Kew Gardens: St Leger-winning son of Galileo should be popular in his new role at Coolmore this year. Photo – Coolmore

In view of the many parallels which have emerged between the stallion careers of Galileo and his sire Sadler’s Wells, it is hardly surprising that numerous National Hunt-oriented studs have placed their faith in Galileo’s sons. After all, it was Sadler’s Wells who supplied the jumping sector with the six-time champion sire King’s Theatre, the five-time champion French stallion Poliglote and the 2019-20 champion Milan, as well as such consistently successful sires as Oscar, Kayf Tara, Accordion, Beat Hollow, Yeats and Sholokhov. Other sons, such as Saddler Maker, Gold Well, Court Cave, Cloudings, Let The Lion Roar, Linda’s Lad and Doyen, have also made an impact.

So what have Galileo’s sons achieved so far in the jumping sector? One of the oldest, the 2007 Irish Derby winner Soldier of Fortune, did so well with his French-bred jumpers that he was recruited to the Coolmore team, starting in 2016, which means that his first Irish crop is now four-years-old. He covered more than 300 mares in his second season in Ireland and roughly 250 in his third, so an avalanche of young winners by him is likely in the next few years.

The St Leger second Mahler, a contemporary of Soldier of Fortune, has spent all of his stallion career under the Coolmore banner, so his career is at a more advanced stage. The fact that his fee has roughly doubled from its original €2,500 is a reflection of the encouraging start made by his early crops. His Graded winners include Ornua, winner of the Grade 1 Maghull Novices’ Chase, as well as Sutton Place, Glen Forsa, Chris’s Dream and Annie Mc.

However, there must be higher hopes held of some of the very accomplished younger sons of Galileo which have joined the Coolmore team more recently. In Capri, Kew Gardens, Order Of St George and Idaho, breeders have four high-class performers priced between €3,500 (for Idaho) and €6,500 (for Order Of St George). In a sector where soundness is ultra-important, these four stood up to some rigorous testing, racing a total of 87 times between them, and Capri, Kew Gardens and Order Of St George were all dual Group 1 winners, while Idaho – a brother to the multiple Group 1 winner Highland Reel – was a dual Group 2 scorer. Although all four stayed well, all four won as two-year-olds.

Britain’s jumping breeders have several sons of Galileo available to them, most notably Flag of Honour, an Irish St Leger winner based at the National Stud, and the dual Group 2 winner Telescope at Shade Oak Stud. There’s also the ex-Irish Sans Frontieres, now based at Vauterhill Stud in Devon. This winner of the Irish St Leger has been ably represented by Jason The Militant, a Grade 2 winner over hurdles in 2020.

The 2020/21 season has seen Imperial Monarch represented by the Grade 2-winning novice hurdler Star Gate, who may represent a sign of things to come, in that he is inbred 3 x 3 to Sadler’s Wells. We have also seen flat-bred progeny of Enable’s sire Nathaniel prove very well suited to hurdling. Navajo Pass, winner of the Grade 2 Unibet Hurdle, is out of a grand-daughter of Montjeu and is therefore inbred 3 x 4 to Sadler’s Wells. Nathaniel is also responsible for the British and Irish Grade 2-winning mare Concertista and the unbeaten Irish juvenile hurdler Zanahiyr.

Flag Of Honour: son of Galileo stands at The National Stud. Photo – The National Stud

There are already some grandsons of Galileo plying their trade as jumping stallions. Knockhouse Stud, formerly home to those excellent stallions Roselier and Beneficial, now stands New Approach’s son Libertarian, who was second in the Derby after winning the Group 2 Dante Stakes. His first winner is the talented five-year-old Holymacapony. Telecaster, another of New Approach’s Dante Stakes winners, should be popular with France’s jumping breeders now that he has retired to Haras du Mesnil, following a pair of impressive Group victories in France as a four-year-old. 

Needless to say, several other branches of the Sadler’s Wells male line have made their mark on the National Hunt breed. Comfortably the most popular has been the branch descending from Montjeu, whose broodmare sire, Top Ville, ranked alongside Sadler’s Wells as one of the most influential stallions in the jumping sector in recent decades.

Of course, Montjeu was himself responsible for the record-setting Grade 1 hurdles winner Hurricane Fly. There have also been plenty of high-class jumpers sired both by Montjeu’s specialist jumping stallions and by his flat-oriented sons, such as the Derby winners Authorized, Motivator and Camelot. Authorized gave us the celebrated Grand National hero Tiger Roll and the eight-time Grade 1-winning hurdler Nichols Canyon, while Motivator’s sons included the Triumph Hurdle winner Pentland Hills (another inbred 3 x 3 to Sadler’s Wells) and the Grade 1-winning French hurdler For Fun, who has now taken up stallion duties at Haras de la Hetraie. Camelot’s first crop included the very talented Sir Erec, who took the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle before his fatal injury, and Miranda, winner this year of the Grade 2 Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle. Pour Moi, the other Derby-winning son of Montjeu, extended this line’s impact on the Epsom classic when his son Wings Of Eagles scored in 2017. Wings Of Eagles joined Coolmore’s National Hunt team in 2019, attracting roughly 200 mares in each of his first two Irish seasons.

Although Walk In The Park didn’t figure among Montjeu’s Derby winners, he was runner-up behind Motivator in 2005. Tried unsuccessfully over hurdles before retiring in France, Walk In The Park sired little more than 200 foals in eight years. However, he has been very busy since his transfer from France to Ireland in January 2016. With his first Irish crop now four-years-old, Walk In The Park is very well placed to start adding further major winners to his French-bred stars Douvan and Min. His son Jonbon sold for £570,000 to J.P. McManus last November, when another point-to-point-winning son, Ginto, sold for €470,000.

Of Montjeu’s other specialist jumping stallions, his Shropshire-based St Leger winner Scorpion has sired such talented performers as Mite Bite and Riders Onthe Storm. The former French stallion Davidoff also had his moments, enjoying Grade 1 success in Ireland with his sons Saturnas and Abacadabras, the latter winner of the Morgiana Hurdle this season.

A quirky temperament is sometimes a feature of the Montjeu line, as has been demonstrated by Might Bite and by Montmatre’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Labaik. However, no-one could ever have questioned the honesty of Fame And Glory, as this son of Montjeu was a Group 1 winner at two, three, four and five. Sadly, he managed only four full seasons at stud but he has been represented this season by the Grade 1 winner Ballyadam and Grade 3 winner Home By The Lee.

Leading Light, Montjeu’s other Ascot Gold Cup winner, also stands under the Coolmore banner. After covering more than 270 mares in his first season and another big book in his second, Leading Light’s book size has fallen substantially in recent years, during those difficult years when a young stallion’s novelty starts to wear off before his progeny are old enough to have had much chance to prove themselves. 

Jukebox Jury: gaining momentum as a dual-purpose sire of note. Photo – George Selwyn

Ireland is also now home to Montjeu’s popular grey son Jukebox Jury, a winner at either Group 1 or Group 2 levels at the ages of two, three, four and five. As the sire of Princess Zoe, winner of the Group 1 Prix du Cadran on the flat, and of Farclas, winner of the 2017 Triumph Hurdle, Jukebox Jury is well worthy of the support he has received since his move from Germany to Ireland.

It could also pay to keep an eye on Montjeu’s French-based son Masked Marvel, as this winner of the 2011 St Leger spent several years at Haras d’Etreham, where he received quite a few mares by the excellent Saint Des Saints.

Before moving on from the Montjeu clan, it is worth mentioning that his unraced brother Gold Well also showed he had the makings of a very worthwhile stallion prior to his death at the age of 12 in November 2013. He had earned strong support in his last two years at stud and his legacy included those smart chasers Holywell, Sausalito, Johns Spirit and General Principle (Irish Grand National). It was at Arctic Tack Stud that Gold Well established his potential, and Arctic Tack now houses Montjeu’s very high-priced son Ol’ Man River, winner of the Group 2 Beresford Stakes as a two-year-old.

A few other Sadler’s Wells sons themselves have National Hunt stallion sons. Beat Hollow’s son Sea Moon won the Group 2 Great Voltigeur and Hardwicke Stakes but has been struggling for numbers. However, Great Pretender, a veteran son of King’s Theatre based in France, has recently added Greaneteen and Grangee to his lengthy list of good winners in Britain and Ireland, which include Benie des Dieux, Ptit Zig, Mr Mole, Great Field, Dortmund Park and Cracking Smart. 

Although In The Wings was never a National Hunt stallion, he sired some very successful jumpers, such as Inglis Drever, Landing Light and Westender. It will be interesting to see whether his accomplished stallion son Soldier Hollow can extend his influence in the jumping world via his French-based champions Pastorius and Ivanhowe.

El Prado’s Group 1-winning son Spanish Moon, who stands at €5,000 in France, has a fine record with his Irish-based offspring, with Laurina and Grand Roi among his best winners.

Sadler’s Wells also crops up as the broodmare sire of the ultra-tough Youmzain, who joined the team at Glenview Stud after making a promising start with his French crops, which featured the Grade 2 Irish hurdles winner Saglawy. 

Maxios: popular since his switch to Ireland. Photo – Marc Ruehl/Coolmore

The main opposition to the sons of Galileo and Montjeu is coming from that outstanding German stallion Monsun, who has numerous sons serving the jumping sector.

The first to make his mark was the now-deceased French stallion Network, who excelled as the sire of such as Sprinter Sacre, Delta Work, Rubi Light, Rubi Ball, Saint Are, Borice, Ball d’Arc and Le Richebourg.

The high-class German middle-distance stayer Getaway is proving an asset to the Coolmore team, to the extent that his fee has climbed from €3,000 to €9,000. This steady increase has been fuelled by the likes of Verdana Blue and the 2021 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase winner Sporting John. His progeny have also been in demand at the sales, the prime example being his point-to-point-winning son Classic Getaway, who sold for £570,000 at the end of 2020.

As Getaway raced until he was seven, he is already approaching veteran status at the age of 18. Coolmore has actively pursued younger sons of Monsun, with Maxios being recruited for the 2020 season, when he attracted around 250 mares at a fee of €6,000. His fee has been increased to €7,000 in 2021. It is easy to understand his popularity, as this winner of the Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan and Prix du Moulin is a very handsome individual who offers a degree of speed, to balance the stamina found in numerous National Hunt mares. Maxios has made a good start, with his son Quixilios keeping his unbeaten record intact when he landed the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle. Wild Max is another talented hurdler, while Aramax has already won over fences.

More recently, Coolmore stepped in to acquire the services of the ten-year-old Vadamos, whose first two-year-olds had raced with some success in 2020. Like Maxios, Vadamos had won the Group 1 Prix du Moulin over a mile as a five-year-old, so he too ranks among Monsun’s fastest sons. Vadamos is priced at €6,000.

Coolmore’s collection of Monsun stallions also includes Ocovango, winner of the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe. With his eldest progeny now five, Ocovango already has a Listed winner over hurdles to his credit.

Shirocco will always be best remembered as the sire of that outstanding mare Annie Power, but the Glenview resident has also sired Lac Fontana, Minella Rocco, Red Sherlock and Rock The Kasbah.

The British-based sons of Monsun include Gentlewave and the regally-bred Masterstroke at Yorton, as well as that grand stayer Schiaparelli at Overbury. New to Elusive Bloodstock in Lincolnshire is the ex-French Axxos, a Grade 2 winner best known as the sire of the very useful staying chaser Calett Mad. France still has a couple of possible replacements for Network in the Grade 2 winners Bathyrhon and Manatee. Monsun also crops up as the broodmare sire of the Deutsches Derby winner Lucky Speed, who stands at Sunnyhill Stud, former home of Old Vic.

That outstanding stallion Dubawi doesn’t possess the type of physique generally favoured by jumping breeders, but his sire Dubai Millennium was much bigger and rangier and Dubawi often sires progeny with plenty of size. Dubawi has sired Dodging Bullets, who numbered the Queen Mother Champion Chase among his three Grade 1 victories over fences, and the Grade 2-winning hurdler Purple Bay.

The possibility now exists that Dubawi’s stallion sons will carve out a niche in the jumping sector. His tough son Dartmouth, winner of the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup and Hardwicke Stakes, is based at Shade Oak Stud, while the regally-bred Frontiersman – a son of Ouija Board – is at Overbury. A half-brother to Derby winner Australia, Frontiersman possessed plenty of ability, as he showed when second to Highland Reel in the Group 1 Coronation Cup. Ireland also has a big-earning son of Dubawi now that Old Persian has joined the team at Glenview Stud. A Group 1 winner in Canada and the UAE, Old Persian also landed a pair of very competitive Group 2 events, winning the King Edward VII and Great Voltigeur Stakes.

Poet’s Word: the 2018 King George hero has been well received at Boardsmill Stud – Photo: George Selwyn

The main legacy of Dubawi’s sizeable son Poet’s Voice was that first-rate performer Poet’s Word. Unfortunately, Poet’s Word was perceived as a slow-maturing middle-distance horse and he attracted only 29 mares when retired as a flat stallion in England. It was a very different story when he switched codes and country, moving to the famous Boardsmill Stud, where he covered around 200 mares in 2020.

It is a sad reflection on today’s flat industry that there is no place for a horse of Poet’s Word’s physique and performance – he was Europe’s champion older middle-distance horse of 2018. He is not alone, though, as 2019’s champion, Crystal Ocean, was retired directly to Coolmore’s jumping division. No wonder this good-looking son of Sea The Stars was in great demand in his first year. Both of these winners of the Grade 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes over a mile and a quarter committed the added sin of not having won at two. If winners of one of Britain’s premier ten-furlong races are struggling to earn a place as a flat stallion, it is hardly surprising that victory in the St Leger usually comes with an automatic ticket to the National Hunt world. No doubt the flat’s loss is occasionally going to prove jumping’s gain.