By Andrew Caulfield
Three European classics in three days provided us with a reminder – not that any were needed – of the brilliance of three different facets of that equine gem – Galileo.
The first of the three classics, the Investec Oaks, was won in courageous style by Anapurna (GB), a grand-daughter of Galileo by the mighty Frankel. Frankel follows New Approach and Nathaniel as the third son of Galileo to sire an Oaks winner in the last seven years, his predecessors’ contributions being Talent and the exceptional Enable. Galileo’s stallion sons have also been responsible for winners of the 2,000 Guineas and Derby, the Irish 1,000 Guineas and Irish Derby and the Japanese Oaks. The following day’s Investec Derby was widely reported as being almost totally dominated by Galileo and his male line descendants. All but one of the 13 runners were members of the Galileo male line, with six sons of Galileo, five grandsons and one great-grandson. The one exception, the Camelot colt Sir Dragonet, has Galileo’s sister All Too Beautiful as his second dam. Victory, of course, went to the gallant Anthony Van Dyke (Ire), who follows New Approach, Ruler Of The World and Australia as his fourth winner of the Epsom classic. With a dam by Exceed And Excel, Anthony Van Dyke becomes the ninth G1 winner that Galileo has sired from mares by sons of his great ally Danehill. Needless to say, Galileo owes 12 of his G1 winners, and 46 of his black-type winners, to daughters of Danehill, with the G1 winners featuring the classic winners Frankel, Intello, Golden Lilac, Roderic O’Connor and Cima de Triomphe, as well as such as Teofilo, Noble Mission and Highland Reel.
Although his partnership with Danehill mares still has more foals aged three or over than his alliance with mares by Danehill’s sons, the Danehill grand-daughters are rapidly catching up and their nine G1 scorers now include winners of the 1,000 Guineas, Oaks, Derby and St Leger, as well as the 2,000 Guineas equivalents in Ireland and France. We can surely expect to see more good Galileo winners out of mares by Exceed And Excel, especially as Anthony Van Dyke’s dam Believe ‘N’ Succeed produced a filly to the ten-time champion sire on January 11. Galileo’s first three foals out of Exceed And Excel mares also include Mission Impassible, a smart French miler who stretched her stamina to finish second in the GI Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup over an extra furlong at Keeneland.
Mission Impassible, like Anthony Van Dyke, is out of a mare who shone over sprint distances, her dam being the G1 Nunthorpe S. winner Margot Did. Anthony Van Dyke’s dam Believe ‘N’ Succeed was sufficiently fast and precocious to win the fillies’ edition of the G3 Blue Diamond Prelude over 5 ½ furlongs, while her brother Kuroshio won the colts’ and geldings’ division of the same race five years later.
In siring a Derby winner from such a speedy mare, Galileo has achieved a similar feat to the one where he sired the 2010 Irish Derby winner Cape Blanco from Laurel Delight, a useful sprinter who made 24 of her 25 starts over the minimum trip of five furlongs. There are clearly times when Galileo’s innate stamina will overpower any amount of speed.
The last of the weekend’s classics, the Prix du Jockey-Club, highlighted the prowess of Galileo’s broodmare daughters. Victory went to Siyouni’s rapidly-improving son Sottsass, a son of Galileo’s non-winning daughter Starlet’s Sister. This wasn’t the only G1 success of the weekend for a Galileo mare, as another of them, the Newmarket mile-and-a-half winner Skip Along, is the dam of Winning Ways, who landed the Queensland Oaks.
Siyouni has now sired a French classic winner in three of his first five crops, thanks to Ervedya, Laurens and now Sottsass. Sottsass’ victory will be welcomed by breeders lucky enough to own a Galileo broodmare (provided they have the funds to access France’s highest-priced stallion). Siyouni, whose pedigree combines two of the stallions – Pivotal and Danehill – whose daughters have worked so magnificently with Galileo, has only six foals aged three or over out of Galileo mares. Sottsass is the second of them to become a black-type winner, his predecessor being Maqsad, who started third favourite for the Oaks. Expect Maqsad to return to her Pretty Polly-winning form when she reverts to a mile and a quarter.
Sottsass follows La Cressonniere, winner of the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches and Prix de Diane in 2016, as the second French classic winner out of a Galileo mare. Coincidentally, both of them are out of mares which failed to win. Whereas La Cressonniere’s dam Absolute Lady never finished closer than fourth in six starts at the lesser tracks, Sottsass’ dam Starlet’s Sister once finished second on Deauville’s all-weather track.
However, both mares are sisters to black-type winners. Absolute Lady is a sister to Paris Winds, who was G2-placed in Ireland before becoming a stakes winner in the U.S., while Starlet’s Sister is a sister to Leo’s Starlight, winner of the G3 Prix Cleopatre over 1 5/16 miles and narrowly beaten in the G2 Prix de Malleret over a mile and a half. They are by no means the
only G1 winners out of undistinguished racemares by Galileo, two other good examples being Galileo Gold (2,000 Guineas and St James’s Palace S.) and Barney Roy (St James’s Palace S. and beaten only a nose in the Eclipse S.). Many others, of course, are out of Group-winning daughters of Galileo, recent examples being Magna Grecia, Saxon Warrior and U S Navy Flag,
I should add that Starlet’s Sister is shaping up as an exceptional mare, with each of her first three foals – Sistercharlie, My Sister Nat and Sottsass – winning at Group level. It is also noticeable that all three have stayed markedly further than their speedy sires, which provides another insight into the stamina latent in Galileo’s descendants.
The number three has featured quite a lot in this article and I could add that Oaks heroine Anapurna was one of three Oaks runners by Frankel, who was also represented by three black-type-winning daughters over the weekend, with Obligate (G2 Prix de Sandringham) and Sun Maiden (Listed Nottinghamshire Oaks) following Anapurna’s example.
Although Frankel is unlikely to catch Galileo on the leading sires’ table this year, he is now up to third place, even though he has markedly fewer representatives than the other stallions in the top ten. Whereas Frankel has had 67 runners, Kodiac has had 226, Dark Angel 180, Dandy Man 151, Galileo 105, Invincible Spirit 103, Lope de Vega 103, Shamardal 101, Dubawi 97 and Sea The Stars 85.
Even first-rate classic winners can struggle to maintain patronage after the rush to support them in their first season. Galileo’s fee had to be reduced a few times in the wait for him to prove himself and he was available for €40,000 in his third season and €37,500 in his fourth and fifth years, before his first three year olds did so well that his fee shot up to €150,000. Galileo’s exceptional half-brother Sea The Stars wasn’t immune either, with the number of foals in his first five crops fluctuating from 118 in his first crop to 67, 124, 74 and 93 in the next four.
Frankel also found years three and four comparatively difficult. His current northern hemisphere three-year-olds number only 86, but among them are Anapurna, Obligate, Mehdaayih, Frankellina, the classic-placed East, the Group-placed Old Glory, Suphala and Syrtis and such promising maiden winners as Logician and Brogue. His fourth crop is even smaller, at 80 foals. However, Frankel’s first crop did so outstandingly well that he has over 160 yearlings, conceived in 2017, and he was again in great demand in 2018, so he won’t be at a numerical disadvantage for long.