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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Five things we learned during Glorious Goodwood week

Acclamation's developing empire among the noteworthy developments

Expert Eye (left) stretched clear of the field in the Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood
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1 - All eyes on Acclamation

So many of the leading stallions in Britain and Ireland descend from Sadler's Wells and Danzig, both sons of Northern Dancer, but now another line descending from the Canadian kingmaker is growing in importance and rapidly expanding. And it would have been almost impossible to forecast only ten years ago.

It was in 2007 that the first two-year-olds by Acclamation, a high-class sprinter who retired to Rathbarry Stud at a fee of €10,000, made their racecourse debuts. They proved an instant hit, displaying the sort of speed and precocity that commercial breeders so covet, and he stole some of the limelight from his higher-profile and more expensive freshman peers that year, such as Dubai Destination, Hawk Wing and Oasis Dream.

Because the best of those first two-year-olds, the Mill Reef and Middle Park Stakes hero Dark Angel, was dispatched to stud before getting a chance to run at three and also hit the ground running with his early produce, the influence of Acclamation is deepening remarkably quickly.

Why it has been a surprising development in the make-up of the stallion market is that Acclamation is by Royal Applause, an excellent source of two-year-olds and sprinters but with no other sire sons nearly as successful.

Royal Applause was by far the best racecourse performer by his own sire, Queen Anne Stakes winner Waajib, and Waajib was in turn a son of Try My Best, the Northern Dancer brother to El Gran Senor, who was champion two-year-old and notably supplied Last Tycoon, an all-time great on the racecourse who left plenty of top-class talents but is scarcely seen in the top line of pedigrees in Europe nowadays, especially since the retirement and death of son Marju.

So Acclamation could be called the saviour of the Try My Best branch of the Northern Dancer dynasty in Europe, and just how ubiquitous he has become in pedigrees was on show at Goodwood last week.

The stallion, who served his 14th season at Rathbarry at a fee of €30,000 this year, was represented as sire of wide-margin Vintage Stakes winner Expert Eye and progressive sprinter Scorching Heat, who took the Stewards' Cup consolation race. Dark Angel, meanwhile, was on the mark with impressive King George Stakes scorer Battaash.

Furthermore, in a stark illustration of how rapidly Acclamation is laying down roots, Dark Angel notched a first Group winner as broodmare sire when maternal grandson Havana Grey (by flying freshman Havana Gold) landed the Molecomb Stakes. Lethal Force, one of Dark Angel's first sons to stud, also registered two promising new winners in the last seven days when Crotchet and Narcos struck in novice stakes at Nottingham and Doncaster.

Acclamation himself also put a couple of new juvenile winners on the board in the past week – Deviate at Wolverhampton and Al Barg at Windsor. He was also represented by Aclaim, who followed up his close-up sixth in the Lennox Stakes with a fine runner-up effort in the Prix Maurice de Gheest. 

Now that Acclamation has an ante-post favourite for the 2,000 Guineas in Expert Eye, while Dark Angel has covered his last two books at fees of €60,000 and €65,000, and with many more sons of both sires accumulating in studs either side of the Irish Sea, it will be fascinating to see if this tribe of sires, noted for its raw speed and juvenile prowess, can prove effective in the Classics.

2 - Sea The Stamina

There aren't many stallions around more dependable than Sea The Stars. The son of Cape Cross currently sits in fourth in the European sires' table by prize-money, with only the numerically stronger Dark Angel, Dubawi and his illustrious half-brother Galileo ahead of him.

And results from Goodwood reminded us just what a potent a source of class and stamina he is, registering three Glorious Group winners, all over staying trips.

The hat-trick was initiated by Stradivarius, who proved himself one of the most upwardly mobile three-year-olds around when outmuscling the redoubtable Big Orange at the end of the two miles of the Goodwood Cup to give his sire an eighth Group 1 winner.

That was followed on Thursday by his daughter Endless Time, who saw out the 1m6f trip of the Group 3 Lillie Langtry Stakes much the best to add a second Pattern success to her already impressive CV.

While Crystal Ocean went some way to proving why he has developed such a big reputation with a dominant display to claim the 1m4f Group 3 Gordon Stakes by three and a half lengths.

With plenty of big back-end targets still to come, namely the season's final Classic the St Leger - for which Stradivarius is vying for favouritism, with Crystal Ocean not far behind - expect to see Sea The Stars finish the campaign as strongly as his progeny saw out their races at Goodwood.

Crystal Ocean: the three-year-old became Sea The Stars' third stakes winner of the Glorious meeting with success in the Gordon Stakes

3 - Oasis Dream not just the daddy

Having supplied the likes of Charming Thought, Power, Arcano and Muhaarar, Oasis Dream is well known for his ability to pass on precocity. But it is not only through his sons that this quality is being transmitted, as Barraquero's ready success in the Richmond Stakes on Thursday also gave Oasis Dream his third stakes-winning two-year-old as a damsire in 2017.

The Zebedee colt's success in the Group 2 contest follows on from Zonza, a daughter of Alex The Winner who ran out a comfortable winner of the Group 3 Prix du Bois at Deauville in early-July, and Sioux Nation, the Scat Daddy juvenile who claimed the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes during Royal Ascot.

Interestingly, while the dams of all three stakes scorers were winners, none boasted black type themselves, so it may just be the case that Oasis Dream is an ingredient well capable of upgrading a pedigree.

And with the likes of Midterm, Tis Marvellous and Shutter Speed already on his broodmare sire record, Oasis Dream is increasingly looking a force to be reckoned with in the division.

Barraquero (2) provided his damsire Oasis Dream with a third stakes-winning two-year-old in 2017 with success in the Richmond Stakes
4 - Fashion not everything

Last week proved, once again, what can be achieved when eschewing fashion for function, and that isn't just a reference to those who complemented their linen suits with a cagoule during one of the Glorious meeting's many downpours.

It speaks volumes about the mastery of the late Bob McCreery and his wife Jeanette that their Stowell Hill Stud bred two winners, both out of the Manduro mare Coplow, during Goodwood, by stallions that have never had the fortune of being considered in vogue.

The first was Billesdon Bess, a daughter of Dick Turpin - conceived at £5,000 during the stallion's second season at the National Stud, who overcame deteriorating conditions with aplomb to run out a cosy winner of a well-contested handicap. Better was to come 24 hours later, when Billesdon Brook, a two-year-old son of Champs Elysees - now marketed as a dual purpose stallion by Coolmore, produced one of the most remarkable finishing efforts ever witnessed on the downs, defying a most unpromising position with 100 yards left to run to prevail by a head.

While on Saturday there was another strike for a stallion consigned to the dual purpose ranks in the shape of Soldier Of Fortune's son Soldier In Action, who made light of a handicap mark of 106 to register the sixth Flat success of his career.

5 - Arcano gone but not forgotten

Arcano may have moved to Italy to continue his stallion career at the picturesque Allevamento di Besnate, but recent results will ensure that he won't be forgotten about just yet.

The two-year-olds from his penultimate Derrinstown Stud-conceived crop have been performing well enough to see him currently inside the top 20 sires of two-year-olds in Europe by number of winners, with his eight scorers across Britain and Ireland giving him a strike-rate of 29 per cent.

Among those are Tajaanus, who took his record to two wins from three starts in the Listed Star Stakes at Sandown last month, while the last seven days also saw Arcavallo break his maiden in convincing style at Beverley and Abel Handy claim his second win in a Thirsk novice stakes.

Arcano's older performers have also been in good form too, with the Roger Varian-trained Shenanigans landing what had looked a competitive Goodwood handicap in some style, and Another Touch becoming a fifth Listed winner for his sire with victory in the Pomfret Stakes at Pontefract.

However, those hoping to secure a yearling conceived during his final season in Ireland at the upcoming sales won't exactly be spoilt for choice, with his 2016 crop numbering just 19 foals.

It will be fascinating to see if this tribe of sires, noted for its raw speed and juvenile prowess, can prove effective in the Classics
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