breeding student to nominate the most successful track sire of the last quarter century.
If he doesn“t mention Monalee Champion in his first breath, he“s still some studying to
The 67 pound black dog arrived in
Britain three month“s after Geoff Hurst“s World Cup hat-trick. The September 1964 whelp
had reached the final of Enniscorthy“s April Stakes and the semis of the Irish Derby but
was proving a real for handful in Gay McKenna being a "bad grubber".
McKenna suggested the dog would do best
in a small kennel and a deal was reached with Watford greengrocer Don Price. Monalee had
at that time already been entered in Hackney Sales and although he never actually appeared
at the track, the sales regulations insisted that he be offered for sale. He made 610
guineas and joined the Hemel Hempstead kennel of private trainer Frank Conlon.
Monalee made his NGRC debut in the 1966
Cesarewitch at West Ham. He won his first heat in 33.11 the fastest of the round for the
He also won his second round heat but finished down the field in the semis and fifth in
the consolation (5-4 fav). The final was eventually won by the biggest-priced classic
winner of all time, the 66-1 chance Rostown Victor, who clocked 34.06.
Monalee set off on the open race circuit and won over 525 yards at Harringay in 29.41.
Behind him was Laurels winner Super Fame. He then traveled to Stamford Bridge and won a
700 yard open by nine lengths in 39.39. He returned to four bends and won a £400 550 yard
open at White City by seven and half lengths in 30.14 at 4-9 fav.
He completed a four timer when winning the fastest heat of the Cobb 700 in 39.66 (1-3
fav). Once again he blew it in the final which went to Trojan Silver, later to throw
English Derby winner John Silver.
The Champion obviously had a great affinity for White City and in early December Conlon
sent the dog for another couple of 525 yard opens.
He won the first in 29.16, the second in 29.02 - an amazing run for the time of the year.
The Champ returned to White City for the 66 Longcross Cup. He completed a hat-trick when
winning his heat by 16 lengths in 30.17.
Even with his knack of blowing the
finals, there was no way that Monalee, with at least five lengths in hand on the next
fastest winner, was going to get beat this time. In fact, he not only won the final he
took 11 spots off Fearless Mac“s six year old track record.
The runner-up to Monalee Champion some three lengths back was Tric Trac. Five months later
he was to return to White City and land the 1967 English Derby. The final was Monalee“s
first race for Vicki Holloway. Previous handler Frank Conlon had been forced to hand in
his license over problems with his kennels..
Monalee Champion, now the winter
ante-post favorite for the Derby, was given a lay-off during the spring but came back for
a tilt at the Gold Collar. He was never at home around the tight Catford circuit. He
reached the final without ever winning a round. His supporters still made him favorite for
the decider but he could manage only the runner-up spot behind Stylish Lad. There was a
bigger shock to come when he went out of the Derby in the first round. Although he
continued to run in top company throughout the remainder of the summer he was never to win
another major competition.
He started favorite for the Welsh Derby final after clocking the fastest qualifier but
finished last. He ran third in the Select Stakes and third in Wembley“s Summer Cup. The
Conlon kennel were not adverse to a few flapping expeditions though most of those who
could recall details are no longer with us.
Monalee was retired in November 1967 and
at the insistence of the great Jack Mullan, Fred Warrell bought the dog for £750. He
joined Mullan“s Newry kennel and his first pups were whelped in June 1968.
Among the pups born within that first month were Derby finalist Moordyke Champion and St
Leger runner-up Moordyke Monalee. A month later Mic Mac, Sole Aim, and Cobbler drew their
Monalee threw the winners of everything worth winning, which included the English Derby
(eight finalists), Irish Derby (three times - nine finalists), and the Coursing Derby. He
became the first dog in 20 years to sire two American National Win Champions, Some Prairie
and All-Star Bobby.
Monalee was reckoned by American breeding expert, Gary Guccione to be the best imported
sire of dams in the past 25 years. He sired five All Americans including Share Profit, who
was in American“s top five sires list for two years running, and threw the great American
Champion and Flashy Sir Award winner Profits Andy.
Monalee fathered over 1,000 litters in
over ten years at stud and was blind when he died three months short of his fourteenth
birthday. His offspring bred on and still play a massive part in modern day bloodlines.
Monalee was himself classically bred. His sire Crazy Parachute - third in the 1959 English
Derby - is the only dog ever to throw four runners in the same English Derby Final (1967)
- he fathered seven finalists in total. His only Derby winner was Tric Trac but other
classic success's included: a Scurry (Salthill Sand), a Laurels (Ambiguous), a Gold Collar
(Shanes Rocket), a St Leger (Forward King), two Gran Nationals (I“m Crazy, Two Aces) and
three Oaks (Majone, Solerina, Shady Parachute).
Crazy Parachute also sired TV Trophy winner Spectre II who became the best sire of stayers
of his day with two St Leger winners.
Monalee“s dam Sheila At Last would have
been barely less famous had she not produced her Champion.
Overall, her Crazy Parachute litter was probably not her best, certainly not on track
achievements. Champion“s comrades included Monalee Swallow, who joined her brother in the
April Stakes Final. Swallow also ran third in Easter Cup and Guinness 575 finals. Another
sister Autumn Rainbow ran in an Enniscorthy Grand Prize Final, Monalee Prince was a decent
open race stayer. The Sheila At Last dam charts shows just how the family bred on though
with Waltham Abbey and Ardfert Sean two notable decendents.
In the early 1990s, Monalee“s sire line
is principally being carried on through his grandson Daleys Gold.