The future looks bright for Dark Angel's 2017 two-year-old crop
Siblings to Mecca's Angel and Barney Roy among this year's juveniles
Dark Angel has made a growing impact, both on the track and in the sales ring, since he retired to stud after a nine-race two-year-old campaign that included four wins, most notably a gutsy success in Group 1 the Middle Park Stakes. He has earned his reputation at stud through repeatedly siring hugely talented juveniles such as Estidhkaar, Gutaifan and Birchwood. But with recent results having seen him prove that his talents as a stallion are by no means confined to the two-year-old division, he is now widely considered one of the finest sires around.
The likes of dual Nunthorpe winner Mecca's Angel, July Cup winner Lethal Force, and the redoubtable Sovereign Debt, who has now won back-to-back Group races since joining Ruth Carr this season, have highlighted that his stock plainly possess ample longevity.
His two-year-old crop of 2017 has already thrown up a host of promising performers, namely the winning pair Frozen Angel, who looked unlucky when second in a Sandown Listed event and Maggies Angel, who also shaped with distinct promise when upped in class at York on her latest start, as well as Thursday's Haydock scorers Darkanna and Ertiyad. Those juveniles were conceived in 2014, when, in the afterglow of Lethal Force winning the 2013 Diamond Jubilee Stakes and July Cup, Dark Angel's covering fee was more than doubled to €27,500 from €12,500.
His 2014 coverings produced 129 foals from a book of mares that consisted of 105 winners (65 per cent), 51 black-type producers (32 per cent), 25 black-type winners (16 per cent) and 13 Group winners (eight per cent).
Among that number are the likes of a half-sister to 2,000 Guineas second Barney Roy named Wisdom Mind, a half-sister to multiple Group 2 winner Bow Creek called Dolcissimo and Jazirat, a brother to Superlative Stakes scorer Birchwood, who is in training with Charlie Appleby having been bought by John Ferguson for 220,000gns as a yearling.
Perhaps the most eye-catching among his two-year-old crop, however, is the Ed Dunlop-trained Faay, a sister to Mecca's Angel and the Group 3 winner Markaz, who was bought by Charlie Gordon-Watson for 400,000gns. The agent also purchased Final Set, a sister to the Group 3-placed Midnite Angel now with Sir Michael Stoute, for 700,00gns. Both were sourced from Book 1 of last year's Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, where the son of Acclamation had 21 yearlings sell for an average of 227,095gns and a total of 4,769,000gns.
Other noteworthy members of his 2017 crop of juveniles include an unnamed half-brother to Criterium International hero Zafisio, now in training with Jeremy Noseda having been bought by Kerri Radcliffe for 300,000gns at the Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale in April; Delph Crescent - a 100,000gns half-brother to recent Poule d'Essai des Pouliches winner Precieuse with Richard Fahey; an unnamed brother to Log Out Island; and North Angel - a half-sister to Group 3 scorer Moonstone Magic with David Brown.
It could also be seen as a sign of which Dark Angel's career is heading that his 2014 book also included a Classic winner in the shape of 2006 1,000 Guineas heroine Speciosa, whose son, named Dark Spec, is now with the same handler that guided his dam through her illustrious racing career.
There may not be the host of Group 1 siblings contained in the likes of Dubawi's and Galileo's two-year-old crops, but that Dark Angel has already achieved so much clearly bodes well for his better-bred crops, while this year's two-year-olds look well up to enhancing their sire's already enviable record.
Of course, there is still plenty in the pipeline for Dark Angel, with his crops bred off fees of €60,000 in 2016 and €65,000 in 2017 still to look forward to. He may have already come an awfully long way in a short space of time, but it seems that the only direction the Yeomanstown Stud resident is likely to head is up.