"A stallion with the potential to sire classic winners" – that was my assessment of Holy Roman Emperor (by Danehill) in the Irish Racing Yearbook 2010, which was published several months before Coolmore's juvenile star had his first runners.
On May 26th of this year, he notched up his fourth Group 1 classic star when Romanised put up an impressive performance to beat last year's two-year-old champion U S Navy Flag by two and a quarter lengths in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh.
Before then, his daughter Homecoming Queen had run away with the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket in 2012, several months before Rollout The Carpet won the New Zealand 1000 Guineas, and followed by triple Group 1 ace Mongolian Khan who took both the New Zealand Derby and Australian Derby in 2015.
His overall tally stands at 73 stakes winners worldwide, of whom 11 have won at least once at the highest level. Much of his most notable success has come abroad – including with Hong Kong standouts Designs On Rome and Beauty Only – and his current fee is just €15,000. His yearlings made up to 210,000gns last year and that transaction, at the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, came just under two months before his seven-year-old daughter Inca Princess changed hands for €1,900,000 in Goffs.
Romanised, whom Timeform rated 104 at two and 122 after his classic success, has always been held in high regard by trainer Ken Condon. He made a winning debut over six furlongs at Navan last April, was only beaten just over two lengths when unplaced behind Rajasinghe in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Ascot, and by over three lengths when out of the frame behind Sioux Nation in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.
His final outing of 2017, however, was full of promise and that second-place finish looks even better now when you consider that the colt who beat him by two lengths in the Group 3 Solario Stakes over seven furlongs at Sandown was none other than Masar, this year's Group 1 Investec Derby hero and runaway Group 3 Craven Stakes winner.
Had Romanised not run in the Listed Tetrarch Stakes at Naas on his seasonal reappearance in early May then it is likely that, with his Sandown performance being most recent on his record, he would have been sent off at shorter than the 25/1 at which he returned at the Curragh. He was unplaced behind Imaging that first day, but given his pedigree it is no surprise that he has shown such marked improvement when stepped up to a mile.
He holds an entry in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Ascot, but there is not really anything in his pedigree or race record that suggests sprinting might be his game. He is bred to be a miler who is likely stay 10 furlongs, and the way he stormed home at the Curragh bears that out.
He also holds entries in the Group 1 St James's Palace Stakes, Group 1 Qatar Sussex Stakes, and Group 1 Qipco Irish Champion Stakes, which look more suitable targets. After all, he is a three-parts brother to the aforementioned Timeform 130-rated Hong Kong four-time 10-furlong Group 1 star Designs On Rome.
Might he stay a mile and a half? Yes, it is possible.
Horses such as Mongolian Khan and notable Irish filly Banimpire – who won the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes and was short-headed by Blue Bunting in the Group 1 Irish Oaks – prove that offspring of Holy Roman Emperor can be fully effective at that trip. And then there's all the stamina in the distaff side of Romanised's pedigree.
The best of his siblings are Rock On Romance (by Rock Of Gibraltar) and Fictional Account (by Stravinsky), both of whom stayed two miles. The former, who won the all-aged Group 3 St Leger Italiano over 14 furlongs, ran away with a two-mile listed contest on heavy ground at Hamburg, whereas Fictional Account, who sprang a surprise when beating Fame And Glory by a neck in a 14-furlong listed event at the Curragh, won the Listed Fenwolf Stakes over two miles at Ascot 11 months before.
That pair were sired by a mile champion and by a sprint champion respectively, which suggests that their dam, Romantic Venture (by Indian Ridge), has been passing on a stamina influence rather than the speed shown by her sire and grandam. And that probably comes via Alleged (by Hoist The Flag), sire of her non-winning dam, Summer Trysting.
Romantic Venture, who was a four-length debut winner of an eight and a half-furlong Galway maiden as a three-year-old, is a full-sister to Sights On Gold, who was a Group 3 scorer over 10 and 11 furlongs in England and only beaten by half a length when runner-up to Phoenix Reach in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase over 12 furlongs at Sha Tin.
Their half-brother Simple Exchange won the Listed Magnolia Stakes over 10 furlongs on the polytrack at Kempton and the Grade 2 American Derby over a half-furlong less at Arlington, they all share a dam with Designs On Rome, and they were all bred by Moyglare Stud. So too was Fictional Account.
Romanised, on the other hand, was bred by Monica Aherne, and Rock On Romance was bred by Brendan Corbett.
Rekindled Affair (by Rainbow Quest), an unraced half-sister to Summer Trysting, has also done her part for the family as her three stakes-winning offspring are headed by Australian 10-furlong Group 2 scorer Rekindled Interest (by Redoute's Choice) and the Moyglare Stud-bred filly Where We Left Off (by Dr Devious), who won a nine-furlong Grade 3 at Monmouth Park a month before failing by just half a length to add a similar contest over 11 furlongs at Saratoga. The mare's other one is 11-furlong French listed scorer Porticcio (by Lomitas) who later won over hurdles in Ireland.
The third dam of Romanised is stakes-winning sprinter Seasonal Pickup (by The Minstrel), and while one could suggest that her speed could combine with that of Holy Roman Emperor to produce a sprinter, the particular branch of her line that has yielded the recent classic star is one that has more stamina, a fairly reliable source of milers and middle-distance horses, with some who can stay farther.
She was among the quickest representatives of her Derby-winning sire, she was out of 10-furlong filly Bubinka (by Nashua), and those produced by her siblings include Group 1 Irish Derby hero Grey Swallow (by Daylami).
Farther back it is the family of Group 2-placed Taufan (by Stop The Music) – who sired Group 1 stars Tagula and Taufan's Melody – and of Best In Show (by Traffic Judge), the US Grade 3 scorer who went on to found a hugely influential female family of her own.
With all of this on the page, it is no surprise that Romanised has shown his best form to date when stepped up to a mile, and there is every reason to hope that he can become one of the season's top performers from eight to 10 furlongs.
And, as a Danehill-line (by Danzig) representative from a branch of the family of Taufan and, remotely, of the many notable male descendants of Best In Show (El Gran Senor, Redoute's Choice, Xaar, Try My Best, Bated Breath, Cityscape, etc) there is every reason to hope that a successful stallion career awaits him whenever his racing days come to an end.