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Anthony Van Dyck shows once again Galileo and Australasian mares are perfect fit

Martin Stevens on the champion sire's growing band of southern hemisphere mates

Anthony Van Dyck: Derby hero is by Galileo out of a speedy Australian-bred mare
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Coolmore's ploy of sending sharply bred Australasian Danehill-line mares to Galileo paid off in spectacular fashion on Saturday as Anthony Van Dyck – a son of the phenomenal sire out of Believe'N'Succeed, a classy sprinter by Exceed And Excel who had already produced a top-level winner over six furlongs in Bounding – displayed no lack of staying power to land the Derby by half a length.

On the same weekend, Pacific Ocean – out of Atlantic Jewel, a daughter of Fastnet Rock who won Group 1s over seven to ten furlongs – was the convincing winner of a Navan maiden over a mile and Cape Of Good Hope – out of Hveger, a Danehill mare who was Group 1-placed over ten furlongs – finished a respectable fourth in the Prix du Jockey Club.

Anthony Van Dyck is by no means the first, nor yet the best, runner bred by Coolmore through matching Galileo with an Australasian mare: that honour falls to Cape Of Good Hope's brother Highland Reel, the redoubtable winner of seven Group 1 races for the operation. Another brother, dual Group 2 winner and Irish Derby second Idaho, was a fine advertisement for the mating as well.

Another notable performer bred along these lines was the Munster Oaks winner and Park Hill Stakes second Pretty Perfect, who is out of Milanova, a Danehill sister to Holy Roman Emperor. The dam ran second in the Australasian Oaks and was bought by Coolmore for a record-busting A$5 million at Inglis in June 2008.

As with all breeding theories, though, there is no reliable recipe for success and it is worth noting that the Australian-bred mare Dame Again, a well bred daughter of Danehill, has so far had three sons of Galileo race in Europe and between them they mustered two wins and a best Racing Post Rating of 84 (although we might eventually hear more about one of them, N'Golo, as he was sold to Harold Kirk for €100,000 at Arqana last October).

Nevertheless, with Anthony Van Dyck and Highland Reel to show for it, Coolmore will be more than satisfied with their adventures in blending Galileo's middle-distance bloodlines with Australasian stock imbued with more speed.

Galileo covered only the odd Australian or New Zealand-bred mare in his first seven seasons at stud in Ireland and it looks as though their suffixes were incidental to their appearance in the young sire's books. However, when a flurry of superstars by Galileo out of Danehill mares appeared on the track, starting with Teofilo's champion juvenile season in 2006 and reaching its apex with Frankel's racecourse career that spanned 2010 to 2012, there seems to have been a more concerted effort to seek out suitable daughters of Danehill in Australasia, where the son of Danzig had dominated the breeding scene.

Dame Again, Hveger and Milanova were the pioneers in being brought to Ireland specifically to be covered by Galileo in 2009. Considering their achievements, as sketched out above, we might say two out of three ain't bad.

That triumvirate of mares were the only three Australasian natives in Galileo's book in the following year, and in 2011 they were joined by another Danehill mare in Twyla, whose resultant foal, the filly I'll Fly Away, made little impact on her sole start for Aidan O'Brien. There was another Australian-bred mare that year in Silent Heir, though that daughter of Sunday Silence had long been breeding in Europe and she may have been covered to southern hemisphere time anyway, as she was exported home to Australia in 2012.

Gradually more Australasian mares were covered by Galileo including, for the first time in 2013, Melito, a dual Group 1-winning sprinter by Redoute's Choice who had topped the previous year's Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale at A$1.65m.

Highland Reel: seven-time Group 1 winner is by Galileo out of Hveger
Atlantic Jewel and Sea Siren, both Group 1 winners by Fastnet Rock, travelled north for their debut covers by the world's greatest sire in 2014, while Anthony Van Dyck's dam Believe'N'Succeed, along with Monsoon Wedding, a sister to Redoute's Choice bought for A$2.3m, Nechita, a Coolmore Stud Stakes winner who cost A$1.55m, Zoustar's dam Zouzou and the Danehill mares Entrust and Hillfa made their debuts in his book in 2015.

New Zealand Group 2 winner Fix, a daughter of Iffraaj, was paired with Galileo for the first time in 2016, when the Queen sent her Group 1-winning Snitzel mare Sweet Idea to the stallion. By 2017 there were 14 Australasian-bred mares covered by the champion sire to northern hemisphere time, with Coolmore's Schweppes 1,000 Guineas heroine Amicus (by Fastnet Rock) joining the fold along with Emirates Park's Group 2-placed Shahad (also by Fastnet Rock).

With Galileo having been sent another ten Australasian-bred mares last year we can say with some certainty that Anthony Van Dyck will be far from the last of his progeny with antipodean roots to strike in one of Europe's showcase races.

The lingering question, as we praise the potency of this dual-hemisphere success story, is why Galileo didn't fare better as a stallion in his early shuttle trips to Australia when he had immediate access to the types of mare he is now excelling with on the other side of the world. He sired a handful of Group 1 winners but was outshone down under by former studmates Montjeu and High Chaparral.

Perhaps Australian trainers weren't attuned to bringing out the best in the sire's progeny, trying to make them fit with local owners' preference for winners over shorter distances; maybe it is just down to the same mysteries of shuttling that made a dominant sire in Australia such as Redoute's Choice relatively ineffective with his crops conceived in Europe.

Either way, Australian breeders, who long considered Galileo a flop, might be adjusting their attitude towards him now as the cross-pollination of the sire with familiarly antipodean Danehill lines is flourishing through his daughters down under. This season's dominant four-time Group 1 winner The Autumn Sun, for example, is by Redoute's Choice out of an Aga Khan-bred Galileo mare.

AUSTRALASIAN-BRED MARES COVERED BY GALILEO IN IRELAND TO NORTHERN HEMISPHERE TIME

2002

None

2003

Danemarque (Danehill)

2004

None

2005

My Brightia (Bellotto)

2006

My Brightia (Bellotto)

2007

Flying Floozie (Pompeii Court)

2008

None

2009

Dame Again (Danehill)
Hveger (Danehill)
Milanova (Danehill)

2010

Dame Again (Danehill)
Hveger (Danehill)
Milanova (Danehill)

2011

Hveger (Danehill)
Milanova (Danehill)
Silent Heir (Sunday Silence)
Twyla (Danehill)

2012

Dame Again (Danehill)
Donnadene (Danehill)
Hveger (Danehill)
Milanova (Danehill)
Mirimba Belle (Danehill)

2013

Donnadene (Danehill)
Hveger (Danehill)
Melito (Redoute's Choice)
Milanova (Danehill)
Mirimba Belle (Danehill)
We Can Say It Now (Starcraft)

2014

Atlantic Jewel (Fastnet Rock)
Dame Again (Danehill)
Hveger (Danehill)
Melito (Redoute's Choice)
Milanova (Danehill)
Sea Siren (Fastnet Rock)

2015

Atlantic Jewel (Fastnet Rock)
Believe'N'Succeed (Exceed And Excel)
Entrust (Danehill)
Hillfa (Danehill)
Hveger (Danehill)
Melito (Redoute's Choice)
Monsoon Wedding (Danehill)
Nechita (Fastnet Rock)
Zouzou (Redoute's Choice)

2016

Atlantic Jewel (Fastnet Rock)
Fix (Iffraaj)
Hillfa (Danehill)
Hveger (Danehill)
Melito (Redoute's Choice)
Milanova (Danehill)
Nechita (Fastnet Rock)
Sea Siren (Fastnet Rock)
Sweet Idea (Snitzel)
Zouzou (Redoute's Choice)

2017

Amicus (Fastnet Rock)
Atlantic Jewel (Fastnet Rock)
Believe'N'Succeed (Exceed And Excel)
Dame Again (Danehill)
Fix (Iffraaj)
Hveger (Danehill)
Melito (Redoute's Choice)
Milanova (Danehill)
Monsoon Wedding (Danehill)
Nechita (Fastnet Rock)
Sea Siren (Fastnet Rock)
Shahad (Fastnet Rock)
Sweet Idea (Snitzel)
Zouzou (Redoute's Choice)

2018

Amicus (Fastnet Rock)
Atlantic Jewel (Fastnet Rock)
Believe'N'Succeed (Exceed And Excel)
Dawn Wall (Fastnet Rock)
Fix (Iffraaj)
Florentina (Redoute's Choice)
Hveger (Danehill)
Nechita (Fastnet Rock)
Sea Siren (Fastnet Rock)
Sweet Idea (Snitzel)


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