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DARK ANGEL x CERCLE DE LA VIE    I   15.3 1/2 hh   I   €9,000 Live Foal

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I Presentation

Angel Bleu , a new stallion for Nurlan Bizakov’s Sumbe by Dark Angel  from the Galileo  mare Cercle de La Vie, has a curriculum vitae that should make him one of the most popular first-year stallions in France in 2024.

First off, he was the champion French juvenile colt of 2021 and rated second-best in Europe, along with several others, behind Native Trail  after winning five of his eight starts, including the one-of-a-kind double of the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp and the G1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud.

What’s particularly striking about his vigorous 2-year-old campaign is that he debuted in April and kept racing through October. Early spring juveniles rarely make it to fall Group 1 events, and this marks Angel Bleu’s unique combination of quick development, toughness, and high class as something special, qualities that should attract breeders.

His story doesn’t end at two, either. He trained on. In 2023, as a 4-year-old, Angel Bleu won the G2 Celebration Mile Stakes at Goodwood, and altogether he retires with a record of seven wins from 18 starts in a robust career over three seasons. He was effective from 1000m to 1600m on a variety of ground and was thoroughly genuine.

 

If his racing career was sparkling, his international pedigree is downright blinding.

Pedigree

I Pedigree

Dark Angel is a member of the pronounced specialist speed line of early maturing sprinter/milers that trace to Northern Dancer through Acclamation /Royal Applause /Waajib /Try My Best.

Like Angel Bleu, Dark Angel had a busy juvenile season, making nine starts and winning four races between April and October, and he, too, was a Group 1 winner, accounting for the Middle Park Stakes over 1200m. Unlike his son, however, he didn’t race after two.

But he’s since become a premier sire of speed and at present is represented by 15 Group 1 winners from 100 Stakes winners, 57 at Group level. His Group 1-winning sprinters include such exceptional horses as Battaash, Harry Angel, Art Power, Lethal Force, Khaadem, and Mecca’s Angel, and his milers are headed by Poule d’Essai des Pouliches winner Mangoustine, Persuasive, and Raging Bull, among others.

In contrast to his sire line, Angel Bleu’s immediate family is known for its high-class middle-distance ability. His Galileo dam is from the Australian-bred Danehill  mare Hveger, a Group 2-placed sister to Group 1 winner, champion, and sire Elvstroem, and a half-sister to Group 1 winner, champion, and sire Haradasun. Both Australian champions were ranked at distances up to 1900m.

Hveger, who was placed in the G2 South Australian Oaks, is a daughter of G1 AJC Oaks winner Circles of Gold. This classic foundation behind her, plus her sire Danehill, made her an ideal mate for Galileo, the supreme classic sire in Europe. Hveger and Galileo combined to produce four group winners, headed by the international performer and current sire Highland Reel , who won such Group 1 races as the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, and the Breeders’ Cup Turf, among others. The others were Australian Group 1 winner Cape of Good Hope, Group 2 winner Idaho, and Group 3 winner Nobel Prize.

This is also the family of champion Australian and European sprinter Starspangledbanner, the sire of six Group 1 winners from limited opportunity, including Prix Ganay winner State of Rest. Starspangledbanner’s third dam, Olympic Aim, a daughter of Zamazaan, is the fourth dam of Angel Bleu.

With sires Elvstroem, Haradasun, and Starspangledbanner in his family, Angel Bleu shares a profile with Sumbe’s other two newcomers for 2024, Mishriff  and Belbek, both of whom are also Group 1 winners with notable sires in their immediate families. Not surprisingly, Sumbe’s late leading sire Le Havre had this profile as well and was likely the model for his successors at stud.

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Analyse

I Analysis

Overwhelmingly, mares by various branches of Danzig sires have succeeded with Dark Angel, with Green Desert  particularly noteworthy through Group 1 winners Battaash via Lawman, a son of Invincible Spirit ; Alfareeq  through Cape Cross, the sire of Sea The Stars ; and Lethal Force with Desert Style. Other Green Desert-line sires whose daughters have produced stakes winners with Dark Angel include Oasis Dream ; Showcasing ; Vale of York, a son of Invincible Spirit ; and Kheleyf.

The Danehill branch has been potent as well. Group 1 winner Persuasive is from a mare by the Danehill Dancer  stallion Choisir  – also the sire of Starspangledbanner – and other Dark Angel stakes winners are from mares by such as Dansili, Exceed and Excel, Kodiac, Foxwedge, Danetime, Camacho, and Mastercraftsman. Angel Bleu’s contribution of Danehill will appear in the fourth generation of his progeny.

 

It’s likely that Angel Bleu will benefit from other Danzig-line mares. For example, the young Dark Angel sire Harry Angel already stakes winners from mares by Dansili, Exceed and Excel, and Showcasing.

 

From the home-grown lines, it’s likely that mares by Kendargent  will also suit Angel Bleu. Dark Angel’s Group 1 winner Art Power, for instance, is from a mare by Keltos, a son of Kendor  like Kendargent.

 

Siyouni  mares also may benefit Angel Bleu. Dark Angel has Group 3 winner Dr Zempf  from a Siyouni mare, and the Sumbe-based Group 1 winner Golden Horde  is by Dark Angel’s Lethal Force from a mare by Pivotal  – the sire of Siyouni.

 

The Gone West-line Wootton Bassett  is another stallion that should go well with Angel Bleu. Dark Angel’s classic winner Mangoustine is out of a mare by Zamindar  – the full brother to Zafonic, grandsire of Wootton Bassett through Iffraaj. And note that the Dark Angel son Alhebayeb  has listed winner Abama  from a mare by Iffraaj, as does Harry Angel with listed winner Iconic Moment.

 

Meanwhile, Dark Angel’s Group 1 winner Raging Bull is from a mare by another branch of Gone West in Mr. Greeley, and the Dark Angel stallion Heeraat  got Group 3 winner Lammas  from a Speightstown  mare, all of which suggests that Gone West is beneficial to this sire line.

 

So, too, is Giant’s Causeway, particularly through Shamardal. Dark Angel has four stakes winners from Shamardal mares, including Group 1 winners Mysterious Night  and Althiqa, and Group 1 winner Khaadem from a mare by Footstepsinthesand, a son of Giant’s Causeway.

 

The elephant in the room, of course, is Galileo, whose line is ubiquitous. Will doubling up on the Coolmore icon work? Or should he be avoided? At the moment, Dark Angel has produced only one stakes winner from 33 Galileo mares, and that is Angel Bleu. Moreover, to date there is only one Group 1 winner inbred to Galileo.

 

The suggestion here is to tread carefully with Galileo and utilise some of the other lines noted above.

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