Danzig (by Northern Dancer) was one of the world's greatest stallions and his powerful dynasty has been maintained in Europe through two of his most successful sons: Green Desert and Danehill. The latter, a multiple champion sire for Coolmore Stud, became one of the world's most influential sires of successful stallions, and his lengthy roll of honour includes Danehill Dancer.
A juvenile Group 1 scorer who is now in retirement at Coolmore, Danehill Dancer has long been a leading sire of juveniles, milers, classic stars and middle-distance horses, and he is now emerging as both an important broodmare sire and as a source of good stallions. Choisir, Mastercraftsman, Monsieur Bond and Silent Times are among his sons with at least two top-level winners to their name at stud, and this year Fast Company made a breakthrough at the top with classic success for his daughter Jet Setting.
On Thursday evening, another son of Danehill Dancer became a Group 1 sire, as Air Chief Marshal's second-crop son Mont Ormel sprang a surprise in the Group 1 Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris over 12 furlongs at Chantilly. One of only two stakes winners among four blacktype horses for the Haras de la Cauviniere stallion, the Pia Brandt-trained colt has now all but guaranteed that he too will get his chance at stud some day.
Air Chief Marshal was bred by Barronstown Stud, he was trained by Aidan O'Brien, and he was placed in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes, Group 3 Round Tower Stakes and Listed Marble Hill Stakes as a juvenile. At three he won the Group 3 Minstrel Stakes over seven furlongs at the Curragh, he finished third in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes over the same trip at Tipperary, and the following year he covered 120 mares in his first season at stud.
Bred by Franklin Finance S.A., the colt won over seven furlongs as a juvenile, kicked off his current campaign with third place behind the subsequently dual classic-placed colt Dicton in a mile listed contest at Saint-Cloud, and although beaten on his next two starts, ran away with a 10-furlong listed contest on heavy ground at Compiegne last month. The one who chased him home on Thursday was Red Verdon, the colt who finished fourth in the Group 1 Irish Derby on his previous start.
Mont Ormel is the third foal out of Lidana (by King's Best), a seven-furlong Dundalk winner, who was placed over 10 and a half furlongs at the same venue. Her first two produce are the multiple scorers Lillebonne (by Danehill Dancer) and La Pyle (by Le Havre), both fillies, her two-year-old, also female, has been named Normandel (by Le Havre) and her yearling is a second-crop daughter of leading French freshman sire Rajsaman (by Linamix), another member of the Haras de la Cauviniere team.
Lidana was bred by the Aga Khan and she is out of Lidakiya (by Kahyasi), a lightly-raced filly who won three times over middle-distances for the Sir Michael Stoute stable, but finished last of 12 in her only attempt in blacktype company. Like her daughter, however, she is also the dam of a Group 1 star because her top son is the prolific Linngari (by Indian Ridge).
Six of his 11 wins came in pattern company, including the Group 1 Premio Vittorio di Capua over a mile at San Siro and the Group 1 Grosser Dallmayr Preis Bayerisches Zuchtrennen over 10 furlongs at Munich. He won back-to-back editions of the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort over a mile at Nad Al Sheba, he won the Group 2 Goldene Peitsche over six furlongs at Baden-Baden, and the final two starts of this millionaire's shining career resulted in third place finishes in the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Newmarket and Group 1 Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin. His stud career has not yet been as successful as might have been hoped, but his progeny do include this year's Group 1-placed Group 2 Prix d'Harcourt winner Garlingari.
The third dam of Mont Ormel is Lilissa (by Doyoun), whose string of successful runners includes the Group 3-placed filly Liska (by Bigstone) and the prolific Livadiya (by Shernazar). The popular mare reached a career peak handicap mark of 112 and her eight wins, from 52 starts, featured three listed race scores and three premier handicap victories, which included the Irish Lincolnshire at the Curragh. The standout result among her 14 placed efforts is her six-length second to Powerscourt in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup, and she was also beaten by that same margin when chasing home Soviet Song in the Group 2 Ridgewood Pearl Stakes over a mile at the same venue.
If you go back another generation then you find that Lilissa is a half-sister to the Group 3 Prix Minerve scorer Linnga (by Shardari), and if you go even further back you will see that Licara (by Caro), the pattern-placed fifth dam of Mont Ormel, was out of the Group 2 Prix de Mallaret winner and exceptional broodmare Licata (by Abdos).
Licata is one of those rare individuals with at least three Group 1-winning progeny to her name, and her trio are Acamas (by Mill Reef), Akarad (by Labus) and Akiyda (by Labus). The former won the Group 1 Prix du Jockey-Club (French Derby) and Group 1 Prix Lupin, the last-named won the Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, and Akarad won the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud before going on to become a classic sire.
Those stars are remotely connected to Mont Ormel, but when the time comes for him to take up a place a stud, he will do so as a Group 1-winning representative of the powerful Danehill line, one who is out of a half-sister to the Group 1-winning sire of a horse who, by then, may have picked up a top-level win of his own.