10/18/2013 11:22AM

Hot Sire: Galileo

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GalileoCourtesy of Coolmore Stud

While the success of North American stallions Kitten’s Joy, Speightstown, War Front, Tapit, and Malibu Moon, among others, continues to make headlines each week in U.S. racing and at auctions, the predominant bloodstock story on the international stage continues to be the incredible performance of Coolmore stallion Galileo on all fronts.
The 15-year-old European champion son of the legendary Sadler’s Wells and out of Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner and blue-hen broodmare Urban Sea ascended to elite status as a sire several years ago – some would argue as early as 2006 – when Red Rocks and Sixties Icon emerged as 3-year-olds from his first crop to win high-profile Grade/Group 1 stakes.

Having led the English and Irish sire lists for four of the past five years, and well on his way to doing so again this year, Galileo is firmly established as a peerless sire of racehorses in Europe and in all other jurisdictions where turf courses are preferred. Those achievements have made him the leading international commercial sire as well, with many of his most expensive foals selling to the Irish powerhouse that stands him at stud.

Evidence of Galileo’s might was in abundance during the Book 1 section of the Tattersalls October sale in Newmarket, Europe’s premier yearling auction, which was held Oct. 8-10. This year’s Book 1 edition set a record in gross revenue for a European horse sale, amassing 70,343,000 guineas, or about $118 million. Much of the high-end activity was generated by offspring of two stallions: Juddmonte’s Oasis Dream, a 13-year-old Green Desert horse who over the past half-dozen years has become a top-notch sire of sprinters and middle-distance horses, and Galileo.

Those two sires were responsible for eight of the top 10 yearlings sold during the Tattersalls Book 1 section, with four apiece. Overall, Galileo finished Book 1 as the leading sire by a wide margin in both gross and average price, as 30 of his yearlings changed hands for a total of 18,120,000 guineas (about $30.4 million), good for an average price of 604,000 guineas (about $1.01 million).

Galileo also was responsible for two record-setters during the three-day Book 1 span. During the opening session, his son out of the stakes-placed Danehill mare Shastye was purchased by Coolmore for 3.6 million guineas, or about $6.08 million. The colt was bred by Newsells Park Stud in Britain and is a full brother to 3-year-old filly Secret Gesture, a listed winner who has placed in three Group 1 races this year, including a second in the Epsom Oaks. Dam Shastye is a half-sister to 1998 Arc winner and sire Sagamix, Group 1 winner and sire Sagacity, and Group 2 winner Sage et Jolie, the dam of Group 1 winner Sageburg.

By backing their own stallion with the purchase, Coolmore broke the record for a European yearling sold at auction, eclipsing the 3.4 million guineas John Magnier’s operation spent on subsequent Hong Kong champion River Dancer (then named Diaghilev) at the Tattersalls Houghton sale in 2000. The record would last for less than 24 hours, however, to be shattered by another Galileo yearling during the second Tattersalls October Book 1 session.

This Galileo yearling established a world record for a yearling filly with a price of 5 million guineas (about $8.45 million). She was bought by emerging Qatari international bloodstock player Sheikh Joaan al-Thani under the name of his Al Shaqab Racing. Bred and consigned by Lodge Park Stud, the filly is a full sister to Epsom Oaks winner Was, and their dam, Alluring Park, by Green Desert, is a half-sister to European champion and Epsom Derby winner New Approach.

New Approach, along with European champion and multiple Group 1 winner Teofilo, are two of Galileo’s many standout performers on racecourses around the world, and this pair has achieved early success in their stud careers as the sires of 2013 classic winners Dawn Approach and Trading Leather, respectively. Their potential to carry Galileo’s – and by extension, Sadler’s Wells’s and Northern Dancer’s – bloodlines well into the 21st century is perhaps the root cause of Galileo’s enormous popularity at auction.

Galileo’s best foal, the brilliant, undefeated, two-time European Horse of the Year Frankel, will join the fray soon enough, as his first foals are due for the weanling sales a little over a year from now. Based on the phenomenal strength of his initial book, Frankel could very well become his sire’s most formidable competitor at the top of the international market once the 2015 Tattersalls October yearling sale arrives.

Galileo’s two other top-10 prices from the Tattersalls Book 1 section also carry superior pedigrees. A filly out of the winning Inchinor mare Frappe sold to Coolmore for 775,000 guineas (about $1.31 million). She is a half-sister to 2012 Irish 2000 Guineas winner Power and is from the family of Group 1 winners Pedro the Great and Footstepsinthesand; the latter won the 2005 English 2000 Guineas and is now a Coolmore stallion. Blandford Bloodstock also purchased a high-priced Galileo yearling, spending 650,000 (about $1.1 million) for a chestnut colt out of Group 1 winner and stakes producer Field of Hope, by Selkirk.

Prior to his colossal run at Tattersalls, Galileo made his presence felt at the Keeneland September yearling sale with limited offerings. Five of his yearlings sold for a gross of $2,615,000, and his average of $523,000 led the auction. The most expensive of this cohort was bought by Coolmore for $1.4 million. Consigned by Woods Edge Farm, the dark bay or brown colt is out of the winning Black Tie Affair mare Starlight Dreams and is a half-brother to European champion and 2009 Irish 2000 Guineas winner Mastercraftsman, who is a freshman sire for Coolmore in 2013.

Through the end of the Tattersalls October Book 1 sale, 63 Galileo yearlings have sold at auction in 2013, grossing more than $45.7 million, with an average price of $726,562.