In 2004, Shirocco won the Deutsches Derby en route to becoming champion three-year-old in both Germany and Italy, his other Group 1 win that season coming in the Gran Premio del Jockey Club at San Siro.
Adding the Breeders’ Cup Turf and Coronation Cup to his Group 1 haul in two further lucrative seasons on the racecourse, Shirocco retired to Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket in 2007, having been purchased from his owner/breeder Baron Georg Von Ullmann by Sheikh Mohammed.
Now three, members of his first crop are bidding to become Classic winners themselves, with four of his sons being primed for the Deutsches Derby on July 3. The quartet includes impressive Royal Ascot winner Brown Panther, whose six-length victory in the King George V Stakes brought a tear to the eye of his owner/breeder, the Manchester United and England footballer, Michael Owen.
Brown Panther, whose dual-winning dam Treble Heights was also raced by Owen, has now won four of his five starts and looks an exciting prospect for the Tom Dascombe stable.
With Brown Panther currently favourite for the German Classic, three of the top four in the betting are by Shirocco.
Second-favourite is Gestut Schlenderhan’s Arrigo, winner of the Group 2 Oppenheim-Union-Rennen at Cologne on June 13, while also prominent is his stablemate and fellow Schlenderhan homebred Ibicenco, who was beaten a short-head in the Group 3 Prix du Lys at Chantilly. Iffezheimer Derby-Trial runner-up Sommernachtstraum completes the foursome.