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  Dark Ronald

Dark Ronald  
Bay colt, 1905.
By Bay Ronald - Darkie by Thurio.
Darley Arabian Sire line:
Newminster Branch.
Family 9 - b.

Bay Ronald His sire, Bay Ronald

Dark Ronald was a good racer, but was vastly more important as a stallion. While he stood in England and Germany, his influence has become global, and has crossed over from the Thoroughbred into other breeds and disciplines.

Dark Ronald was sired by Bay Ronald, a handicapper whose value as a sire was seriously underestimated. One of his earliest crops produced Macdonald II, a good runner in France, and as a result, in 1905 Bay Ronald was sold to France, dying two years later in 1907. Dark Ronald began racing in 1907 and in 1909, the great runner Bayardo emerged from his last English-bred crop. Bay Ronald's other important donation to the breed was his daughter, Rondeau, dam of the extremely significant sire, Teddy. With that horse's progeny (Asterus, Athelstan, Ortello, Sir Gallahad III, Teddy, Case Ace, Sun Teddy, etc.), added into the vast influence wielded by Bayardo and Dark Ronald, the early loss of Bay Ronald was inestimable.

Dark Ronald was foaled in England in 1905. Bred by Edward Kennedy (later noted as the breeder of The Tetrarch), his dam was the non-winner Darkie, who managed only two placings at two. Offered at the Doncaster sales as a yearling, the brown colt brought a sizeable 1,300 guineas from prominent owner and breeder Sir Abe Bailey (1864-1940), one of the richest and most influential men in South Africa. Dark Ronald made only two starts at two, breaking his maiden on debut over five furlongs in the Hurst Park Foal Plate. In his second start, he ran second in the Lingfield Park Foal Plate.

The colt came out of the race lame, knocking him out of classic contention. Both front tendons were fired, and the horse was withdrawn from competition for nearly two years while he recovered at his owner's farm in South Africa.

Sent back to England, Dark Ronald returned to competition as a four-year-old, needing a race and running unplaced in the Newbury Spring Cup. In his next out, he took the Durham Plate (10f., Leicester) by a wide margin. He returned at the Ascot meet, winning the Royal Hunt Cup (7f. 166 yards), and followed up with a tremendous performance, victorious in the Princess of Wales's Stakes (12f., Newmarket). In his next start, he ran a game third in the Doncaster Cup, but came back lame and was retired. His final record read four wins in seven starts with earnings of 8,238 pounds.

Son-in-Law was a stayer and later a sire of stayers
Ambassador IV
Ambassador was a sire of good juveniles in the USA
Lord Rosebery's Vaucluse won the 1,000 Guineas
He entered stud in 1910 at Tickford Park stud, near Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire. His first crop, foals of 1911, included the great stayer and later sire of stayers, SON-IN-LAW (out of Mother-In-Law by Matchmaker), sire of Beau Pere, Foxlaw, Trimdon, Lady Juror, and many others, and who is the subject of a separate portrait on this site.

Another important member of that first crop was July Stakes winner AMBASSADOR IV (1911 out of Excellenza by Haut Brion), who was sent to America where he became a top sire of two-year-olds, getting the juvenile champions Constancy and St. James, the latter sire of juvenile champion Jamestown, sire himself of an even better three-year-old champion in Johnstown. Johnstown became the dam's sire of Nashua and To Market.

Dark Ronald's second crop included VAUCLUSE (1912 out of Valve by Velasquez), winner of the 1,000 Guineas and dam of Doncaster Cup winner Bongrace, but Dark Ronald was otherwise disappointing enough that when, approached with the offer of 25,000 pounds, his owner cheerfully sold him to the German National Stud at Graditz in June, immediately following the 1913 breeding season. Graditz' director, Burkhard von Oettingen acquired the horse upon the recommendation of Sigmund Lehndorff, brother to the German State Stud Manager Georg von Lehndorff, who had admired Dark Ronald on several occasions while visiting in England.

From his last English crop came the good runner and outstanding sire, DARK LEGEND (1914 out of Golden Legend by Amphion), who get included the top runners Duplex (Prix du Jockey Club), Fairy Legend, Mary Legend, Dark Lantern II, Dark Japan, Galatea II, Easton (a sire in America), Legend of France, and Rosy Legend (dam of Dante and Sayajirao).

Brown Prince
Brown Prince II was sent to America.
Brown Prince
Magpie was a leading sire in Australia.
Brown Prince
Top stayer and sire Prunus was foaled in Germany.
Herold was a leading sire in Germany.
Another from this crop was BROWN PRINCE II (1914, out of Excellenza by Haut Brion), winner of the Cambridgeshire Stakes and Jockey Club Cup. Being a full brother to Ambassador IV, he was likewise imported to America where he also became a successful stallion and through his son, Brown Bud, sire of Cinquepace, appears in the pedigree of Secretariat and Sir Gaylord.

Yet another from this 1914 crop was MAGPIE, a stakes winner in England and placed in the 2,000 Guineas. Sent to Australia, he won the Caulfield Cup, and became the leading sire there in 1929. Magpie's year-younger sister, Popingaol was the dam of Oaks winner Pogrom and St. Leger winner Book Law.

But it was in Germany that Dark Ronald soared to much higher heights, in fact, leading the sire's list there five times, from 1918 to 1922. His first German crop included PRUNUS (1915 out of Pomegranate by Persimmon), winner of that country's 2,000 Guineas and St. Leger and leading sire in Germany five times himself. Prunus' best work came in Oleander, one of the all-time greats to have raced in Germany. Oleander carried the line forward with distinction, siring Nordlicht, Sturmvogel, Asterios, Espace Vital, Nuvolari, and Orsenigo. The line returned to England in the form of Oleander's son, Pink Flower, sire of Wilwyn.

German Derby winner HEROLD came from the 1917 crop, out of Hornisse by Ard Patrick. Herold led the sire list twice and his get included further German Derby winners Alchimist and Arjaman. Alchimist sired the great Birkhahn (leading sire four times in Germany), as well as mares Schwarzgold and Stammesart. Arjaman sired Olymp and Wildling, besides the mare Nixe (dam of Neckar and Naxos).

Another top Dark Ronald son was WALLENSTEIN (1917 out of Wiener Madel by William the Third), who led the German sire list in 1930. There was also AXENSTEIN (1918 out of Adresse by Nuage), and ADITI (1922 out of Aversion by Nuage). Another, TRAUMER (1918 out of Taormina by Diamond Jubilee) was brought to America and had some success, getting Pimlico Oaks winner Dark Magnet besides the mare Dark Loveliness, dam of Dark Discovery and ancestress of champions Battlefield and Storm Bird.

Dark Ronald also had a major influence on warmblood breeding, primarily through the Holstein studbook through horses that were linebred to him, including Cor de la Bryere, Landgraf I, and Lord, all influential sires and sires of sires.

Dark Ronald was a good-looking, masculine, well-balanced individual with a powerful physique, shoulders and hindquarters, with the low withers so characteristic of this male line. He died at the German National Stud in the spring of 1928 at the age of 23.

--Anne Peters

DARK RONALD, Bay colt, 1905 - Family # 9 - b.
Bay Ronald
b. 1893
b. 1872
Lord Clifden
b. 1860
The Slave
Lady Langden
br. 1868
Black Duchess
br. 1886
br. 1880
Black Corrie
blk. 1879
Mare by Wild Dayrell
blk. 1889
br. 1875
b. 1869
ch. 1854
b. 1882
Blair Athol
ch. 1861
Blink Bonny
br. 1873
Knight of the Garter
Toison D'Or

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