Five things we learned from this year's Guineas races across Europe
Martin Stevens looks at the sires who shone in the big mile contests
A rare blank for Galileo
Galileo drew a blank in this year's six major Classic mile contests – the 2,000 Guineas and 1,000 Guineas in Britain and Ireland and the Poules d'Essai in France – for the first time since 2012.
In fact, he had only two representatives placed in any of those races: Happily, who was third in the fillies' races at Newmarket and the Curragh, and Gustav Klimt, who filled the same position in the Irish 2,000 Guineas on Saturday.
For most stallions, the absence of a Guineas winner would barely be worthy of mention; such a result would be a pleasant surprise rather than an expectation.
But Galileo plays by different rules. Last year he fielded the winners of four of the six winners of the above named Guineas – Churchill and Winter doubling up in Britain and Ireland – and he also notched a four-timer in 2011 with Frankel, Roderic O'Connor, Misty For Me and Golden Lilac.
Consequently, Galileo does not hold quite the same commanding lead in the British and Irish sires' championship as we are accustomed to seeing, with £400,000 difference between him and second-placed Kodiac after Sunday's racing.
He will in all probability take the title for the tenth time, with his customary battalions of top-class older horses such as Capri, Cliffs Of Moher, Order Of St George and Rhododendron. But, intriguingly, his shortest-priced contender for Saturday's Investec Derby is 12-1 shot Delano Roosevelt.
With a slightly less potent three-year-old crop thus far – only by his own extraordinarily high standards, of course – the margin of Galileo's supremacy over his peers might be reduced this year.
Presence felt in next generation
Galileo was not completely absent from this year's Guineas, though.
2,000 Guineas hero Saxon Warrior, hot favourite for the Derby, no doubt owes some of his immense talent to the Coolmore phenomenon. He is by Deep Impact out of Galileo's champion juvenile daughter Maybe.
Galileo also featured as broodmare sire of Irish 2,000 Guineas runner-up US Navy Flag, by War Front out of multiple Group 1 winner Misty For Me, and of German 2,000 Guineas winner Ancient Spirit, by Invincible Spirit out of the winning mare Assisi.
Galileo's son New Approach put up a good showing in the Guineas, with narrowly beaten Poule d'Essai des Poulains runner-up Hey Gaman and 2,000 Guineas third Masar, while the debut three-year-old crop of New Approach's champion son Dawn Approach was on the mark with Fajjaj, runner-up to Ancient Spirit at Cologne.
Hope for budget breeders
With Galileo not on the scoreboard as a sire in the Guineas, space was made for some less heralded – and less expensive – names to shine.
1,000 Guineas heroine Billesdon Brook was conceived when Champs Elysees stood at Banstead Manor Stud at just £5,000. Now the source of a Classic winner, he is available this year at Castle Hyde Stud for €6,500.
Poule d'Essai des Pouliches winner Teppal is by Camacho, who stands at €7,500 at Yeomanstown Stud, while Poulains scorer Olmedo and the Irish Classic-winning pair Romanised and Alpha Centauri are by Coolmore's mid-market options Declaration Of War ($25,000), Holy Roman Emperor (€15,000) and Mastercraftsman (€25,000) respectively.
It is a crunch year for Mastercraftsman, as his three-year-olds were bred at an increased fee in the afterglow of his champion freshman season, but he is living up to lofty expectations. Not only was he responsible for Alpha Centauri, but another daughter, Wind Chimes, wrote herself into many notebooks by running on late to finish third, beaten a short-neck and a head, in the Pouliches.
War Front proves a point
Coolmore are being rewarded for placing their chips on War Front as a potential taproot of a sire-line, with Declaration Of War coming up with Olmedo in his first crop. The stallion, based at Ashford Stud in Kentucky, should continue to be popular.
War Front has had the misfortune to be represented by a number of top-class two-year-olds who conspicuously failed to train on, such as Air Force Blue, Brave Anna and War Command.
But the memory of those disappointments is increasingly being erased with the emergence of more and more talented three-year-olds and older horses by the Claiborne Stud maestro, those more in the mould of Queen Anne Stakes and Juddmonte International winner Declaration Of War.
Last year's European champion juvenile by War Front, US Navy Flag, has yet to win this year but ran a fine second in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, while his paternal half-sister Could It Be Love, who shares her dam with Uncle Mo, was runner-up in the fillies' version.
Away from the Guineas action Lancaster Bomber, a four-year-old War Front half-brother to Excelebration, returned to the winner's enclosure for the first time since winning a Leopardstown maiden at two with a defeat of Cliffs Of Moher in the Tattersalls Gold Cup.
Cape Cross dazzles on distaff side
The Classic action in the last few weeks has confirmed what we already knew: that the presence of Cape Cross – source of former Guineas winners Awtaad and Sea The Stars – is no bad thing.
Masar and Laurens, runner-up in the 1,000 Guineas and back to winning ways in the Prix Saint-Alary on Sunday, are both out of mares by the late Kildangan Stud stalwart, whose greatest hit as a broodmare sire was Australia, narrowly beaten in the 2,000 Guineas before winning the Derby.
Hey Gaman, meanwhile, is a son of the Group 2-placed Dubawi mare Arsaadi, who in turn is out of the winning Cape Cross mare Arsad.
Masar and Hey Gaman are both inbred to Ahonoora, damsire of New Approach and Cape Cross. Hey Gaman gets a third dose of Ahonoora as he is the sire of Arsad's maternal granddam Aunty Eileen.
Masar has a fascinating pedigree as not only is he inbred 3x4 to Ahonoora, but he is also inbred on the same pattern to the legendary Urban Sea.
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