Grand Galileo, king of stallions, has added yet another jewel to his mighty crown. Not only the winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly on Sunday, but the first three home – Found, Highland Reel, and Order of St. George – are by Coolmore‘s titanic sire.
No stallion ever had sired the first three place-getters in the Arc, and remarkably, Found is the great stallion’s first winner in the Arc, Europe’s chief all-age race.
Few stallions merit the descriptive “great” during the prime of their stallion careers, but Galileo earned it years ago by the liberal distribution of his high-class stock. The list of his Group 1 and Grade 1 winners is longer than the list of most stallions’ stakes winners of any description.
So, both for quantity and for the thunderous quality of his offspring, Galileo has proven himself an extraordinary sire. He is the third in a succession of extraordinary sires, as his sire, Sadler’s Wells, was the leading sire in Europe for more than a decade of his active tenure as a stallion, and grandsire Northern Dancer (by Nearctic) fashioned the international Thoroughbred in his time through such outstanding performers and sires as English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky, English Derby winner The Minstrel, multiple classic winner El Gran Senor, highweighted 2-year-old Storm Bird, top miler Lyphard, and Nureyev, plus less-heralded sons like Danzig, who singly would have been a monumental contribution to breeding history.
In fact, for a time, it appeared that Danzig, rather than his more glorious demi-frere Sadler’s Wells, would breed on more effectively in the male line with so many fast and versatile sons.
And then came Montjeu and Galileo.
Each of these Derby winners added chapters of excellence to the breeding legacy of Sadler’s Wells, and Galileo is going the best of all today. In addition to the Arc performances of his two sons and daughter this year, Galileo has had the first three home in the 2016 1,000 Guineas (Minding, Ballydoyle, and Alice Springs), as well as in the Irish Derby of 2014 (Australia, Kingfisher, and Orchestra) and the St. Leger of 2006 (Sixties Icon, The Last Drop, and Red Rocks).
Overall, as these successes indicate, Galileo sires a considerable amount of class in his offspring, who frequently are blessed with a high cruising speed, and some come to hand quite early and apparently require some patience and minding with a view to their future potential.
One of these was unbeaten champion Frankel, who is currently the hottest young sire in Europe with his first-crop runners this season. Among them is G3 Prix d’Aumale winner Toulifaut, who changed hands for 1.9 million euros at the Arqana Arc sale at Chantilly on the evening before the big event.
Trainer Henry Cecil held that Frankel, who was gifted with extraordinary speed, was one who needed rational handling and management to bring out his full potential over time and distance. The mighty champion never proved him wrong, finishing unbeaten in 14 starts, including 10 G1s, such as the Dewhurst (7f), 2,000 Guineas (8f), Sussex Stakes (twice, 8f), Champion Stakes (10f), and Juddmonte International (10.5f).
Among other connections to the Arc de Triomphe, Galileo did not contest the race in his year (2001), passing it in favor of an attempt at the Breeders’ Cup Classic, where he finished 6th behind Tiznow on the sandy surface of Belmont Park.
Galileo’s half-brother Sea the Stars (Cape Cross), however, won the 2009 Arc de Triomphe as part of an undefeated 3-year-old season that resulted in the handsome bay being named Europe’s champion and Horse of the Year. He is now an important young sire of G1 winners such as 2016 English Derby and Irish Derby winner Harzand, Sea the Moon (2014 German Derby), and Taghrooda (2014 English Oaks and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes).
The dam of Sea the Stars and Galileo is the Miswaki mare Urban Sea, who won the Arc de Triomphe in 1993. She was ranked the best of her division in Europe that season, but she became considerably more as a broodmare.
In all, Urban Sea is the dam of eight stakes winners, most notably champions Galileo and Sea the Stars, but also including the additional G1 winners Black Sam Bellamy (Sadler’s Wells) and My Typhoon (Giant’s Causeway), G3 winners Urban Ocean (Bering) and All Too Beautiful (Sadler’s Wells), and listed stakes winners Malikah (Lammtarra), who was second in the Irish Oaks, and Born to Sea (Invincible Spirit), who was second in the Irish Derby.
Urban Sea’s contribution to the breed is far from over because her daughters are breeding on exceptional quality, like her sons, and she will be a force in pedigrees for generations to come.
Perhaps the great mare’s granddaughter, this year’s Arc de Triomphe winner Found, will be able to contribute her own chapters of glory to that enduring legacy.