Bargain buys and a £4,000 sire in elite company among Royal Ascot talking points
James Thomas puts the meeting's big results under the microscope
1. Bargain buys to the fore
Royal Ascot represents the pinnacle of global Flat racing where the elite ply their trade. However, results this year highlight how those who have quietly gone about their business at the sales have made an almighty racket on the racecourse.
Ten of the 35 winners cost under £50,000/€50,000, and if that figure does not exactly sound like loose change, we can be certain that a Royal Ascot victory means any of the winners are now worth many multiples of that sum.
Three Group 1 winners fall into this category, including redoubtable Diamond Jubilee Stakes scorer Dream Of Dreams, who was signed for by Mick Flanagan at just 37,000gns at the 2014 Tattersalls December Foal Sale.
The other two both fetched €40,000 apiece, with David Menuisier and Crispin de Moubray signing for Hardwicke heroine Wonderful Tonight, while David Bowe, manager of Jeff Smith's Littleton Stud, struck the winning bid for Coronation Stakes queen Alcohol Free.
The former came from the Arqana August Yearling Sale, while the latter was picked up at the Goffs November Foal Sale.
Windsor Castle Stakes scorer Chipotle sent Eve Johnson Houghton back into the Royal Ascot winner's enclosure and showcased the trainer's eye for a bargain too as she teamed up with Anthony Bromley of Highflyer Bloodstock to source the son of Havana Gold from the Tattersalls Ascot Yearling Sale for just 10,000gns.
Johnny Murtagh also deserves plenty of credit for not only training Sandringham Stakes winner Create Belief, but unearthing the daughter of Awtaad at just €12,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale.
Moreover, the rapidly improving Wokingham Stakes winner Rohaan showed that talent can be found at a variety of auctions, as he was picked by Martin Wanless and David Evans for 20,000gns at the Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sales having shown little worthwhile form for George Scott.
2. Mayson keeping elite company
An eclectic mix of stallions supplied a winner at this year's Royal Ascot, with 28 different sires getting on the scoresheet.
There were plenty of the usual suspects towards the head of the final standings, with the leading stallion crown going the way of Juddmonte's Frankel after he edged out Yeomanstown Stud's Dark Angel on countback of placed runners after both horses sired three winners apiece.
Next came Dalham Hall's Dubawi with two winners, two runner-ups and a third, while his hugely promising sire son Night Of Thunder also bagged a brace of winners. These four names are all proven heavyweights of the stallion ranks, and as such command sizeable fees.
Dubawi is the most expensively advertised sire in Europe at £250,000, while Frankel stood 2021 at £175,000, Night Of Thunder reached a career-high of €75,000 and Dark Angel was available at €60,000.
It looks significant, then, that the next sire on the list stood the latest breeding season at just £4,000. Step forward Cheveley Park Stud's Mayson, who notched a notable double courtesy of King's Stand Stakes hero Oxted and the aforementioned Rohaan, whose last-to-first Wokingham Stakes win earned him a Racing Post Rating of 120.
Having been at Cheveley Park Stud since 2013, the July Cup-winning son of Invincible Spirit has steadily compiled a stud record that punches well above his lowly fee, with Oxted and Rohaan, who also landed the Group 2 Sandy Land Stakes on his penultimate outing, heading a roll call of 24 stakes performers.
Moreover, despite Mayson's eldest daughters only having turned seven this year, he also got on the board as a broodmare sire when Significantly, a Cheveley Park-bred son of Garswood, claimed the Palace Of Holyroodhouse Stakes.
3. Acclamation's influence on the increase
Mayson's success was not the only reason Cheveley Park Stud had to celebrate, as the operation's Pivotal also topped the broodmare sire standings with three winners and one runner-up. Pivotal's winning trio were Prince of Wales's Stakes heroine Love, Queen's Vase scorer Kemari and Albany Stakes winner Sandrine.
However, that tally was not quite enough to claim the honours outright, as Pivotal shared the meeting's leading broodmare sire crown with Rathbarry Stud stalwart Acclamation.
The 22-year-old son of Royal Applause featured as the damsire of Rohaan, Britannia Stakes scorer Perotto and the unbeaten Chesham Stakes winner Point Lonsdale, whose brother Broome also finished runner-up in the Hardwicke.
With five Group 1 winners on his own stud record, and with important sire sons such as Dark Angel and Mehmas, along with other top-flight producers including Equiano and Harbour Watch, Acclamation has long since been a potent force in the male line of a pedigree.
But results from Royal Ascot highlight how he is becoming increasingly influential through his daughters too. He already has one Group 1 winner as damsire, namely Commonwealth Cup hero Eqtidaar, and given his pedigree is free of the almost ubiquitous Sadler's Wells blood, his daughter's outcross appeal ensures there should be much more to come from Acclamation.