the Derby following the week after. If Alessandro and Stars of Carrum can be there, that'd be pretty good. We’ve sold the story and sold what we need to." Lindsay said.

Stars of Carrum was bred by Sun Stud out of the mare Signoret (Anabaa {USA}) and sold to Robbie Laing for $75,000 at the 2017 Premier Sale. Signoret was a winner of seven races and is out of the G2 winning mare Jameela (Jeune {GB}).

She has a 2-year-old colt by Fighting Sun currently in training with Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra, while she missed the following two seasons. She is confirmed in foal to Sun Stud's Palentino.

Stars Of Carrum as a yearling