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The stallion of the week is the stallion of the month and also the stallion of the year: Coolmore's Galileo (Ire).

The impeccably bred son of classic winner Sadler's Wells and Ciga Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Urban Sea fulfilled the promise of his royal pedigree on the track by winning the 2001 Vodafone Derby Stakes, Budweiser Irish Derby, and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, among other races, to be named the champion three-year-old colt of the year in Great Britain and Ireland. Retired to stud at Coolmore in 2002, he has since ascended the throne vacated by his own iconic sire and is universally acknowledged today as the best sire in Europe--and the world--for classic horses at eight to 12 furlongs on turf. His only competition at the Derby distance comes from his fellow Coolmore inmate and paternal half-brother Montjeu. 

All told, Galileo, who is also a half-brother to the outstanding Sea the Stars, is the sire of at least 90 stakes winners worldwide and 174 stakes performers. He is represented by at least 53 Group race winners, including an astonishing eight Group 1 winners in 2011.

Indeed, 2011 has been a watershed year for Galileo. His undefeated three-year-old son Frankel scaled even greater heights last week with a thumping of five-time consecutive Group 1 winner Canford Cliffs (since retired to Coolmore) in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood to cement his status in Timeform as one of the greatest milers of the ages, in the vaunted league of such as Brigadier Gerard and Tudor Minstrel. Moreover, Frankel's devastating QIPCO 2000 Guineas win was one of four European Guineas titles for Galileo in 2011, along with Roderic O'Connor's Abu Dhabi Irish 2000 Guineas; Misty for Me's Etihad Airlines Irish 1000 Guineas; and Golden Lilac's Poule d'Essai des Pouliches. The latter also won the Prix de Diane Longines, the French Oaks equivalent.

The other 2011 Galileo Group 1 winners to date are: Cape Blanco, winner of the Man o' War at Belmont Park and last year's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby winner; Treasure Beach, the current Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby winner; Nathaniel, a late-developing three-year-old colt who upset his elders in an accident-marred King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes; and the crack South African filly Igugu, winner of the nation's most prestigious race, the Vodacom Durban July Handicap.

Yesterday, Aug. 4, Galileo was represented by the first two home in the Group 3 Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown over a mile and a half: the four-year-old filly Sense of Purpose, in first; and the three-year-old colt Marksmanship in second. The breeding of both are examples of the two outstanding nicks that have propelled Galileo.

Sense of Purpose is from a mare by Darshaan, whose daughters combined so well with Galileo's own sire that it was a foregone conclusion the nick would continue with him, just as it has worked incredibly well in reverse with Darshaan's champion son Dalakhani. This is the "Derby" nick for Galileo, with Irish Derby winner Treasure Beach an example of it through his damsire Mark of Esteem--a son of Darshaan.

On the other hand, Marksmanship is out of a mare by Coolmore's outstanding supersire Danehill, whose progeny were excellent over a range of distances but mostly known for the speed they exhibited. This combination of Coolmore's Northern Dancer strains was bound to happen, and in 2011 the results were nothing short of remarkable with Frankel, Roderic O'Connor, and Golden Lilac each bred the same way. Earlier, the multiple juvenile Group 1 winner Teofilo--off to a promising start at stud with his first two-year-olds in 2011--and Group 1 Italian Derby winner Cima de Triomphe had signalled the promise of this nick.

Historically, sire lines have been known to wane after three generations of top-class classic-winning sires. Galileo is the third in line after his Guineas-winning sire Sadler's Wells and that one's Derby-winning sire Northern Dancer--each a legend-making stallion. Time will tell whether Galileo can add a sire son to this dynasty as good as the three in the sequence, but in the meantime we can sit back and enjoy the exploits of his progeny because there are many more crops to come and even more records to be shattered on the racecourse.

--Sid Fernando


DAVID BAY (born 1952) has owned horses since he was a teenager, trained as a journalist and worked as a reporter and editor on major Australian newspapers before becoming chief executive of Australian Bloodhorse Breeders' Association (now Thoroughbred Breeders Australia) for several years. More info...


EMMA BERRY (UK) is the bloodstock editor of Thoroughbred Owner & Breeder magazine and European correspondent for Inside Racing in Australia. She has previously worked as deputy editor of Pacemaker and deputy editor/racing editor of Horse & Hound. She does matings in Europe only. More info...


SID FERNANDO, a 1982 graduate of Vassar college, is a prominent racing and breeding writer and is president of eMatings LLC and Werk Thoroughbred Consultants, Inc. ( He has been a private pedigree consultant to a select group of international breeders and owners for the last decade... More info...


ROBERT D. FIERRO is managing director of DataTrack International, a firm that helps clients breed, and select, thoroughbred racing and bloodstock prospects utilizing pedigree analysis and several long-established biomechanical programs. With his partner, Jay Kilgore, he devised BreezeFigs™... More info...


FRANCES J. KARON is the acclaimed editor and a writer for the quarterly publications North American Trainer and Trainer magazines and one of the familiar faces at the Four Star Sales agency. Among the horses whose matings Frances has recommended are Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Cajun Beat and Grade 2 winners Fire Slam and Irguns Angel More info...


KRISTEN MANNING is a freelance pedigree analyst and racing journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Working for various publications such as Bluebloods, Owner Breeder and Racetrack Magazine, she has been studying pedigrees for two decades... More info...


Of Dutch extraction, KAREL MIEDEMA was born in 1946 and emigrated from UK to South Africa in 1976. A life-long obsession with racing developed into a deep interest in breeding and pedigrees during the 1980s. His pedigree insight focuses on genetic sibling inbreeding... More info...


DIEGO MITAGSTEIN is based in Argentina and is one of the most prominent turf journalists in South America. More info...


FRANK MITCHELL is the author of the book Great Breeders and their Methods: The Hancocks and is the editor and principal writer of Racehorse Breeding Theories. Formerly deputy bloodstock editor of Daily Racing Form, he writes a weekly column for Daily Racing Form called "Sires and Dams" that concentrates on bloodstock and sales... More info...


VICTOR SHEAHAN is a cost accountant and pedigree analyst. His work as a pedigree analyst is strongly influenced by his costing background. In assessing stallions he focuses on value for money and return on investment. Due to the statistical nature of his analysis he rarely recommends stallions yet to have runners. More info...


CLIVE WEBB-CARTER has been involved in the thoroughbred bloodstock industry for about twenty years. Clive has gained international experience on a number of leading stud farms, including Fayette Park in New Zealand; Side Hill Stud, Newmarket . . . More info...