JUNE 25th, 2011 and the two-year-old filly Lily’s Angel raced to victory in the six-furlong Listed Empress Stakes at Newmarket.

The daughter of Dark Angel (Acclamation) would race on for a couple of more seasons, compile a fine record of 10 victories, and add on successes in the Group 3 Chartwell Fillies Stakes at Lingfield Park, the Listed Cooley Stakes in Dundalk, and the Listed Snowdrop Stakes at Kempton. She was placed multiple times in pattern company, most notably when beaten just half a length by La Collina in the Group 1 Matron Stakes at Leopardstown.

Lily’s Angel was bred by Nick and Alice Nugent, and the couple sold her at the then DBS Premier Yearling Sale to Richard Fahey for £8,000.

He saddled her to win four times at two, on the last of those occasions when she gained her first stakes win at Newmarket, but she moved to Ger Lyons during her second season and hit the jackpot when successful on her first four outings for him, one of these being at Meydan. This move came about after she failed to sell for 105,000gns at the Tattersalls July Sale.

At the age of four, the Co Meath trainer took Lily’s Angel to new heights, winning a group race, running second at the highest level, and then she retired to stud at her owner Clodagh Mitchell’s Phillistown House Stud in Meath, where she has bred a number of winners.


While Nick and Alice Nugent will have been more than disappointed to sell Lily’s Angel for such a small figure, given that the Group 1 winning sire went to stand at Gay O’Callaghan’s Morristown Lattin Stud at a fee of €10,000, they can bask in the reflected glory that they bred the stallion’s first ever stakes winner.

You may wonder why I have taken to looking back and recording this victory. Well, just over 12 years later, Dark Angel achieved a noteworthy feat when his four-year-old daughter Heredia brought her tally of wins to five, taking the honours in the mile Listed Dick Hern Fillies Stakes at Haydock. She had been stakes-placed a few times previously, but her victory on this occasion meant that Dark Angel had clocked up his 100th individual stakes winner.

Three weeks earlier he had reached another landmark, as Sacred Angel’s win in the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot was his 200th stakes win, and some 90 minutes later Alflaila added to that with his win in the Group 2 York Stakes. Now the long road to 300 stakes wins has begun for the 18-year-old resident of Yeomanstown Stud.

Other facts

Some other achievements by Dark Angel as a sire are worth stating at this time. While Lily’s Angel got him off to a great start at stud, it was to be more than a year before he got his second stakes win, and this was an important one as his second-crop son Alhebayeb recorded it in the Group 2 July Stakes. Five weeks later and it was clear that Dark Angel was going to become a sire of some significance when a member of his first crop, Lethal Force, won the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes.

The following year, 2013, Lethal Force emerged as a major sprinting talent, giving Dark Angel his first Group 1 win, in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, and some three weeks later he doubled up when adding the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket. While he never matched the success of his own sire, Lethal Force is responsible for the Group 1 winner Golden Horde.

His stud fee having fallen to €7,000 in his third and fourth seasons, Dark Angel’s early successes saw it raised to €12,500 for two years, and to €27,500 for a couple of seasons. However, this was just the beginning, and an incredible year of success on the track in 2015 saw his fee jump to €60,000, and this would later rise to a career high of €85,000.


On the back of his achievements in 2015, it was confirmed that Darley had bought into the stallion, and that proved to be an insightful move. That was the year in which Dark Angel’s second Group 1 winner, the Nunthorpe Stakes heroine Mecca’s Angel, emerged, and she was backed up by group winners Stormfly, Markaz, Birchwood, Gutaifan, Realtra and Sovereign Debt. Serendipitously, the former Yeomanstown Stud sire Gutaifan sired his first Group/Grade 1 winner at the weekend.

Recently I wrote about Dark Angel’s most recent Group 1 winner, number 14 in all, Khaadem after he won the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, joining a roll of honour that includes Top Rank, Mysterious Night, Mangoustine, Alfareeq, Angel Bleu, Althiqa, Raging Bull, Hunt, Persuasive, Battaash and Harry Angel.

In terms of numbers, and showing his prowess to transmit quality, Dark Angel’s 100 blacktype winners are broken down into 56 group winners and 44 listed winners, while another 85 of his offspring have been stakes-placed. While it is not something that will be carried in advertisements for the sire, and I only see it as a sign of his ability to get sound racehorses, three of his sons have won at Grade 1 level over hurdles.

Better impact

As a broodmare sire, could Dark Angel have made a better impact than to be responsible for the six-time winner Blanc De Chine? She is the dam of Havana Grey (Havana Gold), the young sire sensation whose first two crops include 13 stakes winners, seven of them at group level.

On the selling front, Dark Angel hit a yearling high in 2019 when his daughter Tarhib, bred by Trevor Stewart, sold for 1,050,000gns. She was a stakes-placed four-time winner in 2021 and 2022.

After all those facts and figures, what about Dark Angel’s landmark 100th stakes winner? Heredia was bred and is raced by Andrew Stone in the name of his St Albans Bloodstock Limited, and she is one of a pair of winners from the Group 3 winner Nakuti (Mastercraftsman). That mare was bred by the recently deceased Eamonn McEvoy, who sold her as a foal at Goffs for €30,000.

Having failed to sell as a yearling, Nakuti was put in training by Nelius Hayes with Sylvester Kirk, and she was well campaigned for three seasons, improving with time.

At four she gave weight and a neck beating to the subsequent Grade 1 winner Blond Me in the Group 3 Atalanta Stakes at Sandown, and after an unsuccessful run in Canada she was sent to Graham Motion, for whom she was placed in a Grade 2 race. Blandford Bloodstock bought her for Andrew Stone for $200,000 at the end of her fourth season racing.


Heredia is the first offspring of Nakuti, herself a half-sister to the Grade 2 US winner Amade (Casamento). Andrew Stone sold the mare’s second produce in July at Tattersalls for 38,000gns. That price is hard to comprehend when you consider that the three-year-old Vasilissa, is a dual winner this year, and a daughter of Kingman (Invincible Spirit).

Bought for 82,000gns last year in Book 2 of the October Yearling Sale, Nakuti’s two-year-old son Arch Legend (Camelot) has yet to race, but he is in training with Charlie Johnston.