<< Back
Galileo closing in on records of his great sire
24 Jul 2016 | By Nancy Sexton, RacingPost

Whereas a single Group 1 winner is a noteworthy achievement for most stallions, we have come to regard Galileo's dominance in that department as business as usual.

Only once since 2011 has he fired in fewer than seven northern hemisphere Group/Grade 1 winners in a year, a fact that has contributed to his six consecutive sire championships since 2010.

His northern hemisphere tally for the season already stands at six and with the promise of another regally connected crop of juveniles in the pipeline, he stands within striking distance of surpassing last year's personal best of ten.

The next milestone to fall to Galileo will be a 60th Group or Grade 1 winner and judging by the speed with which he has been churning them out recently - already this month he has Alice Springs, Deauville and Seventh Heaven, his 59th Group 1 winner - that number is likely to be reached sooner rather than later.

His sire Sadler's Wells reached the landmark 18 years into his stud career when Yesterday landed the Irish 1,000 Guineas in 2003. By comparison, Galileo has just completed his 15th season.

Sadler's Wells is credited with 73 Group/Grade 1 winners worldwide, among them 23 who scored at the top level at two. While Galileo didn't come up with a Group 1-winning two-year-old in his first crop - Listed winner Innocent Air was his sole stakes-winning juvenile in 2005 - he has since been represented by 14 two-year-old Group/Grade 1 winners.

Granted good health, Galileo will surely also surpass his sire's overall total of Group 1 winners. Whether he will better Sadler's Wells' record 14 sire championships, he is halfway there, is another matter.

Sadler's Wells, of course, has long been the benchmark by which excellence in European bloodstock has been measured. There were six Group 1 winners in his first crop, including Prince Of Dance and Scenic, who dead-heated in the 1988 Dewhurst Stakes, and In The Wings, who returned from injury to flourish as an older horse.

Within months of his outstanding juvenile campaign for Major Dick Hern, Prince Of Dance's life had been claimed by a form of spinal cancer. Beautifully bred as a son of Lord Weinstock's runaway Oaks heroine Sun Princess, he had been secured for stud duty by Coolmore in the winter of his two-year-old year and, given his credentials, could have well developed into an early important sire son.

Of course, Coolmore did attain those important sire sons years later in Montjeu and Galileo, but not before a group of disappointments had passed through Europe.

One of Galileo's biggest assets is his ability to complement fast mares, in turn one of the driving forces behind his powerful alliance with Danehill. He clicks with faster mares with arguably greater efficiency than his sire - look no further than Frankel, Gleneagles, Adelaide and Magician, all the products of fast stakes winners.

The latest representative of such a union is Saturday's Irish Oaks winner Seventh Heaven, a daughter of the fast filly La Traviata.

La Traviata was most effective over 6f on dirt in the US but such has been the dominance of Galileo in this instance that her daughter relishes 1m4f.

La Traviata, the best of three winners out of Piedras Negras, an unraced Unbridled half-sister to the durable two-time Group 3 winner Jack Sullivan, came into Coolmore ownership when purchased by Demi O'Byrne for $1.1 million at the 2006 Fasig-Tipton Calder Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale. It was an excellent auction result for her young sire Johannesburg, then at Ashford Stud, but at a sale where seven juveniles brought $1m or more, led by the eye-watering $16m commanded by The Green Monkey, the transaction attracted few headlines.

As it turned out, La Traviata represented by far a better deal than The Green Monkey. Sent to Patrick Biancone, she racked up three consecutive wins each by daylight, among them the 2007 Grade 3 Victory Ride Stakes at Saratoga by nine and a quarter lengths. Her only defeat came when down the field in that year's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.

Today, she is a dual Group 1 producer at the relatively young age of 12. Her first foal, the Mr Greeley colt Crusade, won the 2010 Middle Park Stakes and is now at stud in South Africa, while her second, the similarly smart Henrythenavigator colt Cristoforo Colombo, ran third in the Coventry Stakes. He arguably never returned to his best after taking a tumble in the Phoenix Stakes and was probably unlucky not to win a stakes race. He is now at stud in Morocco.

Seventh Heaven is the mare's fifth foal and followed by another Galileo filly, Kiss Me Not, who wasn't knocked about when fifth on her debut last month at Tipperary. Her Galileo yearling colt has been exported to the US.

Seventh Heaven might be staying true to Galileo but it would be wrong to disregard the presence of Johannesburg in her background.

She is the second Irish Classic winner of the year out of a mare by Coolmore's former champion two-year-old following Jet Setting, successful in the Irish 1,000 Guineas, and one of eight stakes winners this season overall. Others include dual Grade 3 winner Collected and Wesley Ward's highly regarded two-year-old Silvertoni, who ran ninth behind Caravaggio in the Coventry Stakes.

Footnote: Galileo has enjoyed yet another cracking week siring two Group winning two-year-olds and a 5 length maiden winner at Leopardstown in Ireland last Thursday while yesterday his brilliant son Highland Reel added to Galileo's golden summer by winning the Gr.1 King George V1 & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in England.

Galileo's second highest rated son (to Frankel) is exciting young sire and multiple Gr.1 winner Rip Van Winkle who stands at Windsor Park Stud for a fee of $12,500 + GST.