WHAT a great few days it was last weekend for Yeomanstown Stud’s Dark Angel (Acclamation).
On Sunday, in Canada, Mysterious Night, a two-year-old full-brother to dual US Grade 1 winner Althiqa, landed the Grade 1 Pattison Summer Stakes at Woodbine, and repaid again the investment made by Sheikh Mohammed in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes winner back in 2015.
Following the purchase of a part of the rising stallion star, which came soon after Mecca’s Angel won the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York, a spokesperson told The Irish Field that Godolphin would begin to support Dark Angel from the 2016 breeding season onwards.
One of the first mares sent by Godolphin to Dark Angel that year was Mistrusting, a daughter of Shamardal (Giant’s Causeway). She had won four of her seven starts and was in the frame twice more. She was placed to perfection by Charlie Appleby to win the Listed Boadicea Stakes at Newmarket on her final appearance, having recently been out of the money for the only time in a Group 3, her only other start in a stakes race.
Now Appleby, a master strategist when it comes to placing runners to best effect, has travelled two of the mare’s offspring to win at the highest level across the Atlantic. Althiqa, the first foal out of Mistrusting, won both the Grade 1 Diana Handicap and the Grade 1 Just A Game Stakes last year, and she was also a Group 2 winner in the UAE.
In her first four seasons at stud, Mistrusting visited Dark Angel three times and all three of the resulting offspring are winners. The odd year out, so to speak, saw her go to Frankel (Galileo), and the now gelding from that mating is also a winner, ensuring that Mistrusting has a perfect record of four winners from four foals, all her progeny of racing age.
What is there to look forward to? Well, Mistrusting has a yearling filly by Kodiac (Invincible Spirit), while her colt foal this year is a son of Dubawi (Dubai Millennium).
It is fair to say that this is a family very much on the up and up. When the dam of Mistrusting, Misheer (Oasis Dream), was bought by Rabbah Bloodstock for 70,000gns in 2008, there was no blacktype at all in the first two generations, though the pedigree compilers had included the fact that the first dam, All For Laura (Cadeaux Genereux), had finished fourth in a pair of listed races.
Misheer raced for Saeed Manana and was trained by Clive Brittain. She raced six times at two and proved herself to be among the best of her age and sex as a juvenile. She won a listed race at York prior to adding the Group 2 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cherry Hinton Stakes, and she was runner-up to Special Duty in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes while also taking the same finishing position in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Rabbah bred Mistrusting but the filly raced for Godolphin. At stud Misheer had just three foals, one of which was Akhlaaq (New Approach), a winning 400,000gns yearling purchase by Shadwell. The only other offspring of Misheer was Morsian (Dubawi). She has had an interesting life journey, being sold by Rabbah to John Ferguson for 750,000gns as yearling and racing with no success at all for Godolphin in France.
After her racing career ended Morsian was culled, but it was Rabbah who bought her back for 65,000gns. She has three foals to date, none of which are named, though the most recent is only a foal, a son of Dark Angel.
The two Grade 1 winners in two years in this family are the first since First Trump (Primo Dominie), a son of Mysterious Night’s fifth dam Valika (Valiyar), won the 1993 Group 1 Middle Park Stakes. Valika was herself a half-sister to the sprint star Mr Brooks (Blazing Saddles) who won the Group 1 July Cup and the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp.
Prior to the weekend success, Mysterious Night had already won twice in his five starts, notably capturing the Group 3 Prix Francois Boutin at Deauville. He was also placed in a pair of Group 2 races in England, the July Stakes at Newmarket and the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.
Eleven Group or Grade 1 winners have now been sired by Dark Angel who went to stud at a fee of €10,000, was reduced after a few seasons to €7,000, hit a high of €85,000, and the Yeomanstown star sire has just completed his 14th season at a price of €60,000. Mysterious Night is one of about 20 juveniles by Dark Angel that Godolphin are listed as breeders of in the Return of Mares.
This year is proving to be another excellent one for Dark Angel. In 2022 he has had three winners at the highest level, the five-year-old Alfareeq successful in the UAE in March, before Mangoustine won the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches-French 1000 Guineas in May. Now his juvenile twelfth crop of racing age has yielded another.
Those three are complemented by three Group 2 winners, five at Group 3 level, and a plethora of listed winners too. One of those Group 3 winners is another juvenile, Barefoot Angel.
Bought by Robin O’Ryan and Normal Steel for €120,000 at Goffs, this Guy O’Callaghan-bred filly gave a great boost to the upcoming sale of her Invincible Army (Invincible Spirit) half-sister at the Goffs Sportsman’s Sale on September 29th. Guy and his wife Serena have Grangemore Stud and what value the dam of Barefoot Angel is proving to be for the couple.
Love In The Desert (Lemon Drop Kid) cost Grangemore $55,000 as a stakes-placed winner when she sold at three. Two of her first three foals are now winners, the other being an own-brother to Barefoot Angel. He realised €280,000 as a yearling and has earned more than £500,000 in Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, down in Australia, the six-year-old Top Rank (Dark Angel) – though he races as a seven-year-old in Oz where he is renamed Top Ranked - won a Group 3 race at Randwick, having done likewise when he was trained in England. That win for James Tate came in the Superior Mile at Haydock and he was a well-beaten third to Palace Pier in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes. He is now in the care of training sensation Annabel Neasham.
Top Rank(ed) is the only winner to date from Countess Ferrama (Authorized), a half-sister to two Group 1 winners, the Irish 2000 Guineas winner Indian Haven (Indian Ridge) and the Italian juvenile champion Count Dubois (Zafonic).