Flying South between columns – Turf Talk: 17 July 2017
MY “Bonus Friday Column” last week was written in Newmarket in the July Festival moments between the scramble of 06:30 work on the Heath, some second looks at the sales before the 09:30 daily starts, and the long sales sessions with top class racing on The July Course in between.
Thank Heavens for the “breather” at the quality professional event of the year for users of Darley Stallions and buyers of Godolphin stock, the Darley Stallion Parade and Lunch at Dalham Hall with wall-to-wall lobster and a chance for the “industry” to relax together in a Wow situation, however many times you’ve been before.
Now I am writing another article: as the Johannesburg sun starts to descend in the Sunday
Sky. Horses keep us on the move…
Friday’s article had included reference to certain sire lines with which I would “flood” the South African gene pool. I mentioned the Royal Applause/Acclamation/Dark Angel dynasty of stallions that is so successful at the speedier end of British and Irish racing.
A few hours before my flight on Saturday night, DARK ANGEL reinforced the prowess that the world acknowledges by siring the winner of the Darley July Cup Gr1, HARRY ANGEL, run on the third day of a meeting that surely attracts the most knowledgeable dressed-up crowd in the world.
ROYAL APPLAUSE himself has faded through the passage of time, but his son ACCLAMATION – now 18 – has occupied a high position for a number of years. He has been a consistently commercial sire who has rewarded breeders at the sales whether selling to foal pinhookers or at year-ling sales. He commands a fee of €30,000 (having been as high as €50,000) which is certainly not “cheap speed”, the level at which many but not all sprinters and juvenile achievers start at stud. ACCLAMATION sits currently 10th in the general sires list.
His son DARK ANGEL sits 3rd, surpassed only by GALILEO and DUBAWI. As hot a commercial property as any stallion standing in UK and Ire-land, DARK ANGEL costs €65,000. He started off low. He started off young. He retired at 2.
HARRY ANGEL beat the older LIMATO, last year’s winner, as well as the hitherto unbeaten CARAVAGGIO and the Royal Ascot winner THE TIN MAN. In so doing he provided a birthday celebration for Sheikh Mohammed who had purchased the colt privately after early success but left him in training with Clive Cox.
Cox was winning the July Cup for the second time. And for the second time with a son of DARK ANGEL.
LETHAL FORCE had cost a mere €8,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland before DARK ANGEL had really exploded, and had taken a bit of time to win first time. But at 4, he won this world class sprint and went to stud at Cheveley Park where his fee has risen a little to £10,000 after the popularity of some of his early sales stock.
HARRY ANGEL is only 3. His father was already covering mares at that age, and is not alone in being rushed off to stud after a juvenile year with maybe Gr2 success in that quest for “cheap speed”. OASIS DREAM – not cheap anything – won the July Cup at 3 bringing a superbly versatile female line, thus being able to sire them at all distances. Other 21st Century 3 year old winners are the late MOZART for Coolmore, SAKHEE’s SECRET (freakishly by SAKHEE out of a SECRETO mare), DREAM AHEAD a son of DIKTAT, ridden by Hayley Turner, and the brilliant MUHARAAR, a son of OASIS DREAM who won the Gimcrack at York at 2 then 4 x Gr1s all at 3. He stands for Shadwell at £30,000.He’s not cheap speed either.
Good DARK ANGEL foals are bought by pinhookers these days for 100,000 pounds or euro. And they make a profit. For investors, we got into DARK ANGEL buying a very strong colt just before the real bonanza with that sire. We paid 40,000 and he waltzed into Book 1. On the days leading up to the sale he could have been stronger behind – just a phase – but he brought £68,500 which if not a “proper touch” was a profit, all things taken into account.
Now, we go to DARK ANGEL’s new son GUTAIFAN and have a seriously strong first crop colt foal out of a mare who has been a cash cow at the mid ranges.
With South Africa’s predilection for speed, the high profile of GALILEO sometimes seems contradictory. Of course GALILEO – all about the Classic distance of a mile and a half – does sometimes come up with a brilliant miler. Sometimes “brilliant” is an understatement. One miler – FRANKEL – would probably have won the 6 furlong July Cup given half a chance. He belatedly stepped up to a mile and a quarter. Some Galileos like Ascot Stud’s GLOBAL VIEW have speed to burn in the pedigree, combining that attribute with serious Galileo-class.
It has seemed to me that bringing progeny of Acclamation (or sons at stud Equiano, Dark Angel, Harbour Watch, new boy Mehmas) and Dark Angel (Lethal Force, Gutaifan, Alhebayeb) to South Africa would be a bright idea.
South Africa has not embraced INVINCIBLE SPIRIT’s speed nfluences which are consistently at the top of the sires tables (fee €125,000) and he is already 20. Galileo is 19, after all. Let’s bring down the average age of our influences!
We shall be working on the Acclamation lines for South Africa whether to race first or immediately as stallions, or as fillies and mares.
Oh. By the way. If you did see that Friday article, you would see that the fact that DARK ANGEL’s damsire is MACHIAVELLIAN explains how his star could be so, so high. The obvious is rarely the best for purpose. – tt.