It was very appropriate that Galileo’s record-breaking 85th Group/Grade 1 winner should arrive in the Irish 1,000 Guineas, the race that set this momentous Group 1 story in motion 14 years ago.
On that May afternoon in 2006, the plaudits belonged to the rather unconsidered 12/1 shot Nightime, a maiden winner barely six weeks before who went best through the heavy ground for a six-length success. The victory belonged to the Weld family, to breeder Marguerite Weld, in whose colours Nightime ran, and to her son, trainer Dermot. With Jim Bolger’s assistance in developing Galileo also on the horizon, it was a different world to today where the name Galileo runs hand in hand with Coolmore and Ballydoyle.
The Coolmore partners have raced 49 of Galileo’s Group/Grade 1 winners, including his 84th Magic Wand, and were always likely to provide the individual to push the stallion past the previous record holder Danehill. It duly arrived in the form of Saturday’s Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Peaceful, who became the sixth winner of the Classic for her sire and ninth for Aidan O’Brien.
Galileo casts an almighty presence over the breed, whether in terms of production or his evolving legacy as a sire of sires or broodmare sire. There are the 11 British and Irish sires championships, one of them secured in 2017 with an incredible total close to £12 million. He is already sitting at the head of this year’s race and granted normal service, come the end of 2023 he will be celebrated as the most successful championship sire of all time ahead of his sire Sadler’s Wells.
In the 85 Group/Grade 1 winners, there is also naturally a story of dominance, especially as they are such a varied group. Send him a fast mare and the ability is there to reward the breeder far more effectively than Sadler’s Wells did. They can come to hand early but as we saw again in Peaceful on Saturday, also often progress markedly with age. There is also a mental and physical soundness to them that sees the typical Galileo thrive with racing.
“Galileo casts an almighty presence over the breed”
Fittingly, Peaceful’s win on Saturday formed the centrepiece of an exceptionally productive weekend for Galileo, even by his own high standards.
Galileo was everywhere, not just as the sire of Peaceful but of the other two Group winners on the Curragh’s Guineas card, the Group 3 Gladness Stakes winner Lancaster House and Group 2 Lanwades Stud Stakes winner Magic Wand.
Another daughter, Kew Gardens’ sister Snow, was also nominated as a potential Oaks candidate by O’Brien after breaking through in the 1m2f maiden. Son Frankel also has another possible Oaks filly to his credit in Franconia, an easy winner of the Listed Abingdon Stakes at Newbury earlier in the afternoon.
Meanwhile on Sunday, Galileo featured as the damsire of Prix Ganay hero Sottsass and Listed winners Lyzbeth and Heliac (a relation to Franconia) as well as the paternal grandsire of runaway Prix Saint-Alary heroine Tawkeel (a 17th Group/Grade 1 winner for Teofilo). As for the old man himself, three-year-old son Napa Valley turned in an impressive winning debut for Ballydoyle at Leopardstown.
2020 may yet yield more records. While it’s too early to determine exactly how many Derby runners Galileo will have, chances are that he will boast enough ammunition to go into the Blue Riband with a real chance of siring a fifth winner, thereby making him the most successful Derby stallion in history.
In Peaceful, Newmarket 1,000 Guineas heroine Love and perhaps even Snow, Galileo’s Oaks hand is already immense.
Daughters of Galileo have already won the fillies’ Classic on three occasions – namely Was, Minding and Forever Together – while sons New Approach, Nathaniel and Frankel have supplied the winners Talent, Enable and Anapurna. For all that both Love and Peaceful possess some speed influences within their female families, Galileo can often be counted upon to impart enough stamina if needed.
Peaceful’s dam Missvinski has been a regular visitor to Galileo since joining the Coolmore fold in 2010. Aisling Duignan signed the ticket at $400,000 for the Stravinsky mare at that Keeneland January Sale, a price indicative of how far the mare had come since her $8,000 purchase as a foal six years earlier.
Missvinski was bred by the Ray Stark Irrevocable Trust from a fine family that had been associated with the Stark family for several generations. Grade 1 winner Fabulous Notion had lit up the family during the early 1980s while several years later, it had thrown another really smart performer in her half-brother Cacoethes, the colt whose rivalry with Nashwan lit up the 1989 season.
Trained by Guy Harwood, Cacoethes never got the better of his nemesis, coming closest when going down by a neck under Greville Starkey in the King George, but victory in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot provided some recompense and he went on to land a deserved Grade 1 victory as a four-year-old in the Turf Classic at Belmont Park. Subsequently sold to stand at stud in Japan, he appeared only last month as the damsire of Japanese Oaks third Win Mighty.
“For all that both Love and Peaceful possess some speed influences, Galileo can often be counted upon to impart enough stamina if needed”
With Cacoethes’ excellent three-year-old season in the books, the Starks understandably decided to send his dam, the stakes-placed Jester mare Careless Notion, back to his sire Alydar in 1990. By the end of that year, Alydar, the jewel of Kentucky’s Calumet Farm, was dead in controversial circumstances and thus the resulting filly came to be one of 90 prized foals in his last crop.
Bred off a foal share with Calumet Farm, then under the management of J. T. Lundy, she made $350,000 when she came under the hammer as a weanling. That, however, was as good as it got. As a yearling, her value collapsed to $25,000 and named Careless Aly, she never made the track. She ultimately left behind five minor winners and in later years, made a mere $3,000 when offered at auction in California.
Missvinski is out of Careless Aly’s unraced daughter Miss U Fran, and when catalogued as a foal to the 2004 Keeneland November Sale, was in possession of two blank dams. That goes some way to explaining how Federico Barberini managed to pick her up for $8,000, even allowing for the fact that her sire Stravinsky stood for $25,000 at the time.
However, within the year Miss U Fran had thrown a smart one in La Retour, the winner of two his three juvenile starts for Jean-Claude Rouget, and that October, Rouget returned to purchase his Stravinsky sibling at Tattersalls. It proved to be an inspired purchase as Missvinski went on to win the Listed Prix Zeddaan at two and the Listed Prix Ronde de Nuit at three. She also ran second to Darjina in the Group 1 Prix d’Astarte.
To date, Missvinski has produced four winners to Galileo for the Coolmore partners. Prior to Peaceful, the best was Easter, who progressed through a busy season for O’Brien at three in 2015 to win the Listed Hurry Harriet Stakes. Missvinski also has a yearling filly by Galileo to come.
Galileo’s success with Danehill-line mares has been well noted for many years as has his success with Pivotal, the partnership behind Love. His record with Stravinsky mares has been less prolific – an understandable development in light of Stravinsky’s lesser standing and early sale to Japan – but it is worth noting that Peaceful is his second Group 1 winner on the cross after Rip Van Winkle and one of four stakes winners overall.