Why everything looks in place for Ocovango to excel as a jumps sire
Adam Potts profiles The Beeches Stud's promising young son of Monsun
A sire who posted some notable early results with his progeny is Ocovango – standing for €4,500 at The Beeches Stud. In fact, his first runner over jumps, Langer Dan, is already a stakes winner.
Despite his National Hunt pedigree, Langer Dan was sent juvenile hurdling at three by trainer Dan Skelton and overcame inexperience against ex-Flat rivals to win his first two starts. That included the Listed Wensleydale Juvenile Hurdle, where he showed a good turn of foot. His last run this season came when beaten just over four lengths into sixth behind Aramax [Maxios] in the Grade 3 Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
The future looks bright for Ocovango as a sire in the point-to-point scene, too.
Colin Bowe's Glenglass, a €42,000 Derby Sale purchase, looked a top prospect when producing a resolute win at Tallow (pictured). Bowe holds him in high regard, describing him as a horse with "tonnes of raw ability". The market spoke similarly highly, with Aidan O'Ryan and Gordon Elliott stretching to £155,000 to secure the gelding at the Tattersalls Cheltenham February Sale.
At the same sale, the runner-up in the race, Poppa Poutine, sold for £100,000 to Ian Ferguson and the third, Bebravefortoday, realised £82,000 to Select Racing and Tim Vaughan.
Trained by Andre Fabre for Prince Faisal, Ocovango won his only start at two over a mile on testing ground. Put away for a Classic campaign, he won on his seasonal reappearance in the Listed Prix Francois Mathet and cemented his Derby credentials with a win in the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe over ten furlongs.
He arrived at Epsom unbeaten and one of the leading fancies, his reputation further enhanced by Fabre's record with his select number of overseas runners. In the end he was fifth, beaten just two lengths by Ruler Of The World, and appeared value for more than his finishing position, meeting with interference just as the race was taking shape.
He earned a Racing Post Rating of 117 for that effort and confirmed his class later that season when he got to within three-quarters of a length of Ruler Of The World with the pair second and third in the Prix Niel, having finished a gallant third to Flintshire in the Grand Prix de Paris in the interim.
A fluent traveller who stayed well, Ocovango is by the influential German stallion Monsun. His superior sons have been highly sought after by National Hunt stallion masters for quite some time.
After posting incredible stats from small numbers, Monsun grew to become a potent source of top-class middle-distance performers. They include Manduro, the world champion racehorse of 2007.
Monsun also sired the likes of Maxios (sire of the aforementioned Aramax and a new recruit to the National Hunt ranks) and Getaway – at present one of the most in-demand sires thanks to his stream of classy hurdlers and chasers.
A stallion who far and away exceeded expectations at stud, Monsun is a valuable outcross as he is free of Northern Dancer blood.
Ocovango, from the successful 'Crystal' family, is out of a daughter of Fillies' Mile winner and Irish 1,000 Guineas-placed Crystal Music. He is a suitable outcross for Sadler's Wells line mares, as he is free of Northern Dancer until the fourth generation.
Ocovango has received sustained support from breeders with three-figure books, and there are some high-priced stores yet to make their debut. They include Prize Fighter, a three-parts brother to Getabird who made €75,000 at last year's Derby Sale when bought by Aiden Murphy and MV Magnier.
There are also ample point-to-point handlers, including Colin Bowe and the Monbeg Stables operation, who have progeny yet to run. This could well lead to another high-profile transaction.
With all this in mind, there is plenty to come from the promising sire.
Courtesy of RacingPost.com, April 10th