The future of the Try My Best sireline

5 min read
John Boyce takes a look at the past success of the Try My Best sireline across the world, including the current Australasian legacy through O'Reilly and Written Tycoon, as top 2-year-old sire Dark Angel keeps the sireline strong in Europe.

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.

Royal Applause

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.

Written Tycoon

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.

Dark Angel

"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

127SACRED FALLS 2009CO'REILLYREDOUTE'S CHOICE8
126MAHOGANY 1990GLAST TYCOONALYDAR12.5
125GRUNT 2014CO'REILLYVAN NISTELROOY8
125MASTER O'REILLY 2002GO'REILLYBAKHAROFF13
124SHAMEXPRESS 2009CO'REILLYVOLKSRAAD6
123ALAMOSA 2004CO'REILLYCENTAINE8
123SILENT ACHIEVER 2008FO'REILLYZABEEL12
122CAPITALIST 2013CWRITTEN TYCOONFUSAICHI PEGASUS6
122MUSIC MAGNATE 2011GWRITTEN TYCOONDANEHILL DANCER7
122TYCOON LIL 1994FLAST TYCOONIMPOSING12
120KNOWLEDGE 1994CLAST TYCOONKINGS ISLAND6
120SHAMROCKER 2007FO'REILLYBLUES TRAVELLER12
120SWICK 2001GO'REILLYCRESTED WAVE7
120WRITTEN BY 2015CWRITTEN TYCOONTOBOUGG6
116KIRRAMOSA 2010FALAMOSADANSKE12.5
116MACO'REILLY 2003GO'REILLYCENTAINE10
116O'REILLY 1993CLAST TYCOONPOMPEII COURT8
116TYCOON TARA 2010FWRITTEN TYCOONENCORES7
115GUYNO 2003GO'REILLYCENTAINE13
115NOVA STAR 2002FIGLESIALUSKIN STAR8
115VIADANA 2007FTOWKAYKINJITE8
113SOUND THE ALARM 1997GJUST AWESOMEDOUBLE CENTURY6
113STOLEN DANCE 2011FALAMOSABLACK MINNALOUSHE8
112AMBITIOUS OWNER 2001GTOWKAYTAKE YOUR PARTNER8
109FINAL DESTINATION 1998FO'REILLYSOUND REASON8.5
109LUNA ROSSA 2013FWRITTEN TYCOONMORE THAN READY7
109THE JEWEL 1999FO'REILLYGROSVENOR10
108APACHE KING 1995GWAAJIBJUNGLE BOY16
108O'MARILYN 2011FO'REILLYZABEEL7
107SPECIAL MISSION 2004FTOWKAYKHOZAAM8
106MARJU SNIP 2002FMARJUSNIPPETS10
FADING LIGHT 1998FBEL BYOUBIG JOHN TAYLOR8
LADY JAKEO 1990FLAST TYCOONLUNCHTIME6
MAGIC OF MONEY 1990CLAST TYCOONKAORU STAR6
SUPER SHEILA 1990FLAST TYCOONDANCE IN TIME6
TRACY'S ELEMENT 1990FLAST TYCOONAHONOORA7
TYTOLA 1997GLAST TYCOONTOLOMEO12