Galileo's to-do list: eight exploits the birthday boy has yet to tick off
Martin Stevens looks at the Coolmore phenomenon's CV as he turns 22
1 British and Irish champion sire record
Galileo, who was born 22 years ago on Monday, might have dominated the stallion scene in recent years but he has not yet done so to the same extent as his own sire and former Coolmore stud mate Sadler's Wells.
Sadler's Wells was champion sire in Britain and Ireland on a record 14 occasions, in 1990 and then every year from 1992 to 2004, while Galileo has 11 titles to his name, having ruled the roost in 2008 and been unsurpassed since 2010.
Galileo looks on course to overtake Sadler's Wells in the 2020s, with big hitters such as Anthony Van Dyck, Circus Maximus, Japan, Kew Gardens and Sovereign staying in training, exciting three-year-olds including Innisfree and Mogul to look forward to and then scores of well-bred two-year-olds, yearlings and foals to come.
The phenomenal sire covered 180 mares in 2017, 165 in 2018 and 156 last year, with no fewer than 117 black-type performers in each book.
2 An unprecedented fifth Derby winner
Another record that Galileo has firmly in his sights is leading sire of Derby winners, being only one off the record.
He equalled the feat of four achieved by Cyllene, Waxy, Sir Peter Teazle, Blandford and Montjeu when Anthony Van Dyck – one of six by the sire in a field of 13 – landed the Epsom Classic last year.
Galileo's 42 entrants in the Derby this year include three of the market leaders in Armory, Innisfree and Mogul, as well as less exposed winners such as Tuscan Gaze and Vatican City.
Even if he doesn't do it this year, though, it is safe to say there are numerous youngsters from his following three books who are equipped with pedigrees to excel in the Derby, and with the sire still in service there will be at least one more well-bred crop to come.
3 A big ask: a Derby one-two-three
Okay, okay, this is asking a bit much; but if any stallion was going to pull it off it would be Galileo. And although it sounds far-fetched, he has come close to the tricast before.
Anthony Van Dyck and Japan made it a one-three last year, when Madhmoon – a great-grandson via Dawn Approach and New Approach – was the filling in a Galileo sandwich.
In 2016, meanwhile, US Army Ranger and Idaho finished second and third behind Harzand, a son of Galileo's half-brother Sea The Stars.
Then there was another Galileo one-three in the Derby of 2013, courtesy of Ruler Of The World and Galileo Rock. Libertarian, by New Approach, took second.
Don't forget, either, that Galileo has fielded the first three home in the Irish Derby not just once, but twice: with Sovereign, Anthony Van Dyck and Norway last year and with Australia, Kingfisher and Orchestra in 2014.
4 A peerless 85th top-level winner
Here's a record that will fall to Galileo imminently.
In recent years the super sire has gradually been eating into the record of individual Group/Grade 1 winners held by another former Coolmore studmate in Danehill.
He finally matched Danehill's tally of 84 when the redoubtable Magic Wand, previously placed at the highest level on seven occasions, landed the Mackinnon Stakes at Flemingon in November.
With the racing programme in limbo it's impossible to tell when Galileo will enter this uncharted territory, but there are several candidates who look Group/Grade 1 winners in waiting – Southern France, third in the Irish St Leger in September and a Group 2 scorer since being exported to Australia, being a prime example, although he was disappointing in the Tancred Stakes on Saturday.
Or maybe it could be Delphinia, beaten a short head by Star Catcher in the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes in October, if the daughter of Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Again is kept in training at four.
5 French Group 1 gaps in the CV
By my reckoning, Galileo has sired at least one winner of every Group 1 race held over a mile or further in Britain and Ireland, but there are a few gaps in his CV on the continent.
One of the most surprising omissions, perhaps, is that none of his top-class runners over a mile have managed to win France's premier all-aged contest over that distance, the Prix Jacques le Marois. His best result in that race is two third place finishers – Intello and Line Of Duty.
Neither does he have a Prix Jean Prat winner to his name, with two sons finishing third – Gustav Klimt and Mondialiste. The chances of righting that wrong diminished last year when the French authorities cut the race distance from a mile to seven furlongs.
Another race that looks more in Galileo's sphere of influence but has so far eluded him is the Prix Saint-Alary. Oddly enough, he has not even sired a placed runner in the ten-furlong contest for three-year-old fillies that has long been sponsored by his custodians Coolmore.
6 Melbourne Cup scorer a case of when not if?
There are several more major international races that Galileo has yet to supply the winner of – the Breeders' Cup Classic, Japan Cup and so on – but there is one in particular that is surely a case of when not if.
Two of Galileo's sons have finished second in the Melbourne Cup, with Purple Moon just half a length behind Efficient in 2007 and Johannes Vermeer going down by the same distance to Rekindling ten years later.
Mahler ran third to Efficient and Purple Moon, but it was another bronze medallist, Il Paradiso, who last year went closer to landing the race that stops the nation than any by the sire before him. He came with a storming late run to be beaten a neck behind the front-running Vow And Declare, suffering interference in the dying strides of the race to boot.
There is a roaring trade in turning Galileo offspring who don't come quite up to scratch in Europe into Cup contenders in Australia, so that Melbourne Cup winner is a real possibility.
7 Elite sprinter more a hope than expectation
Galileo has a six-furlong two-year-old Group 1 winner on his progeny record in the shape of Cheveley Park Stakes heroine Clemmie, but no elite-winning sprinter at three or older.
It is unfair to expect that he would, of course, as a Derby-winning son of Sadler's Wells and Arc victress Urban Sea who is widely known to have the TT genotype (that suited to long distances) and is thus guaranteed to pass on one copy of the genetic marker to his offspring.
But breeders have sought to mitigate the stamina Galileo transmits to his stock by sending him speedier and more sharply bred mares, the result being an abundance of top-class two-year-olds and milers.
It is not inconceivable that, given the right conditions, one could deliver a Group 1 success over six furlongs at three or older. Gustav Klimt nearly did it, staying on to finish third in a heavy-ground edition of the Haydock Sprint Cup, beaten half a length and a neck.
8 Cheltenham champion on the cards?
A tongue in cheek one to end on: will Galileo emulate Sadler's Wells by siring a winner of one of the showcase races at the Cheltenham Festival?
He has fathered several winners at the meeting in Celestial Halo, Supasundae and Windsor Park, but none yet in the Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, Stayers' Hurdle or Gold Cup.
Sadler's Wells on the other hand, was represented by triple Champion Hurdle hero Istabraq and Gold Cup laureate Synchronised.
Galileo has a squeak of getting a winner of one of those races, as he is regularly sent a handful of jumps mares by Coolmore associates – Synchronised was bred by Noreen McManus in such circumstances – but on the other hand his chances are less due to so many useful middle-distance Flat horses being sold to race abroad instead of being switched to the jumps, as was the case with Istabraq.
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