Green Tune Hits The Right Notes

Fuisse’s slightly surprising victory in the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp gave his dam, the Sillery mare Funny Feerie, the distinction of having bred two individual Group One winners, following the success three years ago of her son Full Of Gold in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud. Obviously one could say that the true star of this story is Funny Feerie herself, stardom which is all the more surprising bearing in mind that, as a racehorse, she was a jumper, as was her dam and her best half-brothers Spanish Wells and Funny King. Haras du Quesnay must obviously take a lot of the credit as breeder of Full Of Gold and Fuisse, as must the half-brothers’ trainer Criquette Head-Maarek. But it would be wrong not also to apportion some of the praise to the two stallions involved: Full Of Gold’s sire Gold Away, and Green Tune, the sire of Fuisse, writes John Berry.

It should not be surprising that Green Tune, now aged 19, is a very accomplished stallion because he was a top-class, genuine and durable racehorse blessed with an impressive physique and he comes from what could be described as a very good stallion’s family. In truth, though, Green Tune’s lineage would nowadays be described as less obviously a stallion’s pedigree than it had seemed in his younger days: his sire Green Dancer has founded less of a dynasty than one might have hoped, while his dam’s family has not sprouted the volume of high-class stallions than once had seemed might be the case. However, there is no disputing that Green Tune’s pedigree is still very good.

Bred by Germaine Wertheimer and raced by her son Jacques, Green Tune’s sire Green Dancer came from one of the best families in France and his unraced dam Green Valley, a daughter of the 1962 Prix du Jockey-Club winner Val De Loir, now ranks as the ancestress of such high-class horses as Authorized, Makfi, Alhaarth, Quijano, Okawango and Aqaleem. Green Dancer, a member of the first crop of the 1970 Triple Crown winner Nijinsky , duly became a top-class racehorse, winning the 1975 Poule d’Essai des Poulains under the care of Alec Head. Having started his stud career in France in 1976, he became part of a chronic flow of high-class horses out of France to America (which also included the likes of Riverman, Lyphard, Caro and Blushing Groom), an exodus from which French breeding has yet to recover. In America, he continued to establish himself as a high-class sire, his best son being Suave Dancer who, sent to France to be trained by John Hammond, won the Prix du Jockey-Club and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 1991, thus ensuring that his father was France’s champion sire that year. Green Dancer’s other sons included Greinton (who became a champion on turf in America after starting his career in France) and the top-class Japanese-trained galloper Eishin Preston. However, Green Dancer has not proved to be a prolific sire of sires; the premature death of Suave Dancer certainly did not help his cause, but Green Tune has now to be regarded as his most influential son. Green Dancer, in fact, like so many very good stallions, has probably made a greater long-term impact through his daughters than his sons, Green Dancer mares having bred the likes of Quest For Fame, Halling, Jeune, Kalanisi and the top-class half-brothers Pennekamp and Black Minnaloushe.

Like his sire, Green Tune was bred and raced by the Wertheimer family. His, though, was a very American family, his third dam being South Ocean, a daughter of the Teddy-line stallion New Providence. For a brief period in the 1980s, South Ocean appeared be regarded as the most exciting broodmare in the world, largely thanks to the aura which surrounded her Vincent O’Brien-trained Northern Dancer colt Storm Bird, Europe’s champion two-year-old of 1980. A winner of the Canadian Oaks herself, South Ocean had already bred the 1977 Canadian Oaks winner Northernette to Northern Dancer, but Storm Bird proved even more news-worthy. Storm Bird’s defeat of subsequent 2,000 Guineas winner To-agori-mou in the 1980 Dewhurst proved both his class and his courage (and enabled Robert Sangster and his partners to sell a 75% stake in him for a reputed $21,000,000) but sadly the colt failed to ‘train on’ and was never placed again. Storm Bird duly proved to be a very good stallion and the success of his son Storm Cat (and, to a lesser extent, Summer Squall) has ensured that his place in the annals is likely to be permanent. Although this family thus became the height of fashion for a while, it actually proved not to be the treasure trove of sires that one might have hoped – and South Ocean’s several further matings with Northern Dancer proved disappointing. Storm Bird was followed into Vincent O’Brien’s Ballydoyle stable by two highly esteemed brothers who proved average racehorses and poor stallions: Northern State and, in an incidence of nomenclature which proved that no man is immune to hubris, Ballydoyle, a colt who failed to rise to the honour of bearing the name of his famous stable.

Incidentally, while it was disappointing that Ballydoyle proved unworthy of the name bestowed upon him, he had a non-winning sister who proved unworthy of an even greater name: Oceana, whose Stanley Wooton-owned namesake and predecessor still ranks as one of the greatest mares in turf history, her repeat visits to Star Kingdom having yielded Todman, Noholme , Shifnal and Faringdon. South Ocean’s daughter did breed a Listed winner in Japan (Biwa Shinseiki) and the dam of a Grade Three winner (Colony Bay, the dam of Lindsay Jean) in America, but compared to the original Oceana’s exploits she cannot be regarded as distinguished. (And one might say that the recycling of the name Oceana was almost as sacrilegious as the fact that Nasrullah’s dam Mumtaz Begum appears currently to be running very badly in low-grade races in the south of England, most recently having finished last in a selling race at Folkestone at 100/1!).

While, though, South Ocean couldn’t come up with any more Storm Birds, her family still continues to do very nicely, thank you – and that is largely thanks to her winning grand-daughter Soundings, a daughter of Mr Prospector. Green Tune was the second good horse bred by the Wertheimers from Soundings, her previous foal Didyme having won the Prix Robert Papin as a two-year-old in 1992. Subsequently she has bred the Group One place-getter Ecoute and the 1996 Cheveley Park Stakes heroine Pas De Reponse, whose Listed-winning three-year-old Saying, being a son of the Storm Cat stallion Giant’s Causeway, has South Ocean on both sides of her pedigree. Another of the offspring of Soundings, the Nureyev horse Ne Coupez Pas, proved less good as a racehorse but is now doing well from limited opportunities at stud in Australia.

Sent into training with the Criquette Head-Maarek, who had inherited from her father Alec Head the role of principal trainer to the Wertheimer family, Green Tune proved himself to be an excellent horse. In three seasons of racing he demonstrated superior ability, durability and genuineness. A shade below the very top class at two, he was nevertheless one of France’s best juveniles of 1993. Although he could ‘only’ finish sixth of seven behind Lost World in the country’s two-year-old championship, the Grand Criterium (then still run over 1600m), on a heavy track at Longchamp on Arc Day, he was clearly very good. It is likely that a mile on heavy ground was too great a test of stamina for him at that stage of his career, because he’d shown better form over shorter distances earlier in the season, both when beating both the subsequent Listed winner Volochine as well as Lost World over 1200m at Evry three months previously, and when finishing third over 1200m in the Group Three Prix du Cabourg at Deauville behind the subsequent Group One winner Coup De Genie.

Green Tune’s three-year-old season began in fine style with victories over 1600m in the Prix Montenica at Maisons-Laffitte and the Group One Poule d’Essai des Poulains at Longchamp. In the latter he got home by a short neck from Turtle Island, form which was made to look very good when the latter strolled home by 15 lengths in the Irish 2,000 Guineas on his next outing. Green Tune didn’t win again that season, but he confirmed his merit by earning place money in the St. James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot (behind Grand Lodge), the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (behind Ski Paradise) and the Prix du Rond-Point at Longchamp (failing by only a head to justify even-money favouritism behind Missed Flight). As a four-year-old, Green Tune was able to double his tally of Group One victories by landing the Prix d’Ispahan over 1800m and he also posted a smooth 3-length success in the Group Two Prix du Muguet over 1600m at Saint-Cloud. It was thus no surprise that, on the horse’s retirement to Haras d’Etreham (where his initial fee was 50,000 francs) at the end of 1995, Timeform described him as “game and genuine”.

In the decade since his first two-year-olds hit the racecourse in 2000, Green Tune has shown himself to be as reliable a stallion as he was a racehorse. Each year he comes up with his quota of stakes horses. Fuisse is his second Group One winner, following Lune D’or, winner of the Premio Lydia Tesio over 2000m in Rome in 2004. His Group-winning offspring also include the Group Two winners Delfos (successful in the Prix d’Harcourt over 2000m) and Marend (winner of the Grand Prix de Deauville over 2500m), while 2010 has been a particularly rewarding year for him, with seven French stakes races falling to his sons and daughters. The Deauville August Carnival proved particularly rewarding for him, with his three-year-old daughter Zagora winning the Group Three Prix de Psyche over 2000m and his two-year-old daughter Pontenuovo winning the Group Three Prix du Cabourg over 1200m. Like so many good stallions in France, he has also been able to prove his versatility by siring good jumpers, his sons having recorded Graded victories on both sides of the Channel, with Got One Too having won at Grade Two level over hurdles in Britain and Green Castle having done the same over fences in France.

Having proved popular in 2010 at a stud fee of 10,000 Euros, Green Tune looks set to remain one of France’s leading sires for quite some time yet.

AP ANSWER stands at Clifton Stud  – Green Tune half brother to AP Answer’s dam Pas de Reponse

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