Coolmore Stud’s world-class stallion Royal Academy, who has been represented by more than 160 stakes winners, died Feb. 22 at Coolmore Australia due to the infirmities of old age. The son of Nijinsky II out of the Crimson Satan mare Crimson Saint was 25.
According to Coolmore, Royal Academy has sired progeny that have earned the equivalent of more than $120 million. He stood at stud in Ireland, the U.S., Australia, South America (a two-time leading sire in Brazil), and Japan and he is also represented by sons who are achieving success at stud world-wide. Bel Esprit, a son of Royal Academy, is the sire of Australian standout Black Caviar, the undefeated 5-year-old mare who has won all 19 career starts, including eight group I stakes.
“It’s very sad,” Coolmore Australia’s Tom Magnier said in a statement. “Royal Academy has been a tremendous servant to Coolmore, wherever he’s been based. He spent the last five years of his life here, the last two years in retirement.
“He sired major winners over a wide range of distances, at all ages,” Magnier continued. “I suspect, though, that his greatest legacy is the speed he passed on to the best of his Australian descendants—the brilliant Black Caviar is by one of his sons while champion sire-elect Fastnet Rock is out of one of his daughters.”
Magnier credited Coolmore Australia’s Gerry Ryan for taking care of Royal Academy.
Bred in Kentucky by Tom Gentry, Royal Academy's dam was a grade III winner and he was a half brother to grade II winner and sire Pancho Villa and grade II winner Terlingua, the dam of legengary sire Storm Cat.
Purchased by the late trainer M. Vincent O’Brien for a sale-topping $3.5 million at the 1988 Keeneland July yearling sale, Royal Academy won or placed second in six of seven career starts while earning the U.S. equivalent of $758,994. During his 3-year-old campaign of 1990 in which he was the European highweighted 3-year-old at 7-9 1/2 furlongs, Royal Academy won the E.B.F. Stakes (Ire-III) before finishing second in the Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I).
The horse earned his first group I success by taking the six-furlong July Cup (Eng-I) at Newmarket. After finishing second to sprinter Dayjur in the Ladbroke Sprint Cup (Eng-I), Royal Academy returned to the U.S. where he closed out his career with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT). The Breeders’ Cup triumph was more noteworthy because Royal Academy was ridden by famed jockey Lester Piggott, who had come out of retirement at the age of 54.
After entering stud at Coolmore in Ireland for a fee of 30,000 Irish guineas, Royal Academy was represented by four group winners from his first crop, including two-time Irish St. Leger (Ire-I) winner and champion Oscar Schindler.
Among the other top runners sired by Royal Academy from his first five crops were grade/group I winners Val Royal (who also won the Breeders' Cup Mile), Ali-Royal, Carmine Lake, Sleepytime, Zalaiyka, and Lavery. In addition, Royal Academy was represented by Bullish Luck, a Horse of the Year in Hong Kong and a grade I winner in Japan.
Royal Academy is currently 11th on the North American general broodmare sire list.