A number of sales topping yearlings have gone on to prove hugely influential in the breeding shed. This number includes breed shaping stallions Nureyev, Mr Prospector and A P Indy. Another former sales topper to have made his mark is the late Royal Academy, whose daughters continue to take the world by storm.
Royal Academy, the sales topper of the 1988 Keeneland July Yearling Sale, cost $3.5 million as a yearling and it is safe to say he made his purchase price look cheap.
The son of Nijinsky II, and a close relative of influential champion sire, Storm Cat, left behind more than 160 stakes winners, twice headed the Brazilian General Sires List, and was represented by Gr1 winners in no fewer than nine different countries.
His son, Bel Esprit, made his mark as sire of unbeaten Australian champion, Black Caviar, while another son, Val Royal, was responsible for 2000 Guineas/Irish 2000 Guineas winner, Cockney Rebel. Royal Academy’s son, Ihtiram, also made a mark, through the deeds of his Gr2 King’s Stand Stakes winning daughter, Miss Andretti, whose 19 wins netted connections over $2.8 million in prize money.
However, it is perhaps as a broodmare sire that Royal Academy has truly left his mark.
In South Africa, his daughters include the magnificent Mystic Spring, without question one of the greatest broodmares this country has known. Not only is Mystic Spring dam of six individual stakes winners, including champions Bela-Bela (Dynasty) and Rabiya (Jallad), but her daughters are also now making their mark on the South African stud book.
Mystic Spring’s influence has once again been felt in South Africa this season. She not only ranks as the third dam of Friday’s sales topping Dynasty colt, but her granddaughter, Snowdance (Captain Al), ranks as hot favourite for the Gr1 WSB Cape Fillies Guineas, following her four and a quarter length win in the recent Gr2 Western Cape Fillies Championship.
Snowdance is one of two stakes winners produced by Mystic Spring’s Gr3 Kenilworth Fillies Nursery winner, Spring Lilac (Joshua Dancer), who is also dam of dual stakes winning filly, Victorian Secret (a full-sister to Snowdance).
Spring Lilac’s top class half-sister, Secret Of Victoria (by Royal Academy’s close relative, Goldkeeper), already has two Gr1 winners to her name –The Secret Is Out (Captain Al) and Equus champion, All Is Secret (dam of Friday’s sales topper).
One can but speculate about what heights Mystic Spring’s greatest daughter, Bela-Bela, may achieve at stud!
Royal Academy has enjoyed another productive year in 2017 as a broodmare sire, with his daughters producing at least 18 black type winners throughout the world.
The Gr1 2017 Breeders’ Cup Turf hero, Stormy Liberal (Stormy Atlantic), heads the list of black type winners out of Royal Academy daughters this year, with others including the above mentioned Bela-Bela, and G1 Doncaster Handicap hero, It’s Somewhat (Dynaformer). Interestingly, Stormy Liberal is, like Secret Of Victoria, one of a growing number of high class performers inbred to the mare, Crimson Saint, dam of Royal Academy and second dam of Storm Cat. Other notables inbred to Crimson Saint are such G1 winners as Awesome Rock, Dads Caps, Gr1 sire Foxwedge, and Irish Lights.
Royal Academy is broodmare sire of more than 100 stakes winners, and this total appears likely to grow substantially in years to come. His daughters have produced 23 individual Gr1 winners worldwide. Stakes winners produced by Royal Academy mares include multiple champion sire, and top-class shuttle stallion, Fastnet Rock. One of Danehill’s best sire sons, Fastnet Rock has sired Gr1 winners in both hemispheres and topped Australia’s General Sires List in 2011-2012 and 2014-2015.
To date, Fastnet Rock has over 100 stakes winners to his name, with his 30 plus total of Gr1 winners including five top flight winners this year, Laganore (Premio Lydia Tesio), Merchant Navy (Coolmore Stud Stakes), Zhukova (Man O’War Stakes), Catchy (Blue Diamond Stakes) and Shoals (Empire Rose Stakes).
He is also an important young sire of sires, with his sire sons including the Gr1 producing stallions Stryker, Hinchinbrook, and Foxwedge. Fastnet Rock’s son, Smart Missile, was Champion First Crop Sire in Australia in 2016, while another son, Your Song, was third on Australia’s First Crop Sires table in 2017.
Fastnet Rock is not the only high-class sire produced by a Royal Academy mare. The 1990 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner is also damsire of French champion 2yo Dabirsim (Hat Trick), winner of both the Gr1 Prix Morny and Prix Jean Luc Lagardere.
Dabirsim has made a hugely promising start with his first two-year-olds this year with the grandson of Sunday Silence currently France’s Leading First Crop Sire. The sire of 13 2yo winners to date Dabirsim had a Royal Ascot winner in his very first crop, when daughter, Different League, won this year’s Gr3 Albany Stakes. Dabirsim, who is currently also heading the 2yo list in France, has currently five first crop stakes horses to his credit, including Gr3 Prix Eclipse second Coeur de Beaute.