Way back in 1978 a colt named Try My Best was all the rage for the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket following an unblemished record of four wins from four starts. Trained by the legendary Vincent O’Brien at Ballydoyle to win the G1 Dewhurst Stakes and become Champion two-year-old, the son of the truly great Northern Dancer inexplicably finished stone cold last in the Guineas and was never seen on a racecourse again.
Furthermore, it can easily be argued that his second career as a stallion also fell short. Though he sired 30 Stakes winners at a very healthy rate of 9.7% to runners, top-flight winners were conspicuous by their absence. But against all odds, the Try My Best line has survived not only in Europe but also in Australia and New Zealand.
Make no mistake, Try My Best was a tip-top two-year-old, his Dewhurst victory earning him a Timeform rating of 130. And it was plain to see that he had a dash of brilliance about him, just like his brother El Gran Senor did, seven years later winning that same Dewhurst.
Establishing the sire line
Try My Best sired two fourth-crop sons in 1983 that would go on to establish his line in each hemisphere. The top-class Last Tycoon, rated 131 by Timeform and one of only two G1 winners for his sire, was easily the best racehorse Try My Best produced. French-trained, he won Britain’s top two 1,000m sprints as a three-year-old, the G1 King’s Stand at Royal Ascot and the G1 Sprint Championship at York, before stepping up to in distance at Santa Anita, where he won the Breeders’ Cup mile.
Try My Best’s other 1983 son of significance was Waajib, who took much longer to reach his peak, progressing from handicaps to winning Royal Ascot’s Queen Anne Stakes as a five-year-old in the days it was a G2 race.
But rated 121 at his best, the odds were against Waajib making a name for himself as a sire. And so it proved. But he did leave one good colt in the shape of Royal Applause, a good quality sprinter rated 124 who won what is now Royal Ascot’s Golden Jubilee (then the G3 Cork & Orrery Stakes), plus the G1 Sprint Cup at Haydock.
Southern Hemisphere's important link to the future
Last Tycoon also struggled as a sire in Europe, siring only 3.7% Stakes winners to runners from very decent mares, though he did manage seven G1 winners, including the good sire Marju. He did much better statistically in the southern hemisphere (7% Stakes winners), where the outstanding multiple G1 winner Mahogany, rated 126 by Timeform, was the best of his runners.
"As is so typical of this sire line, it was two of Last Tycoon’s lesser lights that provided important links to the future." - Last Tycoon
But, as is so typical of this sire line, it was two of Last Tycoon’s lesser lights that provided important links to the future. O’Reilly (NZ) in New Zealand was a dual G1 winner rated 116 by Timeform, while Iglesia, winner of the G2 Silver Slipper, earned a mark of 118.
Both have already contributed admirably to the future of the line, Iglesia through his son Written Tycoon, sire of Capitalist, and O’Reilly – four-time champion sire in New Zealand – through Alamosa and Shamexpress.
The future is Acclamation
Back in Europe, the future of the sire line now depends on the fortunes of Royal Applause’s son Acclamation – a G2-winning sprinter rated 118 by Timeform. Acclamation is still going strong at the age of 20 in 2019 and has several sire sons currently at stud and great stallion prospects in the pipeline, so we cannot yet say which of them, if any, will continue the bloodline.
But the odds are surely stacked in favour of Dark Angel – you guessed it – a lower-rated (113) G1-winning juvenile that has already scaled the heights as a sire. It won’t have escaped your notice that three of the best racehorses from the Try My Best sire line in the northern hemisphere are by Dark Angel. Two of them, Battaash (136) and Harry Angel (132), displayed that same brilliance not seen among male line descendants since the days of Try My Best.
"It’s only a matter of time before we see Dark Angel-line runners compete in Australia. They certainly look the type to relish the slick fast surfaces. " - John Boyce
On their day, they were good enough to rival the best of Australian sprinters. It’s rather ironic that the best from the line in Europe are all top-class speedsters, while the Australasian legacy is based more on milers and middle-distance horses, Written Tycoon and Capitalist being the obvious exceptions. It’s only a matter of time before we see Dark Angel-line runners compete in Australia. They certainly look the type to relish the slick fast surfaces.
G1-winning male-line descendants of Try My Best in the Southern Hemisphere
|127||SACRED FALLS||2009||C||O'REILLY||REDOUTE'S CHOICE||8|
|122||CAPITALIST||2013||C||WRITTEN TYCOON||FUSAICHI PEGASUS||6|
|122||MUSIC MAGNATE||2011||G||WRITTEN TYCOON||DANEHILL DANCER||7|
|122||TYCOON LIL||1994||F||LAST TYCOON||IMPOSING||12|
|120||KNOWLEDGE||1994||C||LAST TYCOON||KINGS ISLAND||6|
|120||WRITTEN BY||2015||C||WRITTEN TYCOON||TOBOUGG||6|
|116||O'REILLY||1993||C||LAST TYCOON||POMPEII COURT||8|
|116||TYCOON TARA||2010||F||WRITTEN TYCOON||ENCORES||7|
|115||NOVA STAR||2002||F||IGLESIA||LUSKIN STAR||8|
|113||SOUND THE ALARM||1997||G||JUST AWESOME||DOUBLE CENTURY||6|
|113||STOLEN DANCE||2011||F||ALAMOSA||BLACK MINNALOUSHE||8|
|112||AMBITIOUS OWNER||2001||G||TOWKAY||TAKE YOUR PARTNER||8|
|109||FINAL DESTINATION||1998||F||O'REILLY||SOUND REASON||8.5|
|109||LUNA ROSSA||2013||F||WRITTEN TYCOON||MORE THAN READY||7|
|108||APACHE KING||1995||G||WAAJIB||JUNGLE BOY||16|
|FADING LIGHT||1998||F||BEL BYOU||BIG JOHN TAYLOR||8|
|LADY JAKEO||1990||F||LAST TYCOON||LUNCHTIME||6|
|MAGIC OF MONEY||1990||C||LAST TYCOON||KAORU STAR||6|
|SUPER SHEILA||1990||F||LAST TYCOON||DANCE IN TIME||6|
|TRACY'S ELEMENT||1990||F||LAST TYCOON||AHONOORA||7|