Becker backs Swiss connection

Mike Becker has seen the Independent Stallions roster evolve over the last decade but one thing that’s remained constant is Brief Truce.  He’s been an ever-present at the Victorian stud since 2000.

Brief Truce was a G1 winner of the St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot before Bob and Jack Ingham shuttled him to Woodlands Stud in the latter half of the 1990s.  He averaged a 100 mares in his first four southern seasons but his fifth book numbered just 43 mares.

Apart from Listed Rosehill winner Brief Kiss and a promising young colt named Diatribe, he was considered a failure Down Under and was sold to Gestut Sohrenhof in Switzerland .  But Becker wasn’t so sure.  He tracked the horse down and brought him back to stand at Independent Stallions.

Brief Truce returned in August 2000 and within a month or two his stocks were soaring.  Diatribe captured the G1 Caulfield Cup and So Gorgeous grabbed a G2 double in the VRC Edward Manifold Stakes and Ascot Vale Stakes.

And, on the day Woodlands homebred Lovelorn won the G1 VRC Oaks at Flemington, a Brief Truce filly named True Jewels came out and won the Listed VRC Honda Civic Stakes on debut.  She went on and claimed her own Group 1 in the Blue Diamond the following February.

Brief Truce was back in favour and back averaging 100 mares a season.  Nowadays, he is rising 21 and covers limited books but the quality still shines through.  His latest crop of juveniles includes Lauriston Park gelding General Truce who was a G3 winner of the VRC Maribyrnong Plate.

The Swiss connection is also paying dividends for Independent Stallion sire Denon.  His filly My Mary won the Swiss 1000 Guineas last month to consolidate his position among the leading sires in Europe this year.

My Mary (3f Denon – Massaya by Melmac) hails from the family of Epervier Bleu (Saint Cyrien), a G1 winner of the Prix Lupin at Longchamp and Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.

“I purchased Denon with Paolo Crespi of Allevamento di Besnate stud and he still shuttles between Italy and Australia,” Becker said this week.  “He has built a very high strike-rate in Europe and is currently fourth leading sire in the winners-to-runners category this year.”

Denon’s flag-bearer in Europe is Il Fenomeno who led all the way for a one length victory in the G3 Premio Carlo D’alessio in Rome last month.  He has now won 5 races including the Listed Corsa dell’Arno in Florence and Listed Premio Mella in Milan.  

Denon’s first Australian stakes winner arrived earlier this season courtesy of the Darren Weir trained gelding  Keep Control.  He was a Listed winner of the Hill-Smith Stakes (1800m) at Morphettville.  

Denon’s latest Australian winner Folichonne saluted at Muswellbrook on Monday for Scone trainer Paul Messara.  She had been placed at her first three starts around the Victorian provincials late last year before striking severe interference in a race won by Sienna Sunrise at Moonee Valley in January.

Folichonne (3f Denon – Belle Frimousse by Urgent Request) is a homebred for Maurice Messara who races under the Boomerang Breeding banner.  He transferred the filly from Greg Eurell’s Cranbourne stables to his grandson earlier this year along with star sprinter Mic Mac.

Folichonne was a convincing winner of the MRC Function Centre Hcp (1280m) at Muswellbrook and, although it was only a maiden, Paul Messara is confident there are more wins in store.  “I’ve only had her since April but she impressed me,” he explained.  “She was posted wide but had them covered a long way from the finish.”

Maurice Messara bred the Denon filly from his Sandown winner Belle Frimousse.  The mare is from the immediately family of Mic Mac (Statue of Liberty) who came within a nose and a short-head of winning the G1 Stradbroke Hcp a fortnight ago.

Denon is Australia’s only son of Kentucky Derby winner Pleasant Colony.  He was bred by the Niarchos family and was a Group 1 winner of the Hollywood Derby, Charles Whittingham Hcp and Manhattan Hcp.  

His dam Aviance (Northfields) was a G1 winner of the Phoenix Stakes in Ireland and she hails from a family of bluebloods including champion sire Redoute’s Choice.

Denon stands for a fee of $11,000 (inc gst) and has averaged 100 mares in four seasons at Independent Stallions apart from the E.I. year in 2007.

He will be joined by G1 sprinter US Ranger (USA) this year.  US Ranger was unbeaten in three races in France as a juvenile including the G3 Prix Djebel and he is one of the last sons of legendary sire Danzig to retire to stud.  

US Ranger has just finished covering his first northern book at Pauls Mill Stud in Kentucky.  He will replace G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Artie Schiller who will remain at Pauls Mill this year before returning to Independent Stallions in 2011.