The Last of the Galileos

Galileo has 13 two-year-olds from his final crop | Emma Berry


Deep Impact (Jpn), who died in 2019, has to some degree gone out in a blaze of glory with the dual Derby, Irish Champion S. and Breeders' Cup winner Auguste Rodin (Ire) among his final truncated crop of just 14 foals. What then of his old friend, the 12-time champion sire Galileo (Ire), with whom he has blended so well, and members of whose own last crop enter their juvenile season in 2024?

There are just 13 Galileo two-year-olds and, according to the Weatherbys' sire report, only one of the baker's dozen appears to have been named so far. That colt has the moniker of Last Galileo (Ire), although he was actually the first of this last crop to be born, on February 13, 2022.

Bred by Coolmore, he is out of Bye Bye Birdie (Ire) (Oasis Dream {GB}), whose dam Slink (GB) (Selkirk) is a half-sister to James Wigan's dual Grade I winner Dank (GB) (Dansili {GB}). The colt was bought through BBA Ireland for Yulong for €200,000 at last year's Goffs Orby Sale and is currently in England in pre-training.

BBA Ireland was also the buying agent, again for Yulong, of the filly out of Gold Lace (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), who was sold as a weanling for €290,000 in 2022. The half-sister to the Listed-placed Gold Filigree (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) was bred by Newstead Breeding and is now in training with Jessica Harrington, who trained another Galileo filly, the G1 Irish Oaks winner Magical Lagoon (Ire), for the same owner. 

Nowhere will Galileo's eventual absence as a sire be more keenly felt than within the walls of Ballydoyle. The horse's own stellar racing career was crafted there back in the early years of this century, and legions of his classy offspring have subsequently been trained on those same gallops.

Aidan O'Brien's final intake numbers three, two of which are colts: one out of the Listed-placed Bounce (GB) (Bahamian Bounty {GB}) and another out of the Australian G1 Thousand Guineas winner Amicus (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}), making him a brother to Royal Ascot winner Okita Soushi (Ire) and the G2 Beresford S. runner-up Chief Little Rock (Ire). Foaled on May 13, the latter was one of seven members of Galileo's final crop to be bred by Coolmore, including the last of his fillies to enter Ballydoyle. She is a daughter of Anna Karenina (Ire) (Green Desert) and her full-brother Battle Of Marengo (Ire) was fourth in the Derby as well as winning twice at Group 2 level.

Donnacha O'Brien has taken charge of two juvenile colts by Galileo in the Lynch-Bages-bred son of Aegean Girl (Ire) (Henrythenavigator) and a son of the Listed winner Chanting (Danehill), who has produced two black-type earners among her four winners by Galileo. 

Five of Galileo's last batch of foals were born within a week in May, and we've all seen what May foals can do. The Coolmore-bred colt out of Charlotte Bronte (GB) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}) arrived on May 8, and the last Galileo ever born, on May 15, 2022, was bred by Phoenix Thoroughbred Ltd. The colt out of Take Me With You (Scat Daddy), herself an $800,000 two-year-old purchase, has subsequently left Ireland and has been exported to America. He is now in pre-training with his eventual trainer still to be decided.

Another three members of the final crop are in training or pre-training in England. Richard Hannon is listed as the trainer of the Westerberg-bred filly out of Perfect Angel (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}).

Jayne McGivern, owner of the Overbury Stud stallion Golden Horn (GB) and a select group of horses in training, is a sworn jumps fan who often jokes that she is going over to the dark side when she has a runner on the Flat. She may soon come to view it as the bright side, as McGivern is the owner of the two-year-old Galileo filly out of Darsan (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB}). Bred by Frank Hutchinson, she was bought for 325,000gns from Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Sale and her owner says, “She was a bit backward but she caught up with a good holiday. I have just sent her to Malcolm Bastard for breaking and pre-training.”

It's a great buzz to have a horse like him, especially being the last of a
dynasty like Galileo's – Roderic Kavanagh 

Newmarket-based Belgian Kevin Philippart de Foy has recently moved his string to Induna Stables, which was the former base of Chris Wall, and he is looking forward to welcoming a Galileo colt out of Wind Chimes (GB) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}), whom he bought with the assistance of Mark McStay of Avenue Bloodstock for €140,000 at Goffs.

“He's in pre-training at the moment and is arriving next week,” says the trainer of the May-born colt who was another bred by Coolmore. “He was quite a backward horse when we saw him at the sales but he has improved a huge amount physically. He has got a lot bigger and a lot stronger in a very short space of time.

“He's a horse who has been very straightforward in pre-training. He was good to break in, he's a good mover and he has a very good mind on him. He's showing a lot of professionalism and I am delighted with him. Fingers crossed he can follow in the footsteps of his pedigree.”

There remains a chance to buy one of the last Galileos at public auction as breeze-up pinhookers Roderic Kavanagh and Cormac O'Flynn of Glending Stables signed up the colt out of Manderley (Ire) (Clodovil {Ire}) at the Tattersalls December Yearling Sale for 125,000gns.

The team behind the Craven Breeze-up Sale topper and dual Group 1 winner Vandeek (GB) (Havana Grey {GB}) plans to return to that same auction with the  three-part-brother to Listed winner Hidden Dimples (Ire) (Frankel {GB}). He too was bred by Coolmore and is a May 13 foal. 

“We haven't done anything serious with him at all but I'm very fond of him,” Kavanagh told TDN. “I haven't dealt with too many Galileos but he has a beautiful mind and he's enjoying his work.

“It's a great buzz to have a horse like him, especially being the last of a dynasty like Galileo's. Just as an individual he seems to be a good model with a good mind and has taken it all well. With his birthday he might be more of an Arqana horse, but we're going to try for the Craven. There's a bit of prestige there with Vandeek last year. We're dreaming at the minute anyway.”

It has been a privilege to have been following racing and breeding through the era of Galileo. His name may be gradually receding in pedigrees but it will endure for generations yet. And with 93 three-years-olds from his penultimate crop and the juveniles detailed above, we can but hope for a last hurrah or two.


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