Dark Angel (by Acclamation) has exceeded expectations at stud and the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes winner had a phenomenal year in 2017, headlined by his brilliant sprinting sons Battaash and Harry Angel, Group 1 stars rated 136 and 132 respectively by Timeform.
He has also proved his ability to get high-class milers, which gives him the potential to get classic horses, and his best in that division include Timeform 123-rated Persuasive who beat Ribchester by a length in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in October.
Stage Magic is not yet in their league, but the Charlie Appleby-trained bay won the Group 3 Prix de Chenes over a mile on soft ground at Chantilly in early September, holding on in a three-way photo to deny Olmedo and Zyzzyva by a short-head and neck, and with a six-length gap back to the fourth.
This came just over two weeks after he had been short-headed by Francesco Bere in the valuable Listed Criterium du Fonds Europeen de l'Elevage over the same trip at Deauville – in which subsequent dual stakes winner Alounak was fourth.
He was a neck runner-up over seven furlongs at Haydock on his debut in mid-June, won by four and a half lengths over the same trip at Newbury the following month, but disappoined in very soft ground at Chantilly – in the nine-furlong Group 3 Prix de Conde – on his only other outing.
He is due to make his seasonal reappearance in the Listed bet365 Fielden Stakes over that same trip at Newmarket tomorrow, and if has inherited some of the family's stamina, as shown by his dam's half-brother and others farther back on the page, then Stage Magic could be a smart 10-furlong horse in the making.
The early March-born colt was bred by Paul and Billy McEnery, he cost 160,000gns in Newmarket as a foal, and he carries the famous Godolphin colours. He is the second foal of the twice-raced Witnessed (by Authorized), who beat Esentepe by a length at Beverley on her only juvenile start, and his now two-year-old Bungle Inthejungle (by Exceed And Excel) half-sister made €55,000 at the Goffs Sportsmans Sale in late September.
His grandam is the Grade 1-placed mile to 10-furlong filly Magic Mission, whose best win came in the Grade 3 Royal Heroine Stakes, and that makes him inbred 3x3 to her sire Machiavellian (by Mr Prospector). The combination of that cross with being a son of Dark Angel might suggest he has a future as a miler – and that is possible – but the exploits of his dam's star brother offer hope that he will stay farther.
That colt is the distinctively marked Talismanic (by Medaglia d'Oro), winner of the Group 2 Prix Maurice de Nieuil over 14 furlongs before returning to the mile and a half to beat Beach Patrol by half a length in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf at Del Mar in early November. He then chased home Highland Reel in the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin in December and made a winning seasonal reappearance at over nine and a half furlongs at Chantilly last month, beating Cloth Of Stars by one and three-quarter lengths on the polytrack.
Talismanic holds an entry in the Group 1 Investec Coronation Cup at Epsom, while Stage Magic is engaged in both the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) and Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris.
Magic Mission is a half-sister to the dam of Japanese mile Group 3 scorer Logi Cry (by Heart's Cry) and she is a granddaughter of Capo Di Monte (by Final Straw), the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes winner and Group 2 Sun Chariot Stakes runner-up who took a Grade 3 handicap in the USA and whose Group 1-winning half-sister Wind In Her Hair (by Alzao) is the dam of Japanese Triple Crown hero and phenomenal stallion Deep Impact (by Sunday Silence).
The fifth dam of Stage Magic is, therefore, Burghclere (by Busted), daughter of dual classic heroine Highclere (by Queen's Hussar) and so a half-sister to Height Of Fashion (by Bustino). That pattern-winning filly is best known as being the dam of Nashwan (by Blushing Groom), Nayef (by Gulch) and Unfuwain (by Northern Dancer), grandam of Group 1 1000 Guineas star Ghanaati (by Giant's Causeway), and ancestor of many others of note.
It remains to be seen if he is good enough to justify his classic and other Group 1 entry, but it will be disappointing if Stage Magic fails to improve on the official 106 and Timeform 107 figures that he earned last year, especially as the distaff side of his pedigree suggests that progress is likely.