Royal Applause

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Royal Applause
Racing silks of Maktoum Al Maktoum.png
Racing colours of Maktoum Al Maktoum
Sire Waajib
Grandsire Try My Best
Dam Flying Melody
Damsire Auction Ring
Sex Stallion
Foaled 24 February 1993
Country United Kingdom
Colour Bay
Breeder Gainsborough Stud
Owner Maktoum Al Maktoum
Trainer Barry Hills
Record 25: 9–1–1
Earnings £ 374,210
Major wins
Coventry Stakes (1995)
Gimcrack Stakes (1995)
Middle Park Stakes (1995)
Duke of York Stakes (1997)
Cork and Orrery Stakes (1997)
Haydock Sprint Cup (1997)
European Champion Sprinter (1997)
Last updated on August 25, 2007

Royal Applause is a retired British Champion Thoroughbred racehorse and active sire. He was undefeated in four races as a two-year-old in 1995, including the Group One Middle Park Stakes, the Group Two Gimcrack Stakes and the Group Three Coventry Stakes. He was rated the second best colt of the year behind Alhaarth. After a disappointing three-year-old season, he returned as a four-year-old in 1998 to become European Champion Sprinter, when he won four of his seven races including the Group One Haydock Sprint Cup the Group Three Duke of York Stakes and the Group Three Cork and Orrery Stakes (now a Group One race). He went on to become a successful stallion and is based at the Royal Studs at Sandringham, Norfolk.


Royal Applause is a dark-coated bay horse with two white socks who stands 15.2 hands high.[1] He was bred at his owner Maktoum Al Maktoum’s Gainsborough Stud near Newbury in Berkshire, England.

His sire Waajib was a miler who won the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in 1988. As a stallion, he stood for the Coolmore Stud before being sold to Japan's Shadai Stud in 1995. He was shuttled between Japan and Australia for four seasons before dying at Amsterdam Airport while being returned to Ireland in January 1999.[2] He was not a great success, siring the winners of fewer than 150 races, with Royal Applause being easily his best offspring .[3] Royal Applause’s dam Flying Melody was a successful racehorse who went on to be an excellent broodmare. Apart from Royal Applause she produced the European Champion Two-Year-Old Filly Lyric Fantasy and the Dewhurst Stakes winner In Command.[4] As a descendant of the broodmare Oola Hills, Royal Applause was also related to Pappa Fourway and Park Top.[5]

Royal Applause was trained throughout his career by Barry Hills at Lambourn. During his two-year-old season he was ridden by Walter Swinburn, who lost his job as Maktoum Al Maktoum's retained jockey at the end of the year.[6] In his comeback year of 1997 Royal Applause was ridden in all his races by his trainer’s son Michael Hills

Racing career[edit]

1995: two-year-old season[edit]

Royal Applause made his debut in a five furlong maiden race at his local course Newbury in May. He disputed the lead for most of the way before pulling clear and winning "easily" by three and a half lengths from Rambling Bear.[7] The runner-up went on to be a top class sprinter, winning the King George Stakes and the Palace House Stakes. Three weeks later Royal Applause was moved up in class as he was sent to Royal Ascot for the Coventry Stakes. Swinburn sent the colt into the lead from the start and he was never headed, running on strongly to win by two lengths from Russian Revival.[8]

By the time that Royal Applause reappeared in the Gimcrack Stakes at York in August, the form of his Ascot win had been boosted when the fourth placed Tagula won the July Stakes at Newmarket. Royal Applause started odds-on favourite at York, but after leading for most of the race he was strongly challenged in the final furlong by Tumbleweed Ridge and had to be driven out to hold on and win by a head.[9]

On his final race of the season Royal Applause was stepped up to the highest level for the Group One Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket. He was made second favourite behind Kahir Almaydan who had won the Mill Reef Stakes by six lengths. Swinburn sent the colt into the lead at halfway from which point he looked "the only possible winner." In the final stages he pulled well clear of his rivals to record an "impressive" four length win over the Anglesey Stakes winner Woodborough, with Kahir Almaydan third.[10] He was offered at prices between 8/1 and 16/1 for the one mile 2000 Guineas but Barry Hills advised caution as, in his opinion, the colt was essentially a sprinter: "I would tend to think he's got a lot of natural speed and will probably stay at six furlongs."[11]

1996: three-year-old season[edit]

Despite Hills' reservations, Royal Applause began his three-year-old season by being sent straight to the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket without a trial race. Ridden for the first time by Michael Hills he started the 15/2 fourth choice in the betting. Hills attempted to make all the running, but after leading for six furlongs, Royal Applause tired in the last quarter mile and finished tenth of the thirteen runners behind Mark of Esteem. He was brought back to sprint distances for the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. In a change of tactics he was held up by Hills in the early stages, but he found little in the closing stages and finished sixth behind Pivotal.

A month later he was dropped in class and won a minor stakes race over six furlongs at Doncaster, leading all the way under Kieren Fallon and beating his old rival Russian Revival by a neck.[12] On his final start, he was moved back up to Group One level for the Haydock Sprint Cup, but after leading early he weakened in the closing stages to finish ninth of the eleven runners. His form as a three-year-old suggested that he was an example of a precocious juvenile who had failed to "train on".

1997: four-year-old season[edit]

Royal Applause returned to the racecourse as a four-year-old in the Listed Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster in March. He led from the start and outpaced his opponents in the last quarter mile to win by two lengths,[13] in his most impressive display since his two-year old season.[14] At York in May, Royal Applause won his first Group Race for nineteen months as he led all the way to take the Duke of York Stakes by a length and a quarter to establish himself as a genuinely top class sprinter.[15]

At Royal Ascot Royal Applause faced a field of twenty-three in the Cork and Orrery Stakes, for which he started favourite at 11/2. The huge field split into two groups, with Royal Applause leading the far side group. He opened up a clear lead in the last two furlongs and despite drifting towards the centre of the track in the closing stages he stayed on to win by a length and a half from Blue Goblin.[16] Royal Applause was made 11/10 favourite for the July Cup at Newmarket, although Hills advised that he was "no certainty". He defeated his main market rivals but was unable to cope with the 50/1 outsider Compton Place, who won by one and three quarter lengths. The result, which was greeted by silence from the crowd,[17] was so unexpected that Compton Place's trainer was called before the stewards to give an explanation for his horses performance.[18]

In September Royal Applause was sent to Haydock for the Sprint Cup. He quickly adopted his customary position at the head of the field as his rivals became involved in an exceptionally rough race behind him. Royal Applause went clear a furlong out to record the biggest win of his career by one and a quarter lengths from the fast-finishing Danetime.[19] After the race Hills called him "the best sprinter I've trained and... the best around at the moment." When asked about Royal Applause's poor form in 1996 he observed that "horses are like apple trees - you don't get apples all the time."[20]

In his last European race was sent abroad for the first time and startes favourite for the Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp. Unusually, he broke slowly and was unable to reach the lead. He challenged strongly in the final furlong but could finish only third beaten half a length and a short head by the fillies Carmine Lake and Pas de Reponse.[21] On his final start, he was sent to Hollywood Park for the Breeders' Cup Sprint. His cause was not helped when he panicked and sustained minor injuries on his first encounter with American-style starting stalls.[22] He made no show in the race itself, finishing last of the fourteen runners on his only start on dirt.


In the official International Classification of two-year-olds for 1995, Royal Applause was given a rating of 124, two pounds below the champion Alhaarth and four pounds clear of the next best.[23]

At the 1997 Cartier Racing Awards, Royal Applause was named European Champion Sprinter.[24] The International Classification rated him the equal-best European sprinter of the year, sharing a 121 rating with Compton Place and the Diadem Stakes winner Elnadim.[25]

Timeform rated Royal Applause at 123 as a two-year-old, 109 as a three-year-old, and 124 as a four-year-old.[26]

Stud career[edit]

Royal Applause is proving himself as a sire of sires[27] and stands alongside the Derby winner Motivator at the Royal Studs at Sandringham, Norfolk.[28] He hs sired the winners of well over seven hundred races, including seventeen at Group race level, and has, not surprisingly given his racing career, proved especially effective as a sire of sprinters.[29] His best winners include Lovelace (Supreme Stakes), Ticker Tape (American Oaks), Acclamation (GB) (Diadem Stakes) and Battle Of Hastings (Colonial Turf Cup). His stud fee for 2011 was £9,000.[30]


Pedigree of Royal Applause (GB), bay stallion, 1993[31]
Waajib (IRE)
Try My Best
Northern Dancer Nearctic
Sex Appeal Buckpasser
Best In Show
Sassafras Sheshoon
Rosolini Ragusa
Flying Melody (IRE)
Auction Ring
Bold Bidder Bold Ruler
High Bid
Hooplah Hillary
Whispering Star
Sound Track Whistler
Bridle Way
Peggy West Premonition
Oola Hills (Family: 26)[5]


  1. ^ "Royal Applause Conformation". Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  2. ^ "Waajib death link with virus denied". 1999-01-23. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  3. ^ "Waajib Stud Record". Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  4. ^ "Royal Applause pedigree". Racing Post. 2011-06-02. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  5. ^ a b "Old Merlin Mare - Family 26". Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  6. ^ "Applause fades for Swinburn". The Independent. 1995-11-08. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  7. ^ "Boxford Maiden Stakes result". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  8. ^ "Coventry Stakes result". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  9. ^ "Gimcrack Stakes result". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  10. ^ "Middle Park Stakes result". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  11. ^ "Muted appreciation for Royal Applause". The Independent. 1995-09-29. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  12. ^ "Vaux Samson Conditions Stakes result". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  13. ^ "Cammidge Trophy result". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  14. ^ "Kuala Lipis has last word". The Independent. 1997-03-23. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  15. ^ "Duke of York Stakes result". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  16. ^ "Cork & Orrery Stakes result". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  17. ^ "Toller's Cup long-shot mutes Applause". The Independent. 1997-07-11. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  18. ^ "July Cup result". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  19. ^ "Sprint Cup result". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  20. ^ "Applause dodges traffic problems". The Independent. 1997-09-06. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  21. ^ "Prix de l'Abbaye result". Racing Post. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  22. ^ "Asmussen's record cannot stop Spinning World". The Independent. 1997-11-08. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  23. ^ "Handicappers swing from yesterday's hero". The Independent. 1996-01-05. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  24. ^ "CARTIER AWARDS MEDIA RELEASE". 2009-10-08. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  25. ^ "Celebre earns place among greats". The Independent. 1998-01-14. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ "The Royal Studs". Archived from the original on November 6, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  29. ^ "Plaudits for two-year-old sire Applause". 2008-07-15. Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  30. ^ "Royal Applause Stud Record". Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  31. ^ "Royal Applause pedigree from Darley". Retrieved 2011-10-25.