Media Centre

Battle Of Hastings

Battle Of Hastings: another runner by Royal Applause to flourish in the US

  PICTURE: Racing Post  

Battle Of Hastings: more stateside Applause

Battle Of Hastings
Royal Applause - Subya (Night Shift)

JUST what is it about North America that turns Royal Applause's useful European-raced progeny into star performers?

Perhaps it's about different training techniques. Or the – generally – firmer courses there. Or maybe it's just that theyleave here when still immature and come naturally to their peak on the other side of the Pond.

Whatever the reason, it has become a habit.

Remember Ticker Tape? She was the filly judged to be the worst of her sire's 25 foals at auction in 2001, taken home when the bidding stopped at 6,500gns.

Having made 20,000gns as a yearling in Tattersalls' lowest-grade sale, she acquitted herself well at two for Jamie Osborne, collecting a couple of wins and, five days before her next date with the auctioneer, earning black type as third in Newbury's Listed Radley Stakes.

Properly appreciated that time, Ticker Tape was bought for 100,000gns by agent Gordian Troeller, who promptly packed her off to the States, and a month later she finished second in the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes.

And that was nothing compared with what was to come in the following season, when she notched Grade 1 successes in the American Invitational Oaks at Hollywood Park and the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes at Keeneland.

Then there was Whatsthescript, who broke his maiden at Roscommon for David Wachman's stable, then finished third behindTeofilo in the Tyros Stakes before a private sale took him Stateside.

Before the end of that season (2006) he had won a division of the Grade 3 Generous Stakes, and last year, after Grade 2 victories in the American Handicap and Del Mar Handicap, he finished third to Goldikova and Kip Deville in the Breeders' Cup Mile.

Beaten a head and a couple of necks in another Grade 1 event, the Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park, two months ago, Whatsthescript is continuing to indicate that he ranks among America's best on turf and synthetic surfaces.     

But now there is a younger son of Royal Applause grabbing the headlines, a gelding who won nurseries at Newmarket and Doncaster for Michael Bell last year before a 95,000gns deal at Tattersalls' Autumn Sale resulted in a transfer to the barn of Jeff Mullins in California.

Battle Of Hastings may not have seemed much of a bargain when he finished seventh of eight in the Generous Stakes on his American debut at the end of November, but his performances in 2009 tell a different tale.

He began early in March with a smooth victory over another formerly English-trained runner in Flashmans Papers in the Grade 3 Baldwin Stakes (6½f) on Santa Anita's downhill turf course, then picked up the minor La Puente Stakes (1m) there in April before shipping to Louisville for the American Turf Stakes (1m½f).

The Churchill Downs event was one that got away, and Battle Of Hastings may have been unlucky. Left with plenty to do turning in, he finished strongly, but not strongly enough to catch the longshot Orthodox, who was receiving 4lb and held on grittily by three quarters of a length.

The gelding's next target was the Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial Downs in Virginia, a Grade 2 contest over 1m1½f in which he was set to concede 2lb to all eight of his opponents.

Having to race wide around both turns promised to prove a hindrance, but once in the straight a gap appeared on the rail, jockey Tyler Baze pointed him at it, and he was away in a flash, opening a clear lead. Straight Story pounced late with a threatening challenge, but Battle Of Hastings held on to score by a head.

On Saturday, over 1m2f of the same course for the Grade 2 Virginia Derby, Straight Story was again in opposition, this time receiving 4lb, andhis connections adopted a different strategy. Off the final turn, where Battle Of Hastings was forced to go five wide, the Giant's Causeway colt burst into a clear lead of almost three lengths, but once again the gelding was equal to his task, overcominghis rival inside the final furlong and winning by the same margin as before.

Those two narrow triumphs at Colonial Downs added a total of $720,000 to Battle of Hastings's bank balance, which now stands at $906,592, and they allow owner Mike House to dream of further riches to come.

The Colonial Turf Cup and Virginia Derby formed the first two legs of the Jacobs Investments Grand Slam of Grass, a series completed by the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park on August8 and the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita on November 7, and there is a $5 million bonus awaiting the horse who can win all four.

Needless to say, it remains a tall order, but Battle Of Hastings is the only possible winner, and his trainer need not ponder long over the gelding's schedule for the next few months.

Royal Applause, who has just completed his 12th season in service at the Royal Studs, was all about speed in his racing days, as was to be expected of a half-brother to the flying Lyric Fantasy from the family of Pappa Fourway, one of the greatest of post-war sprinters.

Unbeaten in four starts as a juvenile, with a Middle Park victory to his credit, he was given the opportunity to showthat he could get 1m in the Guineas, but he patently ran out of stamina, and it was another year before we saw him at his best, inevitably over shorter trips.

At four he was proclaimed Europe's champion older sprinter, displaying merit of a high order in Group 1 company as winner of the Haydock Sprint Cup, runner-up in the July Cup, and third in the Prix de l'Abbaye.

The fact that he was by Waajib may not have been calculated to excite breeders too much, but his own physical and athletic qualities stood him in good stead, and a sensible initial fee of £6,500 ensured that he would not lack patronage.

With the likes of Acclamation and Majestic Missile – both themselves at stud now, the former in high repute – in his early crops, he soon showed that he could transmit his speed and class, and for the seasons in which Battle Of Hastings and home-based Pattern winners Finjaan, Please Sing and Habaayib were conceived he covered at £20,000. Reduced again to £9,000, he has become used to serving three-figure books.

The fact that Royal Applause has also sired high-class middle-distance performers is not so surprising. We have seen much the same from such as Ahonoora, Indian Ridge and Pivotal, and we might almost have expected that Battle Of Hastings would relish tests beyond sprint distances.

After all, his dam Subya won the Listed Lupe Stakes, getting 1m2f well, and her previous best produce, Villa Carlotta, claimed a Listed victory in Ireland over 1m4f. Don't write Battle Of Hastings off in the Breeders' Cup Turf, especially if he already has the Secretariat Stakes under his belt.

bred by Myriad Communications and New England Stud in England; 62,000gns Tatts October 2 yearling, 95,000gns Tattersalls Autumn two-year-old

Sire: Royal Applause

Bred by Gainsborough Stud Management Ltd in England. Won 9 (5-6f) of 15 races, viz. 4 (inc. Coventry S.-Gr3, Gimcrack S.-Gr2, Middle Park S.-Gr1) out of 4 at 2 years, 1 out of 4 at 3 years, 4 (inc. Duke of York S.-Gr3, Cork and Orrery S.-Gr3, Haydock Sprint Cup-Gr1) out of 7 at 4 years. Also 2nd in July Cup, 3rd in Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp at 4. Earned £374,437.

Smallish (15.2 1/2 hh), very well made, fluent mover. High-class sprinter at 2 and 4 years, best at 6f, effective in most ground conditions, untested on extremes.

Well-bred. The best son of a high-classmiler, out of the dam of Lyric Fantasy (Nunthorpe S.-Gr1) and In Command (Dewhurst S.-Gr1). From a notable family developed at Ballykisteen, inc. Pappa Fourway.

Stands at The Royal Studs, Sandringham, Norfolk, at a fee of £9,000 (Oct 1). Sire of 9 crops of racing age, inc. notable winners: Acclamation (Gr2), Mister Cosmi (Gr2), Majestic Missile (Gr3), Nevisian Lad (Gr2), Peak to Creek (Gr3), Take a Bow (Gr3), Ticker Tape (American Invitational Oaks-Gr1, Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup S.-Gr1), Moth Ball (Gr3), Tremar (Gr3), Crime Scene (Gr3), Lovelace (Gr2), Whatsthescript (Gr2), Battle of Hastings (Gr2), Finjaan (Gr3), Please Sing (Gr2), Habaayib (Gr3).

Dam: Subya

Bred by Nawara Stud Co. Ltd. in England. Won 5 (5f-1m2f) of 14 races, viz. 2 (1 Listed) out of 8 at 2 years, 2 (both Listed) out of 6 at 3 years. Also Gr3-placed at 2. Earned £61,216.

Smart performer, up to Gr3 standard. Best form at 1m2f. Well suited by fast ground.

Quite well bred. By a successful sire. Half-sister to a winner of 10 races in Italy. Dam winner, half-sister to Shine Share (Listed winner, Gr3-placed), to dam of Listed winner Leave a Legacy, and to grand-dam of Gr2 winners Wi Dud and Tariq.

Grand-dam stakes-placed half-sister to Irish Derby winner Law Society, Gr2 winner Strike Your Colors, and two lesser stakes-winners.  Next dam stakes-winning half-sister to US champion 2-y-o Top Knight.

High-class family.

To stud at 4 years and dam of: Roman Emperor (1997 c by Lycius; unplaced), Villa Carlotta (1998 f by Rainbow Quest; Listed winner), Superlove (1999 f by Hector Protector; unraced), Seeyaaj (2000 c by Darshaan; winner), Bold Phoenix (2001 c by Dr Fong; winner), Subyan Dreams (2002 f by Spectrum; Listed-placed winner), Ohana (2003 c by Mark of Esteem; winner), Color Man (2004 c by Rainbow Quest; winner), Jemima's Art (2005 f by Fantastic Light; winner), Battle of Hastings (2006 g by Royal Applause; Gr2 winner), Fame Is the Spur (2007 f by Motivator; unraced to date). She has a yearling filly by Motivator, and was sold, in foal to Motivator again, for 15,000gns at 2008 Tattersalls December Sales.


A high-class and versatile performer, clearly among the best of his age on grass in North America.





King's Theatre £971,127
Presenting £917,929
Oscar £801,946
Beneficial £768,307
Milan £725,269
Westerner £564,048
Flemensfirth £517,780
Kayf Tara £486,533
Stowaway £413,173
Midnight Legend £397,177