Galileo – New Millennium Supersire

Galileo 3

So far on this web-site I have been extolling the lives and achievements of many great legends of the past. Today I would like to examine the ongoing phenomenon of current world-wide leading sire Galileo. He has been nothing short of sensational since the day he was bred on March 30, 1998. He came from regal bloodlines, proved his class and speed on the track, and is on pace to set new standards as a sire in Thoroughbred history.

In the 1998 crop of foals by Sadler’s Wells would be the first of back to back Epsom Derby winners sired by this, at the time, worldwide leading stallion. Galileo was out of the 1993 Arc winner, and great broodmare, Urban Sea by Miswaki. He was bred by David Tsui and subsequently purchased by Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor.

Racing in the dark blue silks of Sue Magnier and trained by the very capable Aiden O’Brien, Galileo would make one start as a two year old, winning a maiden event at Leopardstown by a crushing fourteen lengths in October 2000. O’Brien would then aim Galileo for the following year’s classics and did not start the colt until the Ballysax Stakes in April and then the Derrinstown Stakes in May. Both races were ten furlongs and both were run at Leopardstown. Galileo won both races comfortably which set him up nicely in his preparation for the Derby.

At Epsom on the first Wednesday in June, Galileo was made the 11/4 favourite in a field that contained the year’s 2000 Guineas winner Golan and the reigning two year old champion Tobougg. Despite a slow early pace, Galileo would take control of the race two furlongs from the wire as he cruised past the leader Mr. Combustible with a powerful move and then run on to defeat Golan and Tobougg by three and one-half lengths, in a very fast time of 2:33.27, the third fastest in recorded Derby history.

Galileo was now the darling of the British turf and he would enhance his reputation three weeks later with resounding four length victory in the Irish Derby over Italian Derby winner Morshdi and Golan. At Ascot in July, Galileo would face older horses for the first time in the King Georg VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. He was made the 1/2 favourite over the very good five year old Fantastic Light, from the Godolphin Stables, and the French Derby winner Anabaa Blue. Galileo would make the lead with two furlongs to go but Fantastic Light would then mount a serious challenge and get to him, however Galileo responded and pulled away in the final strides to win by two lengths.

The Irish Champions Stakes at Leopardstown would see a rematch between these two and Fantastic Light would have his revenge as he inflected the first loss to Galileo, winning the ten furlong race after a stirring stretch duel, by a short head margin. The decision to run Galileo in the Breeder’s Cup Classic, at one and one-quarter miles on a dirt track, instead of the one and one-half miles Turf race on grass would prove to be a failure as he would finish unplaced to Tiznow in the event run at Belmont.

As mentioned, Galileo is by super sire Sadler’s Wells out of the super broodmare Urban Sea. Urban Sea was a champion on the race course, winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 1993 as well as six other stakes races. However as a broodmare she would become regarded as the most influential broodmare within the last twenty years, maybe of all time. Not only is she the dam of Galileo, but also the dam of another Epsom Derby winner in Sea The Stars by Cape Cross. She produced eleven foals, of which eight became stakes winners, four of which are G1 stakes winners. For an in depth review of both Sadler’s Wells and Urban Sea, please feel free to refer to the articles I have already posted.

Galileo retired to stand stud at Coolmore in Ireland, and shuttle to Coolmore’s Australian division, but is now rooted at the Irish farm year round. His first crop would contain the Irish 2000 Guineas winner Nightime; Red Rocks (Breeder’s Cup Turf, Man O’ War Stakes); Allegretto (Prix Royal-Oak); and Sixties Icon (St. Leger Stakes).  Irish Derby winner Soldier of Fortune came the following year as well as undefeated champion two year old Teofilo (Dewhurst Stakes), a new sire that is off to good start with Parish Hall, Trading Leather and Havana Gold to his credit at the time of writing

To use an often used radio DJ quote “the hits just keep on coming” would pretty well summarize the ongoing continuation of the world class runners Galileo has sired each and every year at stud. New Approach would come from his third crop and would be the first Epsom Derby winner sired by Galileo. This crop also includes the Italian Derby winner Cima De Triomphe and the St. Leger winner Alandi along with Lush Lashes (Coronation Stakes, Yorkshire Oaks).

New Approach is now a highly sought young sire standing at Dalham Hall in Newmarket and shuttling to the Darley Stud establishment in Victoria, Australia. He has already sired classic winners Dawn Approach and Talent, as well as G1 winners Sultanina and May’s Dream.

The list of G1 winners by Galileo in the past eight years is staggering. As well as the above, Galileo has sired; Altano (Prix du Cadran); Rip Van Winkle (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes); Igugu (Durban July Handicap, Cape Metropolitan Stakes); Lily Of The Valley (Prix de l’Opera); Galikova (Prix Vermielle); Golden Lilac (Prix de Diane, Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, Prix d’Ispahan); Misty For Me (Irish 1000 Guineas, Pretty Polly Stakes); Nathaniel (King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Eclipse Stakes); Roderic  O’Connor (Irish 2000 Guineas); Treasure Beach (Irish Derby, Secretariat Stakes); Great Heavens (Irish Oaks); Was (Epsom Oaks); Imperial Monarch (Grand Prix de Paris); Kingsbarns (Racing Post Trophy); and Seville (AJC Metropolitan Handicap).

In 2013 Intello would win the Prix du Jockey Club, Ruler of the World won the Epsom Derby and Magician won the Irish 2000 Guineas and the Breeder’s Cup Turf at Santa Anita.

Cape Blanco won nine of fifteen races for trainer Aiden O’Brien and the syndicate headed by Sue Magnier, in Ireland, England and the US.  He was the second of three winners of the Irish Derby sired by Galileo, and also added the Irish Champion Stakes, the Futurity Stakes, and the Dante Stakes racing in Great Britain. In the US he would take the Arlington Million, the Man O’ War Stakes and the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic. Cape Blanco is now standing in the US at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Kentucky receiving full books of top producing broodmares as he is another highly anticipated young sire from the Galileo branch of the Northern Dancer/Sadler’s Wells line.

Then there is Frankel, the undefeated wonder horse just recently retired to sire service, standing at Banstead Manor Stud, Suffolk, a division of Juddmonte Farms owned by his breeder/owner Prince Khalid Abdullah. By Galileo – Kind by Danehill, Frankel was named in honour of Hall of Fame Trainer Bobby Frankel and was the crowning achievement of legendary trainer Sir Henry Cecil, who has unfortunately recently passed following his battle with cancer.

Frankel won nine consecutive G1 races, ten in total, with his first G1 victory coming in the prestigious Dewhurst Stakes as a two year old. He won at distances ranging from seven furlongs to ten and a half furlongs. His victory in the 2011 Two-Thousand Guineas has been described by many turf writers of note as one of the greatest displays of speed ever witnessed on a British racecourse. Frankel had what many would call explosive acceleration as he would rate mid pack, or farther back, and then when his jockey Tom Queally would ask him, Frankel would be at full speed within two to three strides, taking command of the race. His closest margin of victory was a half length, which came in his first race, as he was learning his craft. Frankel won 14 races in total.

His wins include the Royal Lodge Stakes and the Dewhurst Stakes at two, the St. James Palace Stakes, the Sussex Stakes, and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, as well as his 2000 Guineas masterpiece, as a three year old. At four he won the Lockinge Stakes, the Queen Anne Stakes (by thirteen lengths), the Sussex Stakes again, the International Stakes and the Champion Stakes. Frankel is inbred to Northern Dancer 3 x 4 and is the most highly anticipated new sire in many years. He was bred to one hundred and thirty-three mares in his first season at stud, at a reported stud fee of 125,000 pounds!

A full brother to Frankel, named Noble Mission has also been very impressive. Unraced at two, Noble Mission would win the Gordon Stakes and Newmarket Stakes at three and then the Tapster Stakes at four.  It is when Noble Mission ran as a five year old last year he really showed his speed and class. He was named the Cartier Champion Older Horse in Europe. He won the Champion Stakes, Tattersalls Gold Cup, Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, Gordon Richards Stakes and the Huxley Stakes.

Noble Mission begins his first season at stud this year at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky and is being well received by breeders with a large book of quality mares.

Australia won the 2014 Irish Derby, Juddmonte International Stakes and Epsom Derby, the second consecutive victory in this classic and third overall for Galileo offspring. Tapestry won the Yorkshire Oaks and Marvelous took the Irish 2000 Guineas. Adelaide won the Cox Plate and Secretariat Stakes.

Also last year Galileo’s son Spirit Jim won the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, daughter Together Forever won the Fillies Mile at Newmarket, and two year old sons Found, winner of the Prix Marcel Boussac, and  Gleneagles winner in four of six races with his biggest score coming in the G1 Vincent O’Brien National Stakes. These two are major candidates for the upcoming classics this year in Europe. Gleneagles has already won the English and Irish 2000 Guineas, in 2015.

Galileo is already emerging as a sire of stakes producing broodmares. Night Of Thunder won the 2000 Guineas last year. He is by Dubawi – Forest Storm by Galileo. Manatee by Monsun – Galatee by Galileo won the Prix du Conseil de Paris, and Lea by First Samurai – Greenery by Galileo won the Donn Handicap and is a currently a major contender for the Dubai World Cup, to be run next week.

Galileo is the best of the many sons of Sadler’s Wells at stud, and this is a very impressive list. He is actually in a position to perhaps surpass his illustrious sire, if that is possible, in achievement someday. He has sired over one hundred and seventy-six stakes winners from his first ten crops of foals, so at this rate he could, if he lives long enough, reach over three hundred and sixty before he is pensioned from stud duty. He has led the English/Irish sire list five times already, including the past four years consecutively at time of writing.

We are currently witnessing a legend in the making.

(Photo courtesy of Coolmore Stud, Ireland)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.