Galileo: The Hardest Of Acts To Follow


Galileo is champion sire for 12th time | Coolmore


In a temporarily upside-down world, a comforting air of normality can be found in a perusal of the end-of-year stallion tables. To Benjamin Franklin's certainties of death and taxes, in this smaller world we can add just about the only sure thing in racing and bloodstock: Galileo (Ire) is champion sire.

Perhaps the greatest compliment that can be paid to the King of Tipperary is the fact that, even at his home at Coolmore, the operation which naturally has free-flowing access to the supersire via some of the best mares on the planet, the hunt is still on for his rightful heir. It may be too much to expect that a son will be able to continue the line with a show of such dominance, as Galileo did for his own sire Sadler's Wells, and he in turn for Northern Dancer. Galileo certainly has some very good sire sons out there—not least his greatest achievement, Frankel (GB), and the former champion 2-year-old Teofilo (Ire)—but he once again remains way out in front of allcomers after another record-breaking year.

Galileo officially turns 23 on New Year's Day and he has now been champion sire in Britain and Ireland for more than half of his life. After the most unsettling year in living memory, when the Guineas, Oaks and Derby were all delayed, Galileo once again left his increasingly imposing mark on the season's Classics.

His daughter Love (Ire) won the 1000 Guineas before posting arguably the most impressive performance by a 3-year-old all season when going on to land the Oaks. Between those two races, her stablemate Peaceful (Ire) had pushed Galileo into new record-breaking territory when becoming his 85th individual Group 1 winner in the Irish 1000 Guineas, thereby wresting the title from Danehill, the stallion with whom he has shown such an affinity.

Further records were to follow. The Derby of 2020 was a memorable one, perhaps not for the right reason, but the tearaway winner Serpentine (Ire) meant Galileo went clear as the most successful Derby sire of all time, his five winners putting him ahead of Sir Peter Teazle, Waxy, Cyllene, Blandford, and his erstwhile stud-mate Montjeu (Ire).

With over £5 million in progeny earnings for 2020-more than double the tally of his nearest pursuer Dubawi (Ire)—Galileo duly claimed his 12th sires' championship in Britain and Ireland, and he is the European champion, with almost £6.4 million in earnings, £777,199 of which was accrued by his top earner, the mighty mare Magical (Ire). It is worth noting that this tally is significantly lower than last year's haul of just over £16 million owing to drastic prize-money cuts during a Covid-affected racing season. Galileo was also a long way clear by number of black-type winners: 27 in Britain and Ireland, and 32 in total across Europe, which was almost 11% of his runners.

Dubawi Provides World Beater
Darley's admirable Dubawi (Ire) is used to playing understudy to Galileo but he is a fantastically successful stallion in his own right, and clearly the best in Britain. With an increasing array of promising young sire sons, he is also responsible for the top-rated horse in in the world in 2020: Ghaiyyath (Ire). In his 5-year-old season Ghaiyyath had Enable (GB) and Magical (Ire) behind him respectively when winning the G1 Coral-Eclipse and G1 Juddmonte International, following his front-running romp in the relocated G1 Hurworth Bloodstock Coronation Cup. And  Ghaiyyath is of course out of Galileo's first Classic winner, Nightime (Ire) and thus bred on the same cross as his Kildangan Stud mate Night Of Thunder (Ire), who has made an eye-catching start to his own stallion career.

Dubawi posted 13 stakes winners in Britain and Ireland in 2020 to take second in the table, and with 23 stakes winners overall in Europe, he was third in the European championship behind Siyouni (Fr), who was responsible for Arc winner Sottsass (Fr) and is the champion sire in France. We'll be looking at the French and German tables in greater depth in Sunday's edition of TDN.

Dark Angel (Ire) and Kodiac (GB), representing different branches of Ireland's O'Callaghan family at Yeomanstown Stud and Tally-Ho Stud respectively, are both hugely reliable sources of winners and they were the only two stallions to notch in excess of 150 winners, with Kodiac on 155 and Dark Angel on 152. 

The latter finished ahead overall in the table, with his 11 stakes winners headed by the top-class sprinter Battaash (Ire), who was faultless in his three starts in 2020, landing the G1 Coolmore Nunthorpe S. for the second year in a row having started out with victory in the G1 King's Stand S. He also won Goodwood's G2 King George S. for the fourth time, beating subsequent Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint heroine Glass Slippers (GB).

Kodiac enjoyed a memorable Royal Ascot in the juvenile division as the sire of Campanelle (Ire) and Nando Parrado (GB), but leading the charge for him in Berkshire was the G1 Diamond Jubilee S. winner Hello Youmzain (Fr), who has now become the first son of Kodiac to retire to stud in France.

A Champions Day To Savour
The redoubtable veteran of the British stallion ranks is Cheveley Park Stud's Pivotal (GB), whose range is such that he was runner-up to Galileo in the broodmare sires' table and provided the French champion sire, his son Siyouni. In his own right he was responsible for a British Champions Day Group 1 double via Glen Shiel (GB) and Addeybb (Ire), the latter having also won two Group 1 races in Australia back in the spring while European racing was on lockdown.

Pivotal had only 79 individual runners in Britain and Ireland in 2020 – less than half of most of the sires around him in the top ten list, but he can still more than hold his own and was fifth overall.

Ballylinch Stud's Lope De Vega (Ire) is a stallion whose popularity stretches across continents and, while his GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Aunt Pearl (Ire) doesn't count towards his local earnings, he had a Group 1 winner on Irish turf in Keeneland Phoenix S. winner Lucky Vega (Ire). That runner's stable-mate Cadillac (Ire), winner of the G2 KPMG Champions Juvenile S. for Jessica Harrington, looks another exciting prospect for the 2021 season.

One of the stand-out older fillies of 2020 was Sheikh Hamdan's Nazeef (GB), winner of the G1 Falmouth S. and G1 Sun Chariot S. on each of Newmarket's tracks. She was also the headline act for her sire, the Irish National Stud's Invincible Spirit (Ire), now 24 and joining his half-brother Kodiac on the leaderboard at number seven. He too was represented by a Grade I winner in America when 4-year-old Digital Age (Ire) landed the Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic at Churchill Downs for Chad Brown.

Zoffany (Ire) may struggle for attention against some of his stud-mates at Coolmore but he nevertheless can be relied upon to provide his fair share of smart juveniles. Albigna (Ire) was his Group 1 star in that regard in 2019, and the following season that honour went to the Aidan and Annemarie O'Brien-bred Thunder Moon (Ire), winner of the G1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National S. for Chantal Regalado-Gonzalez and who helped to boost his sire to the top 10.

King In The Making
The youngest of this group is Juddmonte's Kingman (GB), whose first crop were four in 2020 and included his first Classic winner, Persian King (Ire). The classiest of his most recent Classic generation was the champion 3-year-old colt Palace Pier (GB), winner of five of his six starts, including the G1 St James's Palace S. and G1 Prix Jacques le Marois. Kingman posted nine stakes winners in Britain and Ireland, and he was sixth overall in the European table, with 16 black-type winners to his name, including another two Group 1 wins for Persian King in the Moulin and the Ispahan.

Completing the top ten in Britain and Ireland was Gilltown Stud's Sea The Stars (Ire), sire of the massively popular champion stayer Stradivarius (Ire) among his 18 black-type winners, eight of which came in Britain and Ireland. Fanny Logan (Ire) got the better of the colts in the G2 Hardwicke S., while another of his Royal Ascot winners, Hukum (Ire), could well be a stayer to follow this year.

Galileo's first two sons in the table appear just outside the top ten. The profile of Australia (GB) was lifted in 2020 by his first Classic winner, Galileo Chrome (Ire), in the St Leger, while farther afield Order Of Australia (Ire) emulated the Breeders' Cup success of his elder half-sister Iridessa (Ire) (Ruler Of The World {Ire}).

By his own lofty standards, Frankel (GB) had a quieter year in Britain and Ireland, but he was responsible for 11 stakes winners and on the international stage he was represented by G1 Metropolitan H. winner Mirage Dancer (GB) in Australia and GI Asahi Hai Futurity winner Grenadier Guards (Jpn) in Japan.

Global Success
The Irish-based duo of Dandy Man (Ire) and Camelot (GB) were also represented by international Grade/Group 1 winners, with River Boyne (Ire), a son of the former, landing the Frank E. Kilroe Mile in America, and Russian Camelot (Ire) breaking new ground by becoming the first northern hemisphere-bred 3-year-old to win a Classic in Australia with his victory in the South Australia Derby. Camelot's Australian reputation was further enhanced by the G1 Cox Plate victory of Sir Dragonet (Ire).

Closer to home, Even So (Ire) gave Camelot a domestic Classic victory in the G1 Irish Oaks, and Dandy Man's daughters Dandalla (Ire) and Happy Romance (Ire) shone brightly. The former landed Group-race wins at Royal Ascot and Newmarket's July meeting, while Happy Romance beat subsequent G1 Cheveley Park S. Winner Alcohol Free (Ire) when landing the G3 Dick Poole Fillies S.

Also making the top 15 was Showcasing (GB), whose list of sons at stud now stretches to five, the most recent recruit being his top performer of 2020, the G1 Sussex S. winner Mohaather (GB). In fact, Showcasing's top two runners of the year were both trained in his 'home' stable of Whitsbury by Marcus Tregoning for Sheikh Hamdan, with Alkumait (GB) displaying his talent with victory in the G2 Mill Reef S.

It takes a mighty effort to make it into the top 20 stallions in Britain and Ireland with just one crop of runners, but the prolific Mehmas (Ire) achieved just that, finishing in 17th position overall with 46 winners, and 56 across Europe from his 101 runners. His tally smashed Iffraaj's record of 39 first-crop winners and included G1 Middle Park S. hero Supremacy (Ire) and G2 Gimcrack S winner Minzaal (Ire). There will be more about his explosive season in Saturday's edition when we review the leading first- and second-crop sires in Europe.

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