The rise of Dark Angel (by Acclamation) to become a leading European sire has been something of a surprise and he already has a string of sons who at stud. Those include Group 1 star Lethal Force, the pattern scorers Alhebayeb, Gutaifan and Heeraat, and Group 1-placed Tough As Nails, and they will be joined in 2017 by new recruits Estidhkaar and Markaz.
The latter starts his career at Derrinstown Stud and, in addition to having the considerable attraction of being a full-brother to the Timeform 130-rated dual Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes heroine Mecca's Angel, he has the distinction of having been a notably talented performer in his own right, a dual Group 2-placed six and seven-furlong pattern winner.
He was a pattern-placed winner as a juvenile and at three he won the Group 3 Criterion Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket, was beaten by less than three lengths when fourth to Adaay in the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock, and chased home Limato in the Group 2 Park Stakes at Doncaster.
At four, he won the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes over six furlongs on the tapeta at Newcastle, he was fourth to Richard Pankhurst in the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes over seven at Newbury, and was a three-quarter length runner-up to Donnerschlag in the Group 2 Goldene Peitsche over six at Baden-Baden on what was to be his final start. He was awarded that race in the stewards' room, but that decision was later reversed on appeal.
A good looking horse who made £200,000 in Doncaster as a yearling, Markaz and Mecca's Angel are out of the prolific sprint winner Folga (by Atraf), a stakes-placed mare whose unraced juvenile, Dirayah, and current yearling filly – both by Dark Angel - made 825,000gns and 400,000gns respectively from Book 1 in Newmarket.
His grandam is the pattern-winning sprinter Desert Dawn (by Belfort), whose offspring also include the listed scorer Desert Kaya (by Bikala), and the next dam is a four-times winner called Cast Pearls (by Cutlass).
His talent, and that of his brilliant sister, combined with being a son of the hughly popular Dark Angel, suggest that Markaz will be a popular new addition to the stallion ranks, a potential source of high-class sprinters and of some who will prove best at around a mile.
MARKAZ (IRE) – gr.2012 – Dark Angel – Folga, 3 wins inc Criterion Stakes (Gr3), Chipchase Stakes (Gr3), 2nd Goldene Peitsche (Gr2), Park Stakes (Gr2), Somerville Tattersall Stakes (Gr3), 3rd King Charles II Stakes (L), Spring Trophy Stakes (L). Sire in Ireland. First foals in 2018.
A late addition to the list of new sires for 2017, former leading juvenile Estidhkaar is to join the team at Tara Stud in Co Meath.
Another high-class son of leading sire Dark Angel (by Acclamation), he is a half-brother to the juvenile champion Toormore, who begins his second career at Dalham Hall Stud, and it will be interesting to compare the stallion careers of the two siblings.
Estidhkaar was trained by Richard Hannon, he won an extended six-furlong maiden at Newbury in mid-June of his two-year-old season and followed that with a wide-margin success in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes over seven at Newmarket, beating Aktabantay by four and a half lengths.
He then beat War Envoy by one and a quarter lengths in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster, was favourite when only fourth to Belardo in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes, and he was beaten by just a neck when runner-up to the subsequent sprint champion Muhaarar in the Group 3 Greenham Stakes on his seasonal reappearance at three.
Estidhkaar was unplaced behind Gleneagles in the Group 1 2000 Guineas and behind Esoterique in the Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois, and was then off the track for 14 months before being runner-up to Crazy Horse in a seven furlong conditions event at Salisbury. On his final start, he beat Kool Kompany by a neck in the Listed Ben Marshall Stakes over a mile on fast ground at Newmarket.
As noted above, Estidhkaar is a half-brother to the Group 1 winner and juvenile champion Toormore (by Arakan). The pair are out of the unraced mare Danetime Out (by Danetime), who is a half-sister to the Group 3-placed Easaar (by Machiavellian), and their grandam, Matila (by Persian Bold), is a winning daughter of the Group 3 Curragh Stakes winner Peace Girl (by Dominion).
That mare, who was the joint champion juvenile filly in Ireland in 1987, is the grandam of the Group 3 Jockey Club Cup scorer Hawridge Prince (by Polar Falcon), of Listed Heron Stakes winner Hero's Journey (by Halling) and of several who have been blacktype placed, and she was a half-sister to the Group 3 Norfolk Stakes runner-up and prolific winner Runaway (by Godswalk).
There are plenty of other talented horses to be found in the family, including the Group 2-placed stakes-winning juvenile Pool Music (by Forzando), Grade 2-winning miler Mr Napper Tandy (by Bahamian Bounty), Group 2 winner and Group 1 Champion Stakes runner-up Insatiable (by Don't Forget Me), and Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes heroine Seazun (by Zieten), but those horses are remotely connected to Estidhkaar.
ESTIDHKAAR (IRE) – b.2012 – Dark Angel – Danetime Out, 4 wins inc Champagne Stakes (Gr2), Superlative Stakes (Gr2), Ben Marshall Stakes (L), 2nd Greenham Stakes (Gr3). Sire in Ireland. First foals in 2018.
Sire of Stallions