Royal Academy, 1987 b. c., (Nijinsky – Crimson Satan, by Crimson Saint) has become the latest Chef-de-Race and 211th in the series after Steve Miller examined his aptitudinal influence on the modern Thoroughbred. Miller analysed a sample of 319 of Royal Academy’s stock. The progeny examined were taken from racing data from around the world, including North America and Australasia. The test group of 319 were all winners aged 3 or over. Miller found that Royal Academy has a strong prepotent aptitude to produce offspring for speed. The average winning distance of this test group was 8.4f, no surprise then that Royal Academy, the son of the Classic/Solid Chef-de-Race Nijinsky, was named a Brilliant/Intermediate Chef-de-Race.
Chefs-de-Race form the basis of the pedigree classification method that is known as Dosage. Dosage is not a breeding theory but rather a means of identifying aptitudinal type and relating this type to performance on the track. It derived from the premise that a tiny proportion of the stallions that stand at stud have the ability to have a profound and long-term effect on the breed. Such unique stallions that showed the ability to shape the evolution of the breed, became known as chefs-de-race. Today there are five aptitudinal types recognised. These range (from left to right) from Brilliant – Intermediate – Classic – Solid – Professional. Those chefs-de-race on the left of this spectrum tend to transmit speed and early maturity, while those sires on the right side of the spectrum are identified by their ability to transmit stamina.
A counting system is used to assess the influence of chefs-de-race in the first four generations of a pedigree. The Dosage Profile (DP) is worked out from this. The highest possible DP from a four generation pedigree is 64 so bear in mind when looking at these figures (which are commonly found on most pedigrees nowadays), that the higher the DP, the greater the frequency of chefs-de-race in that pedigree. A Dosage Index (DI) can be derived from the DP. The DI is the ratio of speed to stamina as portrayed in the DP. From the DP the Centre of Distribution (CD) can also calculated. As a (very general) rule, a higher DI figure points towards speed while a lower figure points towards stamina.
Royal Academy was the most expensive yearling bought at public auction in 1988 at a cost of $3.5million. He did not disappoint. Trained by the legendary Irish trainer Vincent O’Brien, Royal Academy was Champion 3YO in Ireland and Champion European Miler in 1990. Timeform assigned him a rating of 130. Winner of 4 races (6f-8f), including the July Cup, Gr 1 (6f) at Newmarket, and the Breeders’ Cup Mile, Gr 1 (8f!) at Belmont. He was runner up to the Champion Sprinter Dayjur in the Ladbroke Sprint Cup, at Haydock and runner up to the 2,000 Guineas winner Tirol in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.
As a sire Royal Academy shows a rare, prepotent ability to pass speed onto his offspring. Note this is a marked shift away from the Classic/Solid influence of his sire Nijinsky. Of the 319 test horses that Miller examined, 212 (66.45%) won at distances up to and including a mile. Just 13.48% of the sample horses examined won at distances of 12f or over.
Royal Academy ranked 11th on the 2009/’10 Australian Broodmare Sire list with 67 winners, 5 SWs, 3GSWs and 1 Gr 1 winner. His top earner as a broodmare sire this past season was Heart of Dreams, a winner from 1200m – 1800m (6f-9f). Royal Academy’s multiple Gr 1 winning son, Bel Esprit, a winner from 1000m – 1350m (5f-6.5f) ranked 24th on the 2009/’10 Australian General Sires list. His highest earner was Black Caviar, winner at 1000m and 1200m (5f&6f).
Royal Academy’s legacy is sure to continue for some time to come. It is fitting that nearing the close of his stallion career at Coolmore Australia, this Champion racehorse and hugely influential sire has joined those elite few sires that are recognised as being responsible, in the main, for shaping the evolution of the modern Thoroughbred.
And we haven’t seen the last of his runners yet! To date, Royal Academy has sired 1158 winners (66.4% winners/runners), 156 SWs (8.9%), 86 GSWs and 21 individual Gr 1 winners.