Jungle Empire

2002 grey thoroughbred mare by Second Empire out of the Jungle Boy mare Relations Joy. This mare is a lovely refined type.  Trakehner Verband Licensed mare.

Jungle Empire
Jungle Empire
Jungle Empire as a successful show horse
Second Empire
Jungle Boy: Well know sire and dam sire of many competition horses

For many years, it looked as if the former Ballydoyle inmate Second Empire would be best remembered for being a rare (possibly unique) example of an odds-on favourite for a Classic to be the subject of a “non-triers’” stewards’ enquiry. However, four years after his death in South Africa, Second Empire has now gained immortality for a more positive reason, courtesy of the Grand National victory of his son Auroras Encorewrites John Berry.

Second Empire was the talk of racing in the British Isles in May 1998 after the stunningly negative ride which he received from Aidan O’Brien’s stable jockey Christy Roche when finishing third as the 4/5 favourite in the Irish 2,000 Guineas. However, that was already his third year of making headlines: he had been one of Europe’s most expensive yearlings of 1996, while he had been a Group One-winning two-year-old in 1997.

Second Empire had fetched 640,000 Irish guineas at Goffs Yearling Sale in October 1996, thus becoming the most expensive yearling by Sadler’s Wells’ influential full-brother Fairy King. Hefty a price though this was, though, it doesn’t make him the dearest member of his family, coming as he did from Kilcarn Stud’s ‘Welsh Flame’ family, which has been coming up with a regular supply of sales-toppers over the past 30 years.

Welsh Flame (who was closely related to the 1959 Derby winner Parthia and toAlcide, winner of the St Leger in 1958 and the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 1959 before becoming a high-class stallion) was a wonderful broodmare for Kilcarn Stud. She had won four races over a mile as a three-year-old in England in 1976 when trained by Bruce Hobbs, but even so the full extent of her merit as a broodmare could not easily have been predicted. Three of her daughters became hugely influential broodmares, with one of those (the 1983 Coronation Stakes victrix Flame Of Tara) having preceded her stud career by winning some big races in the colours of the stud’s proprietor Miss Pat O’Kelly.

The first good broodmare whom Welsh Flame bred was her first foal Fruition, a daughter of the 1973 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Rheingold. Fruition was bought as a yearling for 12,500 gns by Newmarket trainer Paul Kelleway, who characteristically ran her in some good races. Although she didn’t win, she finished fourth in the Lingfield Oaks Trial and second in the Lupe Stakes at Goodwood in the spring of 1981. In time she bred two Doncaster Cup winners (Kneller and Great Marquess) when owned by Burton Agnes Stud, as well as subsequently producing the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Northern Spur and also Oenothera (dam of the 2004 1,000 Guineas runner-up Sundrop) for Swettenham Stud.

Born two years after Fruition, Flame Of Tara was a daughter of the former Vincent O’Brien-trained Sussex Stakes winner Artaius, a high-class and well-bred horse who ultimately proved something of a disappointment at Airlie Stud. Retained by Kilcarn Stud, Flame Of Tara joined the emerging stable of Jim Bolger, under whose care she proved herself one of the best fillies in Europe in 1983. She won two races which now carry Group One status (the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh) and proved herself effective from a mile to a mile and three quarters. When she retired to the paddocks as a five-year-old in 1985, she was clearly worthy of the cost of a visit to Europe’s most expensive first-season sire, Sadler’s Wells, who was standing at Coolmore for 125,000 Irish guineas. She visited Sadler’s Wells again in 1986, and the stud fees proved to have been money well spent.

Flame Of Tara’s first mating with Sadler’s Wells resulted in Nearctic Flame, who was sold to Cheveley Park Stud as a yearling for 360,000 gns before proving herself a decent filly when trained by Michael Stoute. The second foal, another filly, did even better: having been bought by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum for 440,000 gns as a yearling, she was named Salsabil and was sent to John Dunlop, under whose tutelage she won five Group One races including the 1,000 Guineas, Oaks and Irish Derby in 1990. Flame Of Tara’s third foal (her first colt) was a son of Last Tycoon who, having been sold to Sheikh Hamdan for 440,000 Irish gns, was named Marjuand, trained by John Dunlop, finished second to Generous in the 1991 Derby before winning the St. James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot 13 days later. Kilcarn Stud retained Flame Of Tara’s Caerleon filly – born in 1990, named Danse Royale and runner-up in the Irish 1,000 Guineas in 1993 – and Flame Of Tara’s descendants continued to thrive. They do so to this day, with her several descendants currently standing as stallions including Salsabil’s US Grade Two-winning son Sahm, as well as Salsabil’s New South Wales-based full-brother Song Of Tara and the Darley sireEcho Of Light, whom Sheikh Mohammed bought from Kilcarn Stud as a yearling in 2003 for 1,200,000 euros.

Six years younger than Flame Of Tara was Welsh Love. Trained (like Danse Royale) for Miss O’Kelly by Michael Grassick, Welsh Love won a weak maiden race over 12 furlongs over Dundalk in 1989 before posting a better performance when fourth in a Listed race at the Curragh over a mile and a quarter. A daughter of the high-class middle-distance performer Ela-mana-mou, Welsh Love became one of many excellent matrons who established Ela-Mana-Mou as a hugely influential broodmare sire. Her breeding career was a great success for Kilcarn Stud – arguably even more so in the sales-ring than on the track.

Second Empire was the only Group One winner bred by Welsh Love, but she also bred the Danehill colt Balestrini, who beat subsequent Irish Derby and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes winner Alamshar in the Group Three Ballysax Stakes over 10 furlongs at Leopardstown in the spring of 2003 before finishing fourth to Dalakhani in the Prix Lupin and fifth to Kris Kin in the Derby. Furthermore, she bred three Listed winners: HemingwayIhtiram and Ajhiba. Ihtiram now ranks as sire of the top-class Australian sprinter Miss Andretti, while Ajhiba became the dam of the Group Three-winning miler Belenus, like his relative Echo Of Light a son ofDubai Millennium.

Even more remarkable than these results were the prices fetched by Welsh Love’s yearlings in Goffs sales-ring. At 640,000 Irish guineas, Second Empire was, amazingly, far short of the dearest. Balestrini fetched 2.1 million Irish guineas, while Queen Of Tara (a daughter of Sadler’s Wells who never raced) was knocked down to McKeever/St Lawrence agency for 1.3 million euros in 2006 before joining the stable of Miss O’Kelly’s trainer Michael Grassick, for whom she never ran. Ajhiba was bought on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed for 950,000 Irish pounds, while Hemingway fetched half a million Irish pounds. Her Montjeu colt National Flag fetched 420,000 euros in 2009, although disappointingly he never raced during his term at Ballydoyle.

Aidan O’Brien was still in his early days as Coolmore’s trainer at Ballydoyle when Second Empire was under his care. His season in 1997 helped to set the tone for his long and very successful tenure in the job, as the stable’s star three-year-old Desert King won the Irish 2,000 Guineas and the Irish Derby, while the juveniles were headed by the Group One winners King Of Kings and Second Empire, winners respectively of the best two-year-old race in Ireland (the National Stakes) and France (the Grand Criterium). King Of Kings went on to win the 2,000 Guineas the following spring (before going amiss in the Derby) but Second Empire’s second season was less successful.

A big, strong colt, Second Empire did not join the more forward King Of Kings in making his debut in the spring of 1997, but he was fairly precocious even so: he made his debut in midsummer during the second week of August, winning a mile two-year-olds’ maiden at Leopardstown by five lengths as an odds-on favourite. O’Brien moved him straight up to Group Three company for his second start and he did not disappoint, flying over to France five weeks later to beat Muhtathir by two and a half lengths in the Group Three Prix des Chenes over 1600m at Longchamp. Four weeks later he was back in France to register a decisive victory in an admittedly substandard renewal of the country’ premier two-year-olds’ race (which was then still run over 1600m as the Grand Criterium, but which is now the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere over 1400m).

Things did not go smoothly for Second Empire the following spring. A pulled muscle in his hindquarters hampered his preparation, and O’Brien was seemingly in two minds about whether he would be ready to resume in the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the end of May. When the trainer finally elected to let the horse take his chance, punters took this as a sign that the unbeaten colt would indeed be fully fit, sending him off the 4/5 favourite. However, O’Brien’s veteran jockey Christie Roche, then in the twilight to his distinguished career but still Ireland’s reigning champion jockey, had his doubts. His mount was much too fresh early in the race and, after having over-raced during the first half mile, he started to struggle in the final two furlongs. Roche felt that the horse had nothing more to give, and duly rode him very tenderly into third place behind the David Loder-trained Desert Prince – but to the uninitiated, it looked very much as if he had ‘stopped’ the horse. This, of course, was not the case, but even the stewards merely ‘noted’ (rather than ‘accepted’) his explanation at the inevitable subsequent enquiry.

As it turned out, Second Empire fared no better on the two subsequent occasions that year when he and Desert Prince re-opposed. He finished third to Desert Prince in the autumn in both the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot, beaten at least as far as at the Curragh on each occasion. His run in the Derby was even less successful as, ridden by Mick Kinane, he pulled far too hard in the early stages and, inevitably, found the 12 furlongs much too far. He did win one race that year (the Group Three Desmond Stakes over a mile at the Curragh, ridden by Roche) but basically he proved a disappointment, almost invariably making things hard for himself by refusing to settle, a tendency which surely meant that he was unable to display the stamina with which so many of his best relatives had been blessed. He became even more disappointing as a four-year-old, running only twice in 1999 and finishing unplaced both times.

Second Empire retired to Coolmore in 2000, joining his sire Fairy King, a diminutive brother of Sadler’s Wells who sired numerous top-class horses including Helissio,Oath and Falbrav. Second Empire, though, was never given the chance to cover mares likely to breed horses of that quality: having ended his racing career in such unspectacular style, he was very much at the bottom of the stud’s pecking order. He started on the main Coolmore farm in 2000 at a fee of 8,000 Irish guineas, but this was optimistic: by the spring of 2004, when his oldest offspring had only just turned three, he had already been demoted to stand for 3,000 euros alongside Coolmore’s National Hunt sires at the sister-property, Castle Hyde. During this period he had been shuttling to Heytesbury Stud in Western Australia, but the aftermath of the 2004 stud season saw him given a one-way ticket to South Africa, in which country he initially stood at Oaklands Estate before moving to Arc-En-Ciel Stud.

Second Empire died in February 2009 from complications after surgery on a leg fractured in a paddock accident. By this time, he had covered a wide variety of largely unremarkable mares in Ireland, Australia and South Africa. Inevitably, having covered plenty of ‘white-type’ mares, he produced plenty of ordinary horses. Furthermore, having covered mares from very disparate backgrounds, he sired winners all across the distance spectrum. And, as many of his stock were big, strong and tough, plenty of the ones bred in Ireland ended up running over jumps. On the Flat, his best horses included Beckermet (a super-tough sprinter in Britain, who finished in the first three in 55 of his 134 races and won three Listed sprints), Tropical Empire (a dual Grade Two winner in South Africa), Freedom (who was conceived in Ireland but born in Germany, where she won three Listed races), Three Wrens (a Listed-winning miler in England), the West Australian Listed winners Battle EmblemEmpire Dancer,Silver SeamSilver EmpireRippedMoet Magic and Kim Invader, and the South African Listed winners Miss Scaramanga and Star Empire.

It is, though, over jumps where Second Empire’s best results have come. His first-crop son Strangely Brown won three low-grade two mile handicaps as a three-year-old from Stuart Williams’ stable in England before excelling over hurdles when trained by Eric McNamara in Ireland, with a Grade One victory in France and a Grade Two triumph in Ireland among his several successes. A few more sons of Second Empire followed suit in going over jumps, with his fourth-crop son Somersby seeming to become the star when winning a Grade One Steeplechase at Ascot in 2012. That triumph, though, has been eclipsed by the triumph of the 11-year-old Auroras Encore – a member Second Empire’s second crop who hails from a family which has produced several very good Flat horses for the Queen – in the world’s greatest steeplechase, the Grand National. This victory thus now ranks as the foremost of the several reasons why we won’t forget Second Empire.


Second Empire

Dark brown
6 stakeswinners & 8 stakeswins
Fairy KingThoroughbred
Bay 1982
20 stakeswinners & 39 stakeswins
Northern Dancer
Chestnut 1962
53 stakeswinners & 109 stakeswins
Bay 1954
39 stakeswinners & 75 stakeswins
Grey 1957
1 stakeswinners & 5 stakeswins
Fairy Bridge
Bay 1975
2 stakeswinners & 7 stakeswins
Bold Reason
Bay 1968
1 stakeswinners & 3 stakeswins
Bay 1969
2 stakeswinners & 3 stakeswins
Welsh Love
Bay 1986
4 stakeswinners & 6 stakeswins
Bay 1976
11 stakeswinners & 23 stakeswins
Brown 1971
2 stakeswinners & 6 stakeswins
Rose Bertin
Chestnut 1970
1 stakeswinners & 3 stakeswins
Welsh Flame
Bay 1973
1 stakeswinners & 2 stakeswins
Welsh Pagean
Bay 1966
8 stakeswinners & 15 stakeswins
Electric Flash
Bay 1962
Relations Joy XX
1985 chestnut mare
Jungle Boy XX
1968 grey stallion
24 stakeswinners & 55 stakeswins
Tesco Boy
Bay 1963
6 stakeswinners & 8 stakeswins
Princely Gift
Bay 1951
12 stakeswinners & 25 stakeswins
Brown 1952
1 stakeswinners & 2 stakeswins
Artists Licence
Grey 1956
Chestnut 1943
6 stakeswinners & 8 stakeswins
Royal Myth
Chestnut 1951
Bold Relation XX
1975 brown mare
Bold Bid XX
1969 brown stallion
1 stakeswinners & 1 stakeswins
Bold Lad XX
1964 stallion
3 stakeswinners & 5 stakeswins
Meld’s Relation XX
1956 mare
Puppchen XX
1967 chestnut mare
Biarritz XX
1958 stallion
3 stakeswinners & 4 stakeswins
Quivira XX
1961 mare