Coolmore In Hunt for Galileo Heir

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As the breeding season approaches its midway point, stallions’ books will be well and truly firming up, and stallion masters will have a good handle on the affinity of their new recruits to their second careers. For the team at Coolmore in Ireland, this is of great importance as they search for the heir to their peerless champion sire Galileo (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells).

Not that the 19-year-old is showing any signs of slowing down. Galileo, who has been champion sire eight of the last nine years, sired in 2016 such luminaries as Alice Springs (Ire), 2-year-old champion Churchill (Ire), G1 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe top three Found (Ire), Highland Reel (Ire) and Order of St George (Ire), champion filly Minding (Ire), G1 Fillies’ Mile winner Rhododendron (Ire), Irish Oaks winner Seventh Heaven (Ire) and French Guineas winner The Gurkha (Ire).

A top stud farm doesn’t stay in that space by sitting back and reflecting on past accomplishments, however, and Coolmore’s Director of Sales David O’Loughlin noted, “It’s an interesting time here for us, because Galileo is 19 years of age now, so we’re looking to the future. The future is in the back of our minds, and we have four of his sons here: Australia, Gleneagles, The Gurkha and Ruler of the World. We’re doing our best to get them good mares and we’re very much supporting them ourselves.”

While the Coolmore roster is choc-full of promising young stallions who could be the next champion sire, for sake of space in this piece we will look at the books served by the stud’s two newest recruits, The Gurkha and Pride of Dubai (Aus) (Street Cry {Ire}), and its four with first yearlings in 2017, and thus covering their critical third book.

The Gurkha, the winner of last year’s G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains and G1 Sussex S., is standing his initial season for €25,000. “The Gurkha is a horse we bred,” O’Loughlin noted. “We bought his mother, who is by Danehill Dancer, as a yearling in Deauville, and she was a good 2-year-old and won a good race at The Curragh. She was actually scanned in foal to Galileo this week.”

The Gurkha made just six starts; he did not run at two, and his career was cut short by a bout of colic the week after he won the Sussex, and O’Loughlin reflected, “I don’t think we saw the best of him. He’d only had two runs when he won the French 2000 Guineas and he was only a maiden winner going into that. And then he went to Ascot after that and it was the first time he’d gone right handed around a bend and he was just beaten [when second to English Guineas winner Galileo Gold in the G1 St. James’s Palace S.] Then he ran in the [G1] Eclipse S. and the ground was too soft for him [when again second]. He won well at Goodwood, and the following week he colicked and we had to open him up and we had to retire him.”

The Gurkha will cover over 150 mares in his inaugural season, and will be supported by breeders from across Europe and further afield in America, including Cheveley Park Stud, John Gunther, the Niarchos Family, the Aga Khan, Ballymacoll Stud, Newsells Park Stud, Ecurie des Monceaux, SF Bloodstock and Madame Andre Fabre. Among the notable mares on his first book are Group 1 winners Fraulein (GB) (Acatenago {Ger}), Dublino (Lear Fan), Sense of Style (Thunder Gulch) and Ramruma (Diesis {GB}); the well-related Classic-placed Queen Cleopatra (Ire) (Kingmambo); and the dams of Group 1 winners Prince Gibraltar (Ire) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}), Temida (Ire) (Oratorio {Ire}), Halfbridled (Unbridled) and Magnificent Song (Unbridled’s Song).

The Gurkha’s fellow newcomer, Pride of Dubai, was born and raised at Coolmore Australia as a homebred of Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum, but his pedigree holds plenty of appeal for breeders worldwide. A son of champion dual hemisphere sire Street Cry, his dam is a half to the dam of prolific sires Invincible Spirit (Ire) and Kodiac (GB). Pride of Dubai was a dual Group 1 winner at two. He stands in Ireland for €15,000.

“He’s a different sort of horse from The Gurkha, he’s more your speed type and he was a top 2-year-old,” O’Loughlin said. He has a very interesting pedigree, being by Street Cry over a Danehill mare from the family of Invincible Spirit and Kodiac, so it resonates a lot with breeders. It’s a fantastic stallion-producing family and people can relate to it so easily.”

“He’s such an international horse, and I think that’s becoming more important because the world is getting smaller,” O’Loughlin added. “Speed horses are getting more popular everywhere, so he’s a big hit with European breeders because he was so fast. He’s going to cover a similar book to The Gurkha, 150-plus mares. The other thing is he’s an outcross to Sadler’s Wells-line mares, which is important here.”

Shareholders in Pride of Dubai include his breeder Sheikh Khalifa al Maktoum and the China Horse Club, and other breeders supporting him include Jim Bolger, Airlie Stud, the Niarchos Family, Moyglare Stud, Mark Gittins, and Denis Brosnan. His book includes group winners Ponty Acclaim (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) and Princess Nala (Ire) (In The Wings {GB}), and the dam of Group 1 winner Lahaleeb (Ire) (Redback {GB}).

Coolmore has four sires with their first yearlings in 2017, and two of those are sons of Galileo: Australia (GB) and Ruler of the World (Ire). And the similarities don’t end there. Both won the Derby, Australia in 2014 and Ruler of the World in 2013, and both come from top families. Australia is a son of G1 Epsom Oaks winner Ouija Board (GB) (Cape Cross {Ire}), and Ruler of the World is a half-brother to champion Duke of Marmalade (Ire) (Danehill) from the family of champion sire A.P. Indy.
Australia, winner of the Epsom and Irish Derbies and G1 Juddmonte International and third in the G1 2000 Guineas, stood his first two seasons for €50,000 and is this year available for €35,000.

“Australia is one of the best horses that has ever come in here,” O’Loughlin said. “He nearly won the 2000 Guineas and I think people forget what a good miler he was, because it was one the best 2000 Guineas in the last 25 years. He’s by a Derby winner out of an Oaks winner, and one of the best Oaks winners ever in Ouija Board–she was an out-and-out champion. We have some very nice yearlings of our own by him, including a filly out of [American champion] Rags To Riches. From what I can see his stock are in the Galileo mould, they just get better and better as they go along.”

Members of Australia’s first crop also include the progeny of Group 1 winners Circle of Life (Belong To Me), Mauralakana (Fr) (Muhtathir {GB}), Virginia Waters (Kingmambo), Sense of Style and Nymphea (Ire) (Dylan Thomas {Ire}), and siblings to Group 1 winners Order Of St George, Beauty Only (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}); Earl of Tinsdal (Ger) (Black Sam Bellamy {Ire}), Guignol (Ger) (Cape Cross {Ire}), Lucky Lion (GB) (High Chaparral {Ire}), Guiliani (Ire) (Tertullian), Ridasiyna (Fr) (Motivator {GB}) and Potemkin (Ger) (New Approach {Ire}).

Australia has been supported by an international spread of breeders which includes, in addition to shareholder China Horse Club, Martin Schwartz, Moyglare Stud, Glenhill Farm, Gestut Fahrhof, Ballylinch Stud and Sir Robert Ogden.

Ruler of the World has garnered similarly global support, despite the fact that his first book was cut short due to injury, allowing him to cover just 55 mares. That number went up to 94 last year.

“We own him in partnership with Al Shaqab and they’ve supported him all along,” O’Loughlin noted of Ruler of the World, who has also been supported at stud by his trainer, Aidan O’Brien. “Breeders in England, France, Ireland and Germany have supported the horse.”

Coolmore’s other two first-season yearling sires were both American-bred Group 1-winning 2-year-olds: War Command (War Front) and No Nay Never (Scat Daddy). War Command, who covered 124 mares in his first season and 152 last year, is the only son of War Front standing in Ireland, with Coolmore standing Declaration of War and Air Force Blue at Ashford Stud in Kentucky. War Command, who won the G1 Dewhurst S. and G2 Coventry S. at two, has been supported by such breeders as Whisperview Trading, Ballylinch Stud, the Niarchos Family, Peter Kavanagh, Newsells Park Stud and the Aga Khan. His first crop of yearlings includes the progeny of group winners Acago (Royal Academy) and Spanish Sun (El Prado {Ire}), and the siblings to Group 1 performers Cloth of Stars (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) and Elektrum (Ire) (High Chaparral {Ire}).

No Nay Never is a son of Scat Daddy, who died at the height of his stud career in 2015. No Nay Never has proven popular, covering 118 mares in 2015 and 170 last year, when the loss of Scat Daddy was made all the more apparent by his Royal Ascot 2-year-old winners Lady Aurelia and Caravaggio.

“No Nay Never was pinhooked by Paul Shanahan and Timmy Hyde as a foal so they’ve supported him very well since he’s come to stud–he’s got plenty of their mares,” O’Loughlin said. “They’re big believers in the horse. But he’s an interesting horse because he raced in three countries: America, England and France and he raced on three surfaces, turf, dirt and polytrack. He’s been particularly popular internationally; some Americans have bred mares to him, people like Hunter Valley and Reiley McDonald.”

No Nay Never, as the only son of Scat Daddy standing in Europe, has indeed enjoyed the support of some high quality mares, like the dams of Grade/Group 1 winners Photo Call (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and The Wow Signal (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}).

While it is anyone’s guess who will ultimately emerge as the next champion sire, a handful of young guns at Coolmore are being afforded every opportunity to succeed.

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