European Sire Round-Up: Galileo Still on Top

For 13 straight years, from 1992 to 2004, the title of leading sire in England and Ireland fell to Sadler's Wells. The next three years saw another great stallion, Danehill, rule the roost. Sadler's Wells' son Galileo (TrueNicks) took the title in 2008, followed by Danehill's son Danehill Dancer (TrueNicks) the following year. Since then, however, it's been all Galileo, with 2013 marking his fourth consecutive title and his fifth in all. Similarly enough, prior to his historic championship run, Sadler's Wells took a first title, then yielded his throne to Caerleon for a year. Now, the question is, how far will Galileo follow the template? Can he equal or even better the record of his epochal sire?

By any standards, Galileo's 2013 season was an extraordinary one. He was represented by 35 stakes winners, 25 of them group or graded, and seven of them group or grade I, including Magician, who took the Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) and Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT); the Epsom Derby (Eng-I) victor Ruler of The World; and Intello, who took the French Derby (Fr-I). Eight of Galileo's stakes winners were out of mares by Danehill, including Intello, who is now one of 21 stakes winners on that direct cross (from 120 starters), eight of them group or grade I.

Of course, there is going to be a point where the population of Danehill mares is no longer in their prime, a comment which also applies to daughters of another notable Galileo foil, Darshaan, the broodmare sire of 16 Galileo stakes winners. It is a positive sign that Galileo is beginning to find success with mares by sons of Danehill (five stakes winners from 52 starters to date, with Magician, who is out of a mare by Mozart, becoming the first group I winner from the cross). He also has three group winners, including one group I, out of mares by Darshaan's son Mark of Esteem, and it will be interesting to see how he fares with mares by Darshaan's son Dalakhani, who like Galileo is out of Miswaki mare.

For the moment, Galileo appears unlikely to be easily dethroned. For the coming season, not only does Magician remain in training, but Galileo also has several newly-turned 3-year-olds of high promise, including Australia (out of the excellent mare Ouija Board), who ran away with the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Trial (Ire-III); the group II-winning and group I-placed Tapestry; group winner Wonderfully; and U.S. graded scorer Global View.

It also appears that Galileo is going to exert a very significant long-term influence. His son New Approach (TrueNicks) had the 2013 Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) victor Dawn Approach and 2013 Epsom Oaks (Eng-I) heroine Talent in his first crop of 3-year-olds. Another son, Teofilo (TrueNicks), who retired a year ahead of New Approach, already has five group I winners to his credit, among them Trading Leather, who captured last year's Irish Derby (Ire-I).

There are several other notable Galileo sons who are, or are about to be, at stud, including the peerless Frankel, who will stand his second season in 2014, U.S.-based Cape Blanco (TrueNicks,SRO), Nathaniel, Rip Van Winkle (TrueNicks), Roderic O'Connor, and in Florida, Treasure Beach (TrueNicks). Galileo is also already broodmare sire of 19 stakes winners, eight of whom were 3-year-olds of 2013.

On the sales front, Galileo was represented by a yearling full sister to Epsom Oaks captress Was who set a new world record for a yearling filly and a record for a European yearling of either sex. She was sold for 5 million guineas (US$8,443,575) at the Tattersalls October sale.

Runner-up to Galileo on the European sire list was Motivator, who is by Sadler's Wells "other" European stallion son, Montjeu. The first of what would become four Epsom Derby winners for his sire, Motivator made something of a stutter start to his career and was not represented by a group or grade I winner until the appearance of Ridasiyna, who took last year's Prix de l'Opera (Fr-I), in his third crop. Ridasiyna was one of only three stakes winners from that crop, but Motivator's fourth crop has so far yielded four stakes winners, including three group winners, headed by the magnificent Treve, who took the French Oaks (Fr-I) and Prix Vermeille (Fr-I) in the spring and then in the fall stamped herself as one of the finest middle-distance fillies seen in Europe in recent years with her demolition of the field in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I). Motivator moved from the Royal Studs to Haras d'Etreham in France for the 2013 breeding season, and he looks sure to receive some very strong support in the next season or two.

Third to the Sadler's Wells line duo was Danehill's son Dansili, who also enjoyed a stellar season with 26 stakes winners, 13 group or graded winners, and six group or grade I winners who achieved that status in England, Ireland, France, Australia, and the U.S. These included Dank and The Fugue, who ran 1-2 in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT), Foreteller, a two-time group I winner in Australia, and the 3-year-olds Flintshire and Winsili. He was also the covering sire for Immortal Verse, who sold for a European record for a broodmare at public auction at 4.7 million guineas ($8,090,580).

Dansili has three stakes-siring sons, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe scorer Rail Link (sire of six stakes winners, including three group, in his first two crops), the fertility-troubled Strategic Prince (sire of dual group I winner La Collina), and the unheralded Thousand Words, a 2-year-old group III winner who has the group-winning and group I-placed English miler Top Notch Tonto in his first crop. Other Dansili sons who have yet to have runners include group I winners Harbinger (standing in Japan) and Zoffany (TrueNicks), and group II winners Bated Breath, Requinto (TrueNicks), and Delegator. Dansili is also showing promise as a broodmare sire, his daughters having so far produced seven stakes winners including Chicquita, who won the Irish Oaks (Ire-I) and sold this fall at Goffs November for €6 million ($8,134,722) to become a European record-priced filly or mare in training, and the Middle Park Stakes (Eng-I) scorer Astaire (by Intense Focus, whose dam is bred on an identical cross to Dansili).

The leading sire of 2-year-olds was Oasis Dream (Green Desert), like Dansili a grandson of Danzig who has established himself as a consistent presence among Europe's top sires. He was responsible for 25 individual winners in 2013, five of them winning black-type events, including the group III scorer Bye Bye Birdie. Paradoxically, his two highest earners, Oklahoma City and Wedding Ring, were only black-type-placed but captured a pair of valuable sales races, the Tattersalls Millions Two-Year-Old Trophy and the Tattersalls Millions Two-Year-Old Fillies' Trophy.

The runner-up to Oasis Dream, Iffraaj (TrueNicks) (by Gone West's son Zafonic) enjoyed a major return to form after having been somewhat quiet since his record-breaking freshman sire season in 2010. He was responsible for 22 individual winners, including the late Chriselliam, who took the Fillies' Mile (Eng-I) and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies' Turf (gr. IT); Rizeena, whose trio of group wins included the Queen Mary Stakes (Eng-II) and Moyglare Stud Stakes (Ire-I); and the Cornwallis Stakes (Eng-III) winner Hot Streak. Given his group-winning duo, two at group I level, and given that Oasis Dream's earnings were inflated by the restricted sales races, we'd have to call Iffraaj the moral victor here.

Giant's Causeway (TrueNicks)'s son Footstepsinthesand (TrueNicks) has tended to operate in the shadow his paternal half brother Shamardal, but he had a good season with his juveniles to take third here. An astonishing total of 37 of them won at least one race, eight gaining black type, with three, including the Prix du Calvados (Fr-III) scorer Sandiva, winning at group level.

Just as Danehill succeeded Sadler's Wells as leading sire, and Danehill Dancer usurped Galileo for a season, Danehill Dancer's son Mastercraftsman (TrueNicks) followed Galileo's son New Approach as leading freshman sire. Mastercraftsman had plenty of credentials on the basis of his racecourse performance: he was European champion at 2, won the Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) and St. James's Palace Stakes (Eng-I) at 3, and shook up Sea The Stars when second in the Juddmonte International (Eng-I). However, he was also out of a mare by the very disappointing sire Black Tie Affair (by Galileo's broodmare sire, Miswaki), a reminder of which is his gray coat color. Happily, initial evidence suggests that Mastercraftsman is gong to behave much more like Danehill Dancer than Black Tie Affair. He was represented by 30 first-crop 2-year-old winners, eight stakes horses, and four stakes winners. These include the Racing Post Trophy (Eng-I) scorer Kingston Hill and group III winners Amazing Maria and Craftsman. Kingston Hill is out of a daughter of Rainbow Quest, but remarkably Mastercraftsman's other three stakes winners are all out of mares by sons of Storm Cat (two for Tale of the Cat, and one for the rather similarly-bred Forest Wildcat).

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