Commerce between breeding superpowers no longer implausible
Martin Stevens reflects on Darley sending mares to Galileo
Confirmation that mares owned by Sheikh Mohammed would likely be covered by Galileo at Coolmore next year, given by Godolphin chief executive Joe Osborne in an interview in the Irish Field this week, is the natural next step in the new era of relations between the two operations.
For 12 years Godolphin had effectively boycotted Coolmore sires at source, neither sending mares to him nor buying his untried young stock at auction. They had, though, deemed it acceptable to buy into his genes through selective and often very expensive horse-in-training purchases, such as his champion sons New Approach and Teofilo in private deals and daughters Galatee, Hanky Panky and Secret Gesture in multi-million transactions at breeding-stock sales.
Some of those horses demonstrate how beneficial Galileo has been for Godolphin, with New Approach and Teofilo excelling on their stallion roster under the Darley banner, and Galatee having produced Group winners Dartmouth and Manatee.
Then there were the many top-class horses that Sheikh Mohammed campaigned by Galileo's own legendary sire and former studmate Sadler's Wells in more harmonious times: homebreds like Doyen and In The Wings, and other greats who were purchased to bear the sheikh's silks such as Carnegie, Old Vic and Opera House.
Godolphin's self-imposed embargo on access to Galileo and his studmates came to a sensational end this year, with a new buying team representing Sheikh Mohammed signing for five yearlings by Galileo at European auctions – including the 4,000,000gns filly out of Dank at Book 1 – as well as progeny of other Coolmore sires.
And now the prospect of some of Godolphin's best mares visiting Galileo is on the cards. Galileo ought to prove compatible for Dubawi mares, as the reverse of the cross has been responsible for Group winners Dartmouth and Night Of Thunder and Derby fifth Red Galileo.
Another intriguing angle is that the Darley broodmare band will contain plenty of daughters of Pivotal, in whom Sheikh Mohammed owns a significant share, and they might also be considered a good match for Galileo. Pivotal has nicked with the Coolmore phenomenon with conspicuous success this season, as shown by Hydrangea and Rhododendron, and, in a next-generation version of the cross, through Frankel's son Cracksman.
Perhaps the final act of the detente between Coolmore and Godolphin will be the Irish organisation reciprocating by supporting Darley sires with their mares, allowing 'the Lads' to send a few of their many high-class daughters of Galileo to Dubawi to produce runners bred along the same lines to Dartmouth and Night Of Thunder.
The likes of Exceed And Excel and Iffraaj on Darley's European roster, and Medaglia D'Oro in Kentucky, might also be expected to appeal to Coolmore, who made a bold statement of their own at the sales this autumn. They purchased the 2,000,000gns Dubawi colt out of Sky Lantern at Book 1, as Godolphin got stuck into the Galileos (albeit the partners had bought the odd youngster by Darley sires over the past 12 years).
All of a sudden, channels of commerce between Coolmore and Godolphin that for more than a decade had seemed unthinkable, have become very plausible indeed.
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