09/14/2006 11:00PM

Galileo part of exciting Coolmore brigade


NEW YORK - Trends in breeding can be difficult to identify, but there is no denying the impact made by Galileo at York last Saturday. The first three finishers in the classic St. Leger Stakes were all sired by Galileo, an outstanding second-crop stallion.

Sixties Icon, The Last Drop, and Red Rocks all revelled in the 1 3/4 miles of the St. Leger, which is both the longest and the oldest classic in the world. That those three descend from broodmare sires as different as 10-furlong type Diesis, sprinter Charnwood Forest, and miler Machiavellian suggests that Galileo is stamping himself on his offspring with an unmistakable aptitude for stamina.

Galileo was bred to be both a good racehorse and a good stallion. By the perennial European sire champion Sadler's Wells out of 1993 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Urban Sea, Galileo won the Epsom Derby, the Irish Derby, and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes in 2001 before losing by a head to Fantastic Light in the Irish Champion Stakes.

Galileo has already sired six group race winners, all of them in Europe. In addition to Sixties Icon, he has another classic laureate in Irish 1000 Guineas winner Nightime, from a mare by Indian Ridge. Galileo got his first juvenile black-type winner last month, when Teofilo won the seven-furlong Group 2 Futurity Stakes at the Curragh, prompting trainer Jim Bolger to state that Teofilo, who is out of a mare by Danehill, is the best colt he has ever trained.

While Galileo is a trend unto himself, he is also part of a larger trend in the last three years, which has seen Coolmore Stud corral the most exciting young stallions in the world. Sharing space with Galileo at Coolmore's Irish operation in County Tipperary is Montjeu, the Arc-winning sire of 2005 European champion Hurricane Run, Epsom Derby winner Motivator, and St. Leger and Grand Prix de Paris winner Scorpion. Also at Coolmore-Ireland is seven-time Group 1 winner Rock of Gibraltar, who already has 10 2-year-old winners in his first crop.

The story is much the same at Coolmore-America in Versailles, Ky., where Johannesburg a Group 1 and Grade 1 winner at 2, has three group or graded stakes winners from his first crop: Hamoody in England, Rabatash in Ireland, and Scat Daddy in America. Standing nearby is six-time Group 1 winner Giant's Causeway, who in less than three full seasons has sired First Samurai, Aragorn, and Maids Causeway, all Group 1 or Grade 1 winners, plus French Derby and French 2000 Guineas champ Shamardal and English 2000 Guineas winner Footstepsinthesand.

Another emerging trend is the increasing influence of German-breds on the European scene. Shirocco and Hurricane Run are examples. Shirocco is a German-bred by champion German sire Monsun, and Hurricane Run was bred in Ireland by his German breeders Gestut Ammerland. Hurricane Run is out of the German-bred mare Hold On, a daughter of Surumu, the sire of German foundation stallion Acatenango.

German breeding had a mini-coup of its own at Longchamp on Sunday, when the first two finishers in the 1 15/16-mile Group 3 Prix Gladiateur, Le Miracle and Salutino, were German-breds. Both are by Monsun, who also sired Getaway, the German-bred winner of last week's 1 7/8-mile Group 3 Prix de Lutece at Longchamp. Monsun also had a winner at Saratoga on Labor Day, when the German-bred Noble Stella took the Grade 3 Glens Falls Handicap.

At Keeneland this week, we witnessed a trend that has been so long in the making it is a time-honored tradition. That is the dominance of foreign buyers at America's best yearling auctions. Their coffers bulging thanks to the skyrocketing price of oil, the brothers Maktoum, Mohammed and Hamdan, bought 49 horses between them on the first two days of Keeneland's September yearling sale for a total of $71,960,000, nearly 40 percent of the two-day gross. Coolmore's John Magnier, who lost a number of bidding duels with Sheikh Mohammed during the week, managed seven purchases totaling $8,175,000, while Japanese buyers were led by Nobutaka Tada, who bought three for $3.7 million.

By contrast, the long absence of American buyers at the major European yearling sales at Tattersalls, Goffs, and Deauville is a negative trend. With few exceptions, American owners appear to be blissfully unaware that the Thoroughbred game went global decades ago.