By Elaine Belval.
Avalyn Hunter’s book on the great Northern Dancer is aptly titled “The Kingmaker.” I vaguely remember in the early 1990s when the good French stallion Linamix sired his first G1 winner (Miss Satamixa), becoming the first fourth generation Northern Dancer-line stallion to sire a G1 winner. Twenty years later, we have several fifth generation stallions siring G1 winners, and few are as good as Dark Angel.
Dark Angel is the sire of Lethal Force, winner of the prestigious G1 July Cup at Newmarket in course-record time. Race times are not as considered important in England as they are in the US, but when a horse “lowers the mark,” it generates buzz. Lethal Force was bred by Declan Johnson, is owned by Alan Craddock, and is trained by Clive Cox. This is the colt’s second G1 win, after the Diamond Jubilee S. at Royal Ascot last month.
“He came back from Ascot really well and he was cherry-ripe today,” trainer Clive Cox said. “To break the (July Course) track record is brilliant.”
That Dark Angel is siring speedy horses should not come as a surprise. Dark Angel made all nine of his starts at two (from April to October), with four wins, including a maiden win at Chester in May, the G2 Mill Reef S., and the G1 Middle Park S. at six furlongs on the same Newmarket course where his son set the new speed record.
Dark Angel is by the English-Bred Acclamation (not to be confused with the great G1 winner in the US by Unusual Heat). Acclamation won the G2 Diadem S. at Ascot and placed in the G1 Nunthorpe S. to champion Oasis Dream. He has 20 SWs so far, including GSWs Dark Angel, Equiano (twice winner of the G1 King’s Stand S. at Royal Ascot), and Lilbourne Lad. He also shows a propensity for siring speedy horses, with most of his progeny’s stakes victories coming at seven furlongs and under.
Dark Angel’s first crop are just four-year-olds and Lethal Force is clearly the star. However, the same weekend, his colt Heeraat finished a game second in the City Wall S. (LR) at York. The four-year-old filly Lily’s Angel won a G3 at Lingfield earlier in the year.
His second crop contains Alhebayeb, winner of the prestigious G2 July S. (also at Newmarket’s July meeting).
Other runners to watch include the G1-placed horses Gabrial (a SW), Sovereign Debt, and Tough as Nails.
Dark Angel stands at Morristown Lattin Stud in Ireland and his 2013 fee was €12,500.
And perhaps in ten years, we will be talking about a sixth generation Northern Dancer sire.