Acclamation was not an obvious candidate to make a long-term impact as a stallion. As a son of Group 1-winning sprinter Royal Applause (by Waajib) and of juvenile pattern scorer Princess Athena (by Ahonoora), he was bred for speed and precocity. As a Group 1-placed, Group 2-winning sprinter he fully earned his place at stud.
The Rathbarry Stud stallion has built a solid reputation as a source of talented sprinters and juveniles, some of his progeny are effective at up to a mile, and he has also become sought-after as a source of stallion sons. The latter was unexpected.
Most good sires will, of course, end up with one or more sons who earn a place in the covering shed, but those who get a high rate of successful sire sons are fewer in number. They also tend to come from among those with strong Group 1 relations and from families that have a history of producing successful stallions.
The first few sons of Acclamation have made a good start. One has excelled, one looks like getting his first Group 1 winner before long, and a third looks like getting lots of winners, talented handicappers, and some occasional blacktype horses. The fourth is a freshman who is off the mark with his first winner.
This does not justify the accolade 'sire of sires', which is more conservatively reserved for those stallions who get at least half a dozen sons with Group 1-winning progeny and overall decent records to their names, but it does represent an emerging trend. Although it is still quite early for him in this role, the signs are that the Acclamation stallions can enjoy plenty of success at stud.
Dark Angel is the standout among them and Yeomanstown Stud's grey has shown himself to be better than his sire, as a sire of racehorses. It will be a while yet before we can assess and judge his earliest stallion sons, but four of his pattern winners are already working in that role.
Equiano, who stands at Newsells Park Stud, is Acclamation's best racing son, and the oldest progeny of the Group 1 July Cup runner-up and dual Group 1 King's Stand Stakes winner are four.
His first crop includes the Group 3 Firth of Clyde Stakes winner Dark Reckoning (dam by Oasis Dream), recent Listed Weatherbys Leisure Stakes scorer The Tin Man (dam by Bishop of Cashel), and also Strath Burn (dam by Irish River). That Charles Hills-trained four-year-old was beaten by half a length when runner-up to Kool Kompany in the Group 2 Prix Robert Papin as a juvenile, he won the Group 3 Hackwood Stakes last year, was short-headed by Twilight Son in the Group 1 Sprint Cup at Haydock, and not disgraced when fourth in a listed contest at Windsor on his seasonal reappearance.
That was the race won by The Tin Man, a James Fanshawe-trained gelding who was fourth in the Group 1 Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot in October, and both of them hold entries in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes and Group 1 Darley July Cup.
Equiano's second crop includes the juvenile listed scorers Belvoir Bay (dam by Rock Of Gibraltar) and Waipu Cove (dam by Noverre), last year's Group 3 Prix du Bois and Italian listed race winner Fly On The Night (dam by Green Desert), and also Baciami Piccola (dam by Danehill Dancer), a filly who was stakes-placed in France and Italy as a juvenile and won the Grade 3 Florida Oaks over eight and a half furlongs at Tampa Bay Downs in March.
He has also had a juvenile stakes winner in Australia, two pattern-placed runners and a listed-placed filly, and a long list of non-blacktype horses who have won at least once. Overall, he has made a promising start to his stallion career.
Equiano is the best of several winners out of Entente Cordiale, a mare who was placed once as a four-year-old and who is by Ela-Mana-Mou (by Pitcairn), a middle-distance star who is usually associated with stamina rather than with speed. The mare's two-year-old is a full-brother to her sprint star, that young colt made 220,000gns at the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, and the best of her other progeny is Evita Peron (by Pivotal), a pattern-placed dual stakes-winner who was successful over seven furlongs and at a mile.
Equiano's grandam, Mirmande (by Kris), is an unraced full-sister to stakes-placed Aljood. His third dam, Secala (by Secretariat), was blacktype-placed in the USA, the best of her offspring is the Listed Ulster Harp Derby scorer Sir Simon (by Sir Ivor), and her descendants include a trio of listed scorers, best of whom would be the triple six-furlong stakes winner and Group 3 Renaissance Stakes runner-up Artistic Jewel (by Excellent Art).
These are not the sort of pedigree credentials that one expects to see in a promising blacktype sire who looks likely to get a first Group 1 winner before long.
The fourth generation of a family is distant and makes little contribution to the horse we see in front of us, but its highlights can illustrate the depth of the family's success, or lack thereof. And if its members include any successful stallions, especially ones who had limited opportunities and/or represented less successful male lines than does the subject horse, then their presence can augur well for his prospects; the precedent for stallion success has been established.
The fourth dam of Equiano is the Grade 2 Firenze Handicap winner and Grade 1 Top Flight Handicap third Aladancer (by Northern Dancer), but although her Grade 1-winning son Vigliotto (by Blushing Groom) and graded-winning descendants such as Wixim (by Diesis), Run Softly (by Deputy Minister), Latin American (by Riverman) and Minister Eric (by Old Trieste) feature among her representatives at stud, none has achieved anything of note.
Her female descendants include the New Zealand Group 1 1000 Guineas heroine and champion King's Rose (by Redoute's Choice), classic-placed New Zealand Group 1 winner Anabandana (by Anabaa), triple US Grade 1 star Devil May Care (by Malibu Moon), and also Candarliya (by Dalakhani), the Group 2 Prix de Royallieu heroine who chased home Treve in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille in September. Those notable performers are too distantly related to Equiano to have any real connection to him or to his progeny.
His racing talent and early sire results suggest that Equiano is more like his sire than typical of the distaff side of his family, and his early achievements suggest that he will become a good source of sprinters and of some who will also be effective at a mile.
With horses such as Strath Burn and The Tin Man among his first crop, he has already demonstrated his ability to get horses who can do well at the highest level, and there is no reason why that that pair should remain their sire's only Group 1 performers.
EQUIANO (FR) – b.2005 – Acclamation – Entente Cordiale, 7 wins inc King's Stand Stakes (Gr1-twice), Palace House Stakes (Gr3), Abernant Stakes (L), 2nd July Cup (Gr1), Temple Stakes (Gr2), Prix du Gros-Chene (Gr2), Abernant Stakes (L), 3rd Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte (Gr2). Sire in England & Australia. First foals in 2012. 8 SW inc BACIAMI PICCOLA (Gr3), DARK RECKONING (Gr3), FLY ON THE NIGHT (Gr3), STRATH BURN (Gr3), BELVOIR BAY, THE TIN MAN, VALLIANO, WAIPU COVE, Blood Moon (Gr3), Lola Beaux (Gr3), etc.