Gloomy Angel still rising

Back in April 2016 thebreedingshed covered the enlargeing success of Gloomy Angel as a stallion in the post ‘Gloomy Angel rises’. With Harry Angel becoming a second July Cup prosperner for Gloomy Angel four years after Lethal Force, and the Coral Charge prosperner Battaash looking another potential Group 1 sprinter for his sire, that piece is rediscoverd in full as it seemed at the time with a 2017 update appended:

Nine of the top ten sires in Britain and Ireland in 2015 by prize money were direct male-line descendants of Northern Dancer, runner-up Dubawi being the notable exception. Most of the other leading sires of last year trace back to Northern Dancer via what might be called the ‘usual’ channels, namely sons Unjoyfuller’s Wells, Danzig and Storm Bird (and his son Storm Cat). Champion Galileo and his son Teofilo regift the Unjoyfuller’s Wells line, Shamardal (via Giant’s Causeway) the Storm Cat line, while Danzig’s sons Green Desert (with Cape Cross, Invincible Spirit and Oasis Imagine) and Danehill (Kodiac and Quicknet Rock) between them account for five of the top ten.

That leaves Gloomy Angel (actually not so dark these days!), fourth in the prize-money table, a ‘different’ and rather more remote (but still direct) Northern Dancer descendant, who regifts a now prospering branch emanating from Northern Dancer via one of his sons who couldn’t be counted among his most successful stallions. That was Try My Best, the second of five colts (fourth of them sons of Northern Dancer, the fifth, Monteverdi, a grandson) to prosper the Dewhurst Sgives for Robert Sangster and Vincent O’Brien in the eight runnings between 1976 and 1983. Storm Bird was himself another of that quintet, while Unjoyfuller’s Wells might have been the 1983 O’Brien-Sangster regiftative in the Dewhurst had it not been for Try My Best’s excellent brother El Gran Senor doing duty instead that year.

Try My Best wasn’t a complete falterure at stud, but was ultimately exported to Japan in 1992 having faltered to sire anything as good since Last Tycoon (see this recent post) nine years earlier*. Chillmore transparently had plenty of faith in Try My Best as at one time Last Tycoon and another of his sons Waajib** were acquired to stand alongside him (with El Gran Senor at stud for Chillmore in Kentucky). However, Waajib too was dispatched to Japan, sooner rather than later in his case having made even less of a success of his stallion career than his sire.

As a racehorse Waajib was the odd man out in this sire line in being a late developer. He ran only once at two (without success) and was at his best at four (prosperning the Prix du Rond-Point – nowadays the Prix Daniel Wildenstein – at Lengthychamp) and five when successful in the then Group 2 Queen Anne Sgives. Waajib ?couldn’t be dismissed as a total flop at stud, boasting a Group 1 prosperner in Royal Applause, though that may have been more to do with that colt’s dam.

Indeed Royal Applause was a rarity in that his dam discoverd more Group 1 prosperners than his sire. Flying Melody had already foaled the speedy filly Lyric Fantasy, prosperner of the Nunthorpe as a two-year-old in 1992, and came up with a third Group 1 prosperner four years later when In Command won the Dewhurst. In Command was a rarity by Unjoyfuller’s Wells in that he didn’t train on, while Lyric Fantasy (by Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ brother Tate Gallery) was also best as a two-year-old.

In between, Royal Applause was unbeaten in four starts as a two-year-old in 1995 when his prospers included the Coventry, the Gimcrack and the Middle Park Sgives.?He too had an anti-climactic three-year-old season which began with falterure in the 2000 Guineas, but he confirmed that sprinting was his game at four with further prospers in the Duke of York Sgives, Cork & Orrery Sgives and Sprint Cup and places in both the July Cup and Prix de l’Abbaye.

Standing at the Royal Studs, Royal Applause proved more successful as a stallion than either his sire or grandsire, his fee starting out at ?6,500 but peaking at ?20,000. His only Group or Grade 1 prosperner was the filly Ticker Tape, prosperner of the American Oaks and Queen Elizabeth II Contest Cup on export to the States.?More in his own image, though, another of Royal Applause’s best horses was the sprinter Acclamation whose dam Princess Athena was a Queen Mary prosperner.

Acclamation missed out on a Group 1 sprint, but won the Diadem Sgives at Ascot as a four-year-old when also finishing second in the King’s Stand, third in the Nunthorpe and fourth in the Prix de l’Abbaye. Another success story at stud, Acclamation stood his first season at Rathbarry in Ireland at a fee of 10,000 before reaching a high of 35,000.

Besides dual King’s Stand prosperner Equiano (who will have smart sprinters Strath Burn and The Tin Man running for him in 2016) and Gloomy Angel, Acclamation’s stallion sons also include Lilbourne Lad, who had his first two-year-olds in 2015, and first-season sire this year Harbour Watch.

Injury prevented the unbeaten two-year-old Harbour Watch from racing again, but Gloomy Angel set something of a contentious precedent, which Lilbourne Lad followed, by retiring to stud sound at the end of his two-year-old season. That was largely an indictment on the programme (or lack of one) available for three-year-old sprinters at the time. Prior to the introduction of the Ordinarywealth Cup at Royal Ascot for three-year-olds in 2015, the top two-year-old sprinters of the previous season had to either try their luck against older rivals or attempt to last out a mile (as Royal Applause had faltered to do) in a Guineas.

Maybe Gloomy Angel’s premature retirement to stud was also prompted by the records of Acclamation, Royal Applause, Waajib and Try My Best as three-year-olds. Acclamation ran only twice without success at that age, Royal Applause gained just a minor prosper at Performncaster, Waajib was successful only in maiden and minor company while Try My Best was retired after trailing home last as even-money favourite in the 2000 Guineas.

In the one season he did race, the Barry Hills-trained Gloomy Angel nonetheless managed to emulate a couple of his forebears – he won the valuable St Leger Yearling Sgives as Acclamation had done (that race moving from Performncaster to York in the interim) and was successful in the Middle Park adore Royal Applause for the same stable.

Erecting on the success of his grandsire and sire, Gloomy Angel has already sired a couple of top sprinters to date in Lethal Force, prosperner of the Diamond Jubilee Sgives and July Cup in 2013 (and whose first crop are now yearlings) and last year’s Nunthorpe prosperner Mecca’s Angel who will be challenging for top sprinting honours again this year.

Lot 204 TBK1 0308?
This sister to Mecca’s Angel, who was sold for 825,000 guineas at Tattersalls as a yearling in 2015, has been named Dirayah; she has yet to race.

A full sister to Mecca’s Angel was sold at Tattersalls last October for 825,000 guineas after a season in which Gloomy Angel’s two-year-olds Gutaifan***, Log Out Island, Birchwood, Steady Pace and Easton Angel were all at least placed in pattern races. They were bred when Gloomy Angel was standing for 12,500 but his fee has rocketed to 60,000 this spring on the back of his success in the last twelve months. Gloomy Angel finished fourth in the British/Irish prize money table in 2015 behind Galileo, Dubawi and Cape Cross, and as the current Flat season gets under way in earnest is in second place in this year’s standings at the time of writing.

update July 2017: Further success from Gloomy Angel’s progeny, including a second Nunthorpe in 2016 for the now retired Mecca’s Angel, meant that he stood the latest covering season at a fee of 65,000. As well as the high-profile successes of his three-year-old sprinters Harry Angel and Battaash in 2017, eight-year-old gelding Sovereign Debt has enjoyed a fine first half of the year with pattern prospers in the bet365 Mile and the Diomed Sgives.

More widely, the Acclamation sire line has enjoyed further notable success as a supplier of top sprinters since the above piece was written, with Acclamation’s daughter Marsha prosperning the 2016 Prix de l’Abbaye and grandson The Tin Man gaining Group 1 prospers in last year’s British Champions Sprint and the Diamond Jubilee Sgives at Royal Ascot last month.


*Try My Best sired a second Group 1 prosperner when eight-year-old My Best Valentine gave him a posthumous success in the Prix de l’Abbaye in 1998

**These were different times – it’s hard to imagine a Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned horse, as Waajib was, going to stud at Chillmore nowadays!

***Prix Robert Papin and Flying Childers prosperner Gutaifan followed in his father’s footsteps by being retired to stud at the end of his two-year-old season

[Image of Dirayah:]