Following the running of Britain’s oldest classic, the Ladbrokes St Leger, being run last Saturday, focus fell firmly on the late, great stallion Montjeu.
His son Leading Light won the Leger, and gave his sire in the process his third winner of the race. (Montjeu’s sons Scorpion and Masked Marvel had previously won the race in 2005 and 2011 respectively).
Montjeu has a classic record second to none in recent years. Not only is he the sire of three St Leger winners, but his sons have the Investec Derby four times, the Irish Derby four times, and the Grand Prix de Paris twice.
In 2013, Montjeu’s progeny includes not only Leading Light, but also Chiquita, winner of the Irish Oaks.
Montjeu is the first horse since the mighty Blandford () to have sired four Epsom Derby winners. The list of races won by his progeny makes for fascinating reading: Epsom Derby (4 times), Irish Derby (4 times), 2000 Guineas, Irish Oaks, Canadian International (3 times), the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Stakes, Breeders Cup Turf, Dubai Sheema Classic, Irish St Leger, Prix Royal Oak, Melbourne Cup, Coronation Cup (5 times) and Racing Post Trophy (4 times).
Sire of 105 stakes winners, Montjeu’s progeny include no fewer than 28 Grade/Group One winners. His progeny have earned over $130 000 000 in prize money, and Montjeu is widely regarded as one of the best sires to have ever stood in Ireland.
His son Motivator is doing well at stud, and is the sire of this year’s sensation – Treve. Unbeaten in four starts, Treve stamped herself a leading contender for the 2013 Arc de Triomphe following her wins in both the G1 Prix de Diane and G1 Prix Vermeille.
South Africa have only one son of this racing legend standing at stud here. Stagelight, his sire’s very first classic winner, is currently standing at the Oldlands Stud – where he represents tremendous value at a fee of just
Stagelight was a very talented racehorse. He won three of his first four starts, including the Gr3 UAE 2000 Guineas.
When Stagelight won the Guineas, the colt accounted for some very talented colts, including the likes of Kandidate (3rd English 2000 Guineas), Becrux (Gr1 Atto Mile) and Tony James (Gp2 Gimcrack Stakes).
Unfortunately, Stagelight was injured subsequently, and was never the same horse.
He has plenty going for him in terms of pedigree. Not only is Stagelight is a classic winning son of Montjeu, but he is from a wonderful female line.
His dam Zivania, by Shergar’s half-brother Shernazar, was a smart stakes placed winner of four. Zivania has shone at stud, producing ten winners-of whom no fewer than seven are stakes horses.
Her stakes winners include the Group One juvenile Ivan Luis, whose 5 wins include the Gr2 Premio Ellington, classic filly Hathrah, and seven time stakes winner Zero Probleme.
Zivania is also the second dam of the top-class British gelding Distant Memories, winner of the G3 Winter Hill Stakes.
Zivania herself is a half-sister to four stakes winners, including the high-class mare Mahalia. The latter is dam of the top-class Montjeu filly Albisola (a three parts sister to Stagelight) and the second dam of the Group One winning miler Most Improved – who defeated some outstanding milers to win the 2012 St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Stagelight traces back directly to the great mare Gondolette, ancestress of such great stallions as Hyperion, Sir Tristram, Mossborough, Sickle and Pharamond II.
This is also the family of such champions as Big Game, Myrobella, and, closer to home, the champion local sprinter, What A Winter.
From very limited opportunities, Stagelight has produced his share of winners. From tiny crops to date, Stagelight has come up with two well above average fillies – Margot On Stage and Nonki Poo.
Margot On Stage, a multiple winner, was placed in two feature races, finishing second in the Swallow Stakes and third in the Gr3 Three Troikas Stakes.
Nonki Poo, who looked smart as a 3yo, was rated good enough to take her chance in the Gr1 Woolavington Stakes, where she took on the likes of Cherry On The Top and July placed, Do You Remember.
Considering the fact that Stagelight, a truly blooded stallion himself, has had just 16 runners to date from very ordinary mares, it is hard not to wonder what he could do when given better chances?