DARK Angel and his sire Acclamation (Royal Applause) have worked a treat in the family of the recent Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 winner Golden Goal, and patience has finally paid off for that now eight-year-old gelding.
He won the feature race on the opening night of the 2022 Dubai Carnival at Meydan, a card that saw both him and a trio of six-year-olds capture the four blacktype contests on offer.
This was the sixth, and most important, success for the grey gelding who first came to prominence as a yearling when he sold for £240,000 at the Doncaster Premier Yearling Sale to John Ferguson. It was the fourth best price at the sale, behind the £280,000 sale of a full-sister to Galileo Gold.
In training in England with Saeed bin Suroor, Golden Goal did not race at two, and showed a decent level of form to win half of his six starts at three before he was gelded and disappeared from view for almost two years. He resurfaced in the care of the UAE champion trainer Doug Watson, carrying the silks of owner Dale Brennan, and in 10 starts has shown a remarkable consistency.
His three wins for new connections have been augmented by six other top-four finishes, and he had some blacktype going into last week’s race, having finished behind Secret Ambition when runner-up in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile last March. Golden Goal has now amassed winnings of some £320,000 and he could yet add to that before this year’s Carnival meeting comes to a close in March.
Golden Goal is a full-brother to Mystery Fox (Dark Angel) who rounded out his juvenile season in October with a victory on his sixth and final start. He had been hinting at such a result thanks to three places previously, and he looks the sort that can progress to win a few more this season for King Power Racing and Roger Varian. Mystery Fox had been a 260,000gns yearling buy through SackvilleDonald.
The pair are two of the three winning offspring from Golden Rosie (Exceed And Excel), the other being the stakes-placed, three-time winner Rosie’s Premiere (Showcasing). As a broodmare she had a good 2021, her daughter Louliana (Acclamation) winning a listed race on her final run, while another daughter, Rose Premium (Dark Angel), was runner-up in the Listed Prix Herod for two-year-olds. Shadai Farm paid €320,000 for Louliana at Arqana in December.
The potency of Dark Angel with this family does not end there. Golden Rosie has seven winning siblings, and three of them are by the Yeomanstown Stud stalwart. The best of the trio was the prolific Sovereign Debt (Dark Angel) who amassed more than £800,000 in a career that encompassed 15 victories in Ireland, Britain and Qatar. He won the Group 2 bet365 Mile at Sandown and was runner-up to Farrh in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes.
Dark Angel’s twelfth crop of racing age will hit the track this year. Golden Goal was his 81st blacktype winner, more than half (45) of which have been in pattern races. The list includes nine Group/Grade 1 winners and that elite group comprises Battaash, Raging Bull, Persuasive, Harry Angel, Lethal Force, Mecca’s Angel, Hunt, Altiqua and Angel Bleu.
More modestly related was the other Group 2 winner on the card at Meydan, the German-foaled Pevensey Bay. Like Golden Goal, she was also winning a stakes race for the first time, this homebred capturing the Cape Verdi Stakes for fillies and mares. Her three prior successes were all in France where she was placed second in the Listed Prix Miss Satamixa at Deauville.
A daughter of Footstepsinthesand (Giant’s Causeway), Pevensey Bay is the first foal and sole winning produce to date of the placed Anabaa (Danzig) mare Pachelbelle. Her younger siblings have shown little ability. Pachelbelle has two winning siblings, one of which was a two-year-old winner in Morocco, but go a further generation back and you find some winners of note.
Riziere (Groom Dancer) is Pevensey Bay’s third dam, and she won twice before heading to stud where she had eight winning offspring. Head and shoulders above the rest were the own-brothers Rouvres and Right One (Anabaa).
While Right One was a Grade 3 winner in the USA and placed at Grade 1 level in Canada, his older sibling Rouvres won the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat before heading stateside to continue his racing career, though he failed to match his French achievements.
This is not the first time that Footstepsinthesand has worked the oracle on a mare by Anabaa. That cross is also responsible for the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest winner Marianafoot and the Group 3 winner Sandy’s Charm.
The name John Ferguson, for many years Sheikh Mohammed’s chief advisor, pops up again in the story of the Listed Dubai Racing Club Classic winner, the six-year-old Dubai Future (Dubawi). In 2007, at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, he paid $10.5 million for Playful Act (Sadler’s Wells), the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile winner who was runner-up in the Irish Oaks.
At the time she had four stakes-winning siblings, a pair of them at Group 1 level. Subsequently two of her close siblings won Group 1 races, Great Heavens (Galileo) annexing the Darley Irish Oaks, while Nathaniel (Galileo) captured both the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Eclipse Stakes. He is the sire of Enable.
After her purchase, Playful Act was mated the following spring with Street Cry (Machiavellian), and the result was a filly, Anjaz. Three-times a winner in England, she was persevered with and gained her sole win in the USA as a five-year-old in the Grade 3 Orchid Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Dubai Future, who was winning his second listed race last week and is Group 2-placed, is the best of Anjaz’s three winners.
It is incredible to think that Rathbarry Stud’s Acclamation will have his sixteenth crop racing as juveniles this year. A perennial favourite with breeders, he delivers quality on a consistent basis, and last week Shadwell’s Mutaraffa became his sire’s 61st blacktype winner when he gained a maiden stakes success in the Listed Dubai Dash.
In addition to being sire of Group/Grade 1 winners Expert Eye, Aclaim, Marsha, Equiano and Dark Angel, Acclamation is now a well-recognised sire of sires – think also of Mehmas and more – and his daughters have thrown Group 1 winners Broome and Eqtidaar.
Did Charlie Gordon-Watson have some inkling of a possible stakes win for Mutaraffa last summer when he paid 200,000gns for the gelding’s dam Excellent View (Shamardal) at the Tattersalls July Sale? Mind you he was buying quite a package. At the time Mutaraffa, the mare’s first foal, was a four-time winner and had been runner-up in the Listed Dubai Dash. Now he has gone one better for his fifth success.
Excellent View was also sold with her filly foal at foot, born in early February, by the sire sensation Mehmas (Acclamation), and she was back in foal to the Tally-Ho Stud stallion. The catalogue page has plenty of stakes winners on it, but it has none that were successful beyond Group 3 class.
Mutaraffa was bred by Mark and James Hanly and his dam was sold through Tom Blain’s Barton Sales last year. Following the sale, both Blain and Gordon-Watson spoke to the press. Blain said: “A smashing mare, she had a lovely Mehmas foal at foot, who is a good example of what she is carrying, and in this sale she stood out a bit. The foal is good and she has got a blacktype runner this year. She was sold for a good Irish client and I am delighted for them.”
Gordon-Watson added: “I’ve been looking for a Shamardal mare for this client for some time, and this is a good-quality, pretty mare with a very nice foal at foot. I love Mehmas as a sire – he gets good fillies, colts and geldings over any distance, any ground, any trainer, and in England, Ireland, France and America.”