Dark Angel Influence Spreads To KY Through Raging Bull

"Everyone wants to breed an athlete and he certainly presents himself as an athlete.” Sean Tugel

Fresh off a season in which he earned the mantle of Europe’s leading sire of 2-year-olds, it would seem that Dark Angel (Ire)’s legacy as a sire of precocious and classy sprinter/milers is set. The question inevitably becomes, then, who is next in line to carry on his branch of the Acclamation (GB) sireline?

The 17-year-old Dark Angel already has a Group 1-producing sire son in his G1 Diamond Jubilee S. and G1 July Cup-winning Lethal Force (Ire), whose Golden Horde (Ire) also won at the Royal meeting when he took the G1 Commonwealth Cup in 2020. Both Lethal Force and Golden Horde are now at stud in France. Dark Angel sons Gutaifan (Ire), Markaz (Ire), Alhebayeb (Ire) and Heeraat (Ire) have also sired stakes winners, and a significant chapter could be written over the coming seasons, with Dark Angel’s world champion sprinter Harry Angel (Ire)’s first runners set to hit the track in just a few months.

In the meantime, Dark Angel’s line also has a chance to branch out intercontinentally, with his son RAGING BULL (Fr), a Grade I-winning turf miler, about to cover his first book at Gainesway Farm in Kentucky.

RAGING BULL was in no way a small coup for Gainesway, or for Kentucky breeders: with the exception of only the brilliant gelded sprinter Battaash (GB),  RAGING BULL is Dark Angel’s most accomplished son by both earnings (£1,335,394) and Grade/Group 1 wins (3).

“He has been very popular,” Sean Tugel of Gainesway acknowledged. “He’s been well-supported by his syndicate and that includes Mr. Brant-he’s going to breed a large number of mares to him. The breeders who have come to see him, most are leaving here booking a mare to him; they like what they see. Certainly the initial contracts and the initial interest in him tells us he’s going to be very well supported his first year.”

Among the black-type mares booked to RAGING BULL before the start of the covering season are Boat’s Ghost (Silver Ghost), the dam of Grade I-winning turf horse Finnegans Wake (Powerscourt {GB}) and the stakes-winning filly Puca (Big Brown); the multiple stakes-winning and graded-placed Courtesan (Street Sense); the multiple Grade II winner and Grade I-placed Great Hot (Brz) (Orientate); the multiple graded stakes-placed General Consensus (Giant’s Causeway); and Concert Strike (Smart Strike), the dam of three stakes horses including the listed-winning Night Strike (Liaison).

Indeed, social media was awash with praise for RAGING BULL as breeders ventured out to inspect him during the November sales.

“I think breeders were pleasantly surprised by his physical presence when he comes out,” Tugel said. “He has a lot of leg under him and he has bone and substance. Not everybody who was coming out to see a son of Dark Angel was expecting to see that kind of physical presence. He’s an extremely good mover and uses himself extremely well. Everyone wants to breed an athlete and he certainly presents himself as an athlete.”

Read the entire feature on the TDN >