Thanks largely to Charles W.Engelhard and Ribot’s sons Ribocco and Ribero, British racegoers became accustomed during the late 1960s to the novelty of European Classics falling to American-bred colts. The trend even extended to Canadian-breds when Engelhard’s Nijinsky began his Triple Crown campaign with a majestic victory in the 2,000 Guineas of 1970. But who could have imagined that Nijinsky’s then Maryland-based sire, Northern Dancer, would leave a truly indelible mark on the first colts’ Classic over the next 50-odd years?

The 1980s saw him supply two more winners of the 2,000 Guineas, thanks to Lomond in 1983 and El Gran Senor in 1984, before his stallion sons took over. Nijinsky’s son Shadeed maintained the male line’s dominance in 1985, to be followed a year later by Lyphard’s son Dancing Brave. Next came Secreto, via Mystiko in 1991 and then it was the turn of El Gran Senor’s son Rodrigo De Triano in 1992.

Plenty of other members of the male line also got into the act, including Fairy King’s son Turtle Island (Island Sands in 1999), Unfuwain’s son Alhaarth (Haafhd in 2004), Storm Cat’s son Giant’s Causeway (Footstepsinthesand in 2005) and Nijinsky’s grandson Val Royal (Cockney Rebel in 2007). The Danzig branch played a significant role, too, with Danehill giving us Rock of Gibraltar (2002) and George Washington (2006), while Cape Cross sired Sea The Stars (2009).

They have all been overshadowed, though, by the Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Sadler’s Wells who has made by far the greatest impact. Despite his progeny having an average winning distance as high as 11.3 furlongs, Sadler’s Wells was sufficiently versatile to sire three winners of the 2,000 Guineas in the shape of Entrepreneur (1997), King of Kings (1998) and Refuse To Bend ((2003). Any theory that these faster sons of Sadler’s Wells were the ones destined for stallion success proved very wide of the mark, but two of his finest mile-and-a-half performers – Galileo and Montjeu – have kept Sadler’s Wells’s name to the fore.

Sadler’s Wells: sufficiently versatile to have sired three Guineas winners

Montjeu’s contribution was Camelot, who went so close to becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Nijinsky. However, as in so many areas, it has been Galileo who has proved the dominant force. Barely a year goes by without one of his sons, daughters or grandsons appearing in the pedigree of the latest winner of the historic Newmarket Classic.

Although Galileo’s son New Approach failed by a nose to lead throughout in the 2008 edition, Frankel made no such mistake three years later with a breath- taking performance. Since then, Galileo has scored again with Gleneagles (2015) and Churchill (2017).

Galileo’s daughters have also excelled, producing no fewer than four winners in Night Of Thunder, Galileo Gold, Saxon Warrior and Magna Grecia, while the 2022 winner Coroebus was out of Galileo’s granddaughter First Victory. New Approach made amends for his own defeat by siring the 2013 winner Dawn Approach, who in turn sired Poetic Flare, the narrow winner in 2021. And now Frankel’s admirable son Chaldean has triumphed in 2023, which means that 11 of the last 13 winners have Galileo somewhere in their pedigrees.

Galileo’s daughters have also excelled, producing no fewer than four winners in Night Of Thunder, Galileo Gold, Saxon Warrior and Magna Grecia, while the 2022 winner Coroebus was out of Galileo’s granddaughter First Victory

Thanks to Chaldean, Anapurna, Adayar, Logician and Hurricane Lane, Frankel has now sired winners of four of the five British Classics, the missing piece being the 1,000 Guineas (for which his then-unbeaten daughter Inspiral was the long-time favourite prior to her withdrawal in 2022). Coincidentally, it was also the 1,000 Guineas which Galileo needed to complete his Classic crown. He was 18-years-old by the time he did so, but he achieved the feat in great style, with Minding leading home a 1-2-3 for Galileo’s daughters in 2016. Galileo went on to make up for lost time, with Minding proving to be the first of four winners for the champion sire in a five-year period.

Sadler’s Wells was even older when he completed his clean sweep of the British Classics. In fact he was 20-years-old in 2001, the year that Galileo became his first Derby winner and Milan his first winner of the St Leger.

As Frankel is currently 15-years-old, he still has plenty of time to complete his Classic set (and it mustn’t be forgotten that – having raced as a four-year-old – he was a year older than Galileo and Sadler’s Wells had been when he started his stallion career). His Classic tally also features wins in the Irish 1,000 Guineas, Irish Derby (two), Prix de Diane, Australian Oaks and Japanese Oaks, as well as two editions of the Grand Prix de Paris, which is arguably a nearer equivalent to the Derby than the Prix du Jockey-Club.

For a May 10 foal, Chaldean has already achieved a great deal, with two Group 1s among his five wins from six completed starts. He was still four days short of his actual third birthday when he became a Classic winner and he is likely to continue to thrive at around a mile.

His dam, the Italian sprinter Suelita, packed 33 starts into her career which spanned three seasons. Suelita’s sire Dutch Art stayed a mile, as he showed with his third in Cockney Rebel’s 2,000 Guineas, but he had excelled over sprint distances at two and reverted to sprint distances at three, when he failed by only half-a-length to land the July Cup, a race later won by his sons Slade Power and Starman.

Suelita has proved a wonderful broodmare since being purchased by Whitsbury Manor Stud for 21,500gns in 2013. Thanks to Chaldean (Racing Post Rating 120), Alkumait (114), The Broghie Man (106) and Get Ahead (106), she has four representatives among the ten highest-rated runners out of Dutch Art mares. As they are by three different stallions, Suelita is clearly something special.

Chris Harper pictured with Suelita and her Showcasing colt. Photo – Bill Selwyn

Chaldean’s success – and that of Frankel’s daughter Jannah Rose in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary – will no doubt encourage the theory previously applied to Galileo, that the best way to succeed with Frankel is to mate him to speedy mares (Jannah Rose is out of an Indian Ridge mare). In truth, Galileo worked very well with a wide assortment of broodmare sires and the theory applied to him should have been reworded to say that sending him speedy mares was the best way to produce a son which would appeal to the stallion market.

Frankel too is working very well with a wide variety of mares. While it is true that some of his most successful partnerships have been with daughters of the sprinter Pivotal and the milers Dubawi and Selkirk, he has also sired major winners from daughters of Hernando, Shirocco, Montjeu, Sea The Stars, Daylami, Lemon Drop Kid, Darshaan and Monsun.

Oh, and by the way, the 2023 French Guineas races also turned the spotlight on Galileo. The Poulains went to the Muhaarar colt Marhaba Ya Sanafi, out of a Galileo mare, and the Pouliches to Blue Rose Sen, a second-crop daughter of Churchill.


Added dimension to No Nay Never

Did the early days of May provide a glimpse of a future where that excellent stallion No Nay Never is concerned? On May 1, his gelded son Visualisation made all to win the Mooresbridge Stakes and five days later his three-year-old daughter Caroline Street stayed on well to take the Blue Wind Stakes.

Of course, Group winners by No Nay Never are nothing unusual, but these two gained their victories over a mile-and-a-quarter – a distance not normally associated with Coolmore’s highest-priced stallion. After all, No Nay Never’s most notable achievements include the first-crop sires’ championship of 2018, when Ten Sovereigns and Land Force spearheaded an international team of six speedy black-type winners. Then, with his fifth crop, No Nay Never was 2022’s outstanding sire of two-year- olds, with Blackbeard, Little Big Bear, Meditate, Aesop’s Fables, Trillium and Midnight Mile collectively securing the massive total of 14 Group/Graded victories.

The three crops in between also made their mark at two, producing winners of such prized juvenile events as the Cheveley Park, Lowther, Coventry, Superlative, Molecomb and Somerville  Tattersall Stakes, plus the Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte.

A look at a list of leading winners by No Nay Never confirms that he has indeed been entrusted with the task of injecting speed and he has often succeeded in doing so

It is fair enough, then, to consider No Nay Never to be essentially a speed sire, but the likes of Danehill, Pivotal, Oasis Dream, Indian Ridge, Danehill Dancer and Invincible Spirit have  demonstrated that speed sires can also occasionally sire high-class performers beyond a mile, especially when breeders see a stallion as a potential means of injecting speed into middle-distance mares.

A look at a list of leading winners by No Nay Never confirms that he has indeed been entrusted with the task of injecting speed and he has often succeeded in doing so. The broodmare sires of his Group scorers include Bering and Dalakhani, both winners of the Prix du Jockey-Club in the days when it was over 2,400 metres; High Chaparral, Galileo and Sea The Stars, all winners of the Derby; Born To Sea, runner-up in the Irish Derby; Arch, a Grade 1 winner over a mile-and-a- quarter; and Hard Spun, runner-up in the Kentucky Derby. Also on the list are Sadler’s Wells, English Channel and Dashing Blade, all of whom stayed a mile-and-a-half, together with So You Think, Chester House and Haafhd, three major winners over a mile-and-a- quarter.

It is hardly surprising that No Nay Never has some of the above stallions to thank for his sporadic winners at a mile-and-a-quarter or more. High Chaparral and Chester House both gave us an early indication that No Nay Never wasn’t entirely one dimensional. Chester House’s daughter Ardea Brave produced Chestnut Honey, a Group 2 winner over 2,200 metres in Italy, while High Chaparral’s daughter Muravka produced Unicorn Lion, a dual Group 3 winner over 2,000 metres. Unicorn Lion was even tried over longer distances in the Japanese St Leger and the Japan Cup. No Nay Never’s recent ten-furlong Group 3 winners Visualisation and Caroline Street have dams by Sadler’s Wells and So You Think respectively.

No Nay Never already has 72 foals of racing age out of Galileo mares, including numerous two-year-olds of 2023, so we can expect to see more of his progeny showing talent beyond a mile. This No Nay Never/Galileo pairing was ably represented in the autumn of 2022 by Midnight Mile, who took the Oh So Sharp Stakes over seven furlongs. This filly is out of a very well-connected mare who raced at up to two miles, so it isn’t surprising that Midnight Mile holds a Ribblesdale Stakes entry.

Caravaggio, another fast son of Scat Daddys, owes some of his better winners to Galileo mares, including Galleria Borghese, a Listed winner over a mile-and-a-quarter, and The Grey Wizard, a Grade 2-placed winner at up to a mile-and-a-half in the US.

Two of Scat Daddy’s other Group- winning two-year-olds began their stallion careers in France in 2019 and both have already shown they can sire the occasional middle-distance winner. Seahenge, winner of the Champagne Stakes, was represented by his first black-type winner when Winter Pudding took the Prix de l’Avre over a mile-and-a-half. And the American-raced Seabhac is the sire of Rue Boissonade, a promising 2,400-metre winner at Saint-Cloud who is another with a dam by Galileo.

No Nay Never: not just a speed sire – Photo: George Selwyn