MONTJEU has long been known as a better sire of colts than fillies - six daughters who have won at the highest level versus 25 sons who have achieved the same feat illustrate the bias - but his female progeny are gaining new respect at stud.
The oldest crop by Montjeu are only 13 years old but his daughters have already produced five Group/Grade 1 winners, and on Sunday the late son of Sadler's Wells was represented by his first Classic winner as a damsire when Legatissimo landed the 1,000 Guineas.
The first top-flight winner produced by a daughter of Montjeu was 2011 Dewhurst Stakes winner Parish Hall. His breeder Jim Bolger has never been afraid to experiment with inbreeding in his mating plans and the now six-year-old is by Teofilo, a son of Montjeu's paternal half-brother Galileo, meaning he is inbred 3x3 to Sadler's Wells.
However, most of Montjeu's high-profile success as a damsire in Europe has come from pairing his daughters with stallions from speedier sire lines. Legatissimo is by precocious two-year-old and high-class sprinter Danehill Dancer; Obviously, an Irish-bred dual Grade 1 winner in California, is by Danehill Dancer's brilliantly fast son Choisir; and last year's triple Gr.1 winner Charm Spirit is by Haydock Sprint Cup winner Invincible Spirit.
The statistics below show sons of Danehill have been a popular choice for Montjeu mares - breeders no doubt hoping that speedy line will mitigate the stamina Montjeu imparts - and the nick has produced 33 winners from 54 runners for a strike-rate of 61 per cent.
Danehill Dancer has been especially successful, not only siring Legatissimo after being mated with a daughter of Montjeu, but also Tetrarch Stakes runner-up Dynasty and last month's 15-length Doncaster maiden winner Secateur.
Another son of Danehill who appears to have clicked with Montjeu mares is Oratorio. The exported stallion has had six winners from nine runners bred on the cross, including stakes scorers Faciascura and High Duty.
Sons of Green Desert - besides Danehill the other great breed-shaping son of Danzig in Europe - are also effective when crossed with daughters of Montjeu. While Invincible Spirit is the sire of Charm Spirit, Oasis Dream has supplied classy sprinter Justineo and recent Windsor maiden scorer Richard Of Yorke on the cross.
Interestingly, Saturday's Palace House Stakes winner Goldream is by Oasis Dream and his granddam is a half-sister to Montjeu.
Three yearlings by Oasis Dream out of Montjeu mares came up for auction in Europe last year and, remarkably, they sold for 775,000gns, 550,000gns and 500,000gns. That is unlikely to have escaped commercial breeders' attention and it would be no surprise to see the Juddmonte sire cover plenty more Montjeu mares this season and in future.
Machiavellian blood also appears to mix well with Montjeu, with six winners from seven runners for his sons, coming mostly from Medicean, who is six winners from six runners. Medicean's son Dutch Art, meanwhile, has produced Marco Botti's Listed winner Lady Dutch when paired with a daughter of Montjeu.
Machiavellian is also the damsire of Shamardal, whose record stands at five winners from six runners out of Montjeu mares. Ruth Carr's progressive sprint handicapper Meshardal is a good current advertisement for that cross.
So Montjeu mares have demonstrated they are a useful ingredient in a pedigree, sometimes transmitting their sire's class but not always his stamina influence or quirks.
Where once they may have been overlooked, they may soon be a must-have item for breeders.