Aidan O’Brien’s achievement of saddling the first three home in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe was, quite rightly, universally hailed as a remarkable feat of training. Not all reviews of Europe’s richest race, however, gave due credit to Galileo, sire of the trio from Ballydoyle. The Arc result was as much a show of strength by one stallion as it was by one stable.
Found, Highland Reel and Order of St George – the first three in the latest Arc – are a good illustration of Galileo’s ability to get top-class performers from mares with a variety of pedigrees and backgrounds. Each of the three were out of mares from different sire-lines and even from different continents.
King George & Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Highland Reel represents the celebrated Galileo x Danehill cross which produced Frankel, among others, though his dam Hveger was an Australian-bred daughter of Danehill. Highland Reel’s younger brother Idaho won the Great Voltigeur at York in August after being placed in the Derby and Irish Derby.
Found is a daughter of the Intikhab (Roberto line) mare Red Evie, winner of the Matron Stakes and Lockinge Stakes. Red Evie was bought privately by Coolmore after being led out unsold at the Tattersalls December Sale in 2007 when the bidding reached a million guineas. She was evidently bought principally as a mate for Galileo as she has had repeat visits to him. Found’s three-year-old sister Best In The World won the Group 3 Give Thanks Stakes at Cork earlier this year.
Red Evie was best at a mile though that hasn’t stopped Found staying a mile and a half. Likewise, Galileo has imparted plenty of stamina to Order of St George, even more in his case. However, out of a Gone West mare, the Gold Cup winner comes from an American dirt family as his grandam Storm Song won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Order of St George was a $550,000 yearling purchase at Keeneland.
A week later and Galileo delivered more Group 1 winners for O’Brien, this time at Future Champions Weekend at Newmarket, where Churchill won the Dewhurst Stakes and Galileo’s daughters Rhododendron and Hydrangea finished one-two in the Fillies’ Mile.
Another week on, and Minding gained her fifth Group 1 of the year in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on British Champions Day at Ascot. That took O’Brien’s number of Group 1 wins on the flat this year to 21, putting him within reach of the record of 25 Grade 1 wins set by Bobby Frankel in 2003. But whereas Frankel’s record total was gained by 14 individual horses, all of them by different sires, no fewer than ten of O’Brien’s dozen individual Group 1 winners this year have been by Galileo whose sons and daughters have been responsible for 19 of those 21 Group 1 wins.*
Earlier in the year, Minding had led home another Galileo one-two-three in a major race when beating her stable-companions Balldoyle and Alice Springs in the 1000 Guineas.**
In one fell swoop, Galileo has ensured himself of the sires’ championship in France by having the first three home in the Arc. Meanwhile, his domination in Britain and Ireland is such that his earnings of more than £10m are more than that of the next three sires in the table – Dubawi, Sea The Stars and Dark Angel – combined.
As a commercial stud, Coolmore, with over twenty stallions on its Irish roster, is anything but a one-horse operation, but its racing arm, Ballydoyle, owes everything, or pretty much, this season at least, to Galileo. In this respect, Galileo has taken over the mantle of his own sire Sadler’s Wells.
Galileo’s success looks to have given rival breeding and racing superpower Godolphin food for thought if recent activity at the yearling sales is anything to go by.
Godolphin have a potential supersire themselves in Dubawi, though despite siring two Dubai World Cup winners for them (Monterosso and Prince Bishop), he’s yet to do for Godolphin’s trainers what Galileo has done for Aidan O’Brien.
Dubawi’s best horse this season, Postponed, winner of the Dubai Sheema Classic, Coronation Cup and Juddmonte International this season (but only fifth when favourite for the Arc) carries the colours of the breeder of Dubawi’s dam, Sheikh Obaid Al Maktoum. Dubawi had two winners on British Champions Day, but neither Sheikhzayedroad (Long Distance Cup) nor Journey (Fillies & Mares Stakes) are Godolphin horses either, and nor are the pair who gave him a one-two in the Canadian International a day later, Erupt and Dartmouth.
But it looks as though Dubawi, whose stud fee was raised to £225,000 for the latest season, and Godolphin will be depending on each other for mutual success to a far greater degree from now on. An important recent breakthrough was Dubawi’s first Group 1 two-year-old winner when Wuheida won the Prix Marcel Boussac. She is a homebred, out of the Fillies’ Mile and Yellow Ribbon Stakes winner Hibaayeb.
Godolphin’s homebred Dubawi stock will be supplemented by a number of expensive sales purchases reaching the track in the next year or two. They will include Parabellum, a two-year-old colt in training with Andre Fabre, who broke the Arqana August Yearling Sale record when selling to John Ferguson for €2.6m in 2015. Recent Yarmouth maiden winner Wolf Country also set a sales record (for Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sales) when fetching 725,000 guineas last year.
Now chief executive of Godolphin as well as bloodstock advisor to Sheikh Mohammed, Ferguson said he was instructed by his boss ‘to focus on quality and give [Godolphin] a kick in the belly.’ Dubawi has clearly been identified as the main source of that quality.
Ferguson secured the Dubawi yearling out of the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches winner Beauty Parlour at the Wildenstein dispersal for a sale-topping €1.4m. But that was just a taste of what was to come at Tattersalls October Book 1. There, no fewer than 13 Dubawi yearlings were sold for 500,000 guineas or more (Galileo had ten), with Ferguson purchasing eight of those for a total just shy of 9m guineas. They included a colt out of Coronation Stakes winner Fallen For You who made 2.6m guineas, the joint-highest price of the sale with another son of Dubawi (out of Prix de l’Opera winner Zee Zee Top) who was bought by Shadwell.
*Two-year-olds Caravaggio (by Scat Daddy) and Brave Anna (by War Front), winners of the Phoenix Stakes and Cheveley Park Stakes respectively are the two Ballydoyle Group 1 winners this year not sired by Galileo.
**Minding, Ballydoyle and Alice Springs also finished one-two-three in the 2015 Moyglare Stud Stakes.
[Dubawi colt image: http://www.tattersalls.com]