07/01/2001 11:00PM

Galileo completes rare Epsom-Irish Derby double


"Magnificent, marvelous, incredible!" were the words used by the usually reserved Aidan O'Brien to describe Galileo after the colt romped to an easy four-length victory in the Irish Derby at the Curragh on Sunday.

Superlatives were the order of the day as Galileo became the 14th horse to complete the Epsom Derby/Irish Derby double. He also gave veteran rider Michael Kinane his first win in Ireland's most important race.

In extending his undefeated record to 5 for 5, Galileo left Italian Derby winner Morshdi in his wake with Epsom Derby runner-up Golan another four lengths behind in third. The time for the 1 1/2 miles on good to yielding ground was 2:27.10, second only to St. Jovite's 2:25.10 clocking in 1992.

The odds of 2-5 at post time were an indication that no one at the Curragh really believed that Galileo could be beaten. After tracking Pugin's strong pace in fourth, he powered to the front approaching the quarter pole, striding clear in a matter of moments before being eased near the line.

"Galileo has speed and stamina in abundance and I was always in control," said Kinane. "It is very rare that you ride a horse with the extra gears he has. The quicker they go the better he is."

That last statement suggests that Galileo would have no problem with the fast pace of American racing. O'Brien, sensing the kind of animal he has, must now map out a suitable program which will prepare Galileo for the Breeders' Cup Classic, a race the Irishman says "has always been his goal."

After having come so close with Giant's Causeway, Galileo's co-owners, John Magnier and Michael Tabor, would like to win the Classic more than any other race in the world. O'Brien has intimated that the 1 1/4-mile Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstwon on Sept. 8 could be Galileo's next race. The one-mile Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Sept. 29 at Ascot is also a possibility.

Longshot wins French Group 1

The unheralded Mirio scored a 14-1 upset over Perfect Sunday and Egyptband in the 1 1/2-mile Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud on Sunday. One of only eight horses trained by Jean-Michel de Choubersky, he ran down the pacesetting Perfect Sunday, who had been sixth in Galileo's Epsom Derby, to record a 1 1/2-length victory in 2:29.30.

Mirio gave de Choubersky his first Group 1 win since 1974. He will be given a break before preparing for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

* The 9-1 Boreal overcame trouble to take the German Derby at Hamburg by 1 1/2 lengths from Lierac.