Cross Qualified for Achievement

Last year Qualify’s triumph in the Oaks showed that the Fastnet Rock – Galileo cross was able to produce truly exceptional individuals. The true harvest for this combination came last weekend, when three thoroughbreds of this combination achieved group wins, including Gr.1 Moyglare Stud Stakes.

photo Coolmore

Our database, containing over 68,000 horses successful in black-type races after 2002, contains at the moment 159 black-type winners who have in one half of their pedigree (dam or sire) the blood of Galileo, and the blood of Danehill in the other. The nick Galileo x Danehill has already produced forty black-type winners and it would be bringing coal to Newcastle to name all champions who came from this connection, headed by the unbeaten Frankel. Galileo and Danehill, however, can be found together in pedigrees of many other combinations including the one that celebrated the major achievement during the weekend.

A great score for Fastnet Rock's connection with Galileo’s daughters was opened by four-year-old Zhukova who, after two listed wins, achieved her first group victory in the Gr.3 Kilternan Stakes at Leopardstown. Three hours later at Doncaster the Gr.2 Champagne Stakes were taken by two-year-old half brother of the King Edward VII Stakes Alexander Pope, Rivet, and the excellent record was closed a day later, at Curragh, by two-year-old Intricately, who surprisingly beat the favourites Hydrangea and Rhododendron in the Gr.1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and became the first Gr.1 winner of trainer Joseph O’Brien…

The connection of Fastnet Rock with Galileo’s daughters has thus produced eight stakes winners by this day. The very first achievement on the black-type scene came three years ago, in May 2013, at Morphetville, Australia, when Eagle Island won the Oaklands Plate. Another stakes triumph of this connection came in Australia too, where four months later Rock Hero won the listed Dulcify Quality Handicap. The first European stakes winner was, one year later, the then two-year-old Qualify who won the Gr.3 L Weld Park Stakes by three lengths in late September 2014, and it was Qualify who achieved the first Gr.1 win for this cross by beating Legatissimo in the Epsom Oaks the following season. Just a day later Australia’s time came too – Magicool won the Gr.1 Queensland Derby.

Let’s look at the statistics. The eight current black-type winners represents 11% of all foals of racing age of this cross. This is a rather high percentage, if we take into account 5% share of black-type winners among all the progeny of Fastnet Rock and 3% share among the progeny of Galileo’s daughters. What is yet more impressive is the share of black-type winners among runners, as it is as high as 22%! This is caused by the low number of runners of all foals of racing age, which includes many two-year-old yet unraced horses.

Genetics is not mathematic, but the statistics of connection with Fastnet Rock prove that the progeny of Galileo’s daughters were given more speed. But it is not that simple. The progeny of Galileo’s daughters have the average winning distance of 8.8 furlongs, their progeny with Fastnet Rock just 7.7 furlongs. As far as black-type races are concerned, however, the situation is quite different – twelve current wins of this connection has the average distance of 9.1 furlongs and if we leave aside two-year-olds it is even 10.4 furlongs!

With daughters of Galileo, especially on the black-type level in Europe, Fastnet Rock’s production performs differently than we know from Australia, a country focused on speed. Fastnet Rock brings into European pedigrees on the black-type level perhaps less speed than many had expected after his arrival from Australia, but after a slower start he performs well in Europe and is, judged by the results achieved so far and crowned last weekend, a very interesting partner for Galileo’s daughters.

Miloslav Vlček

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