The last weekend was dominated by the Irish Champion Weekend, a meeting full of great races and exceptional horses. As usually, the results of major races brought some inspiration for breeders, on the other hand the five Gr.1 races confirmed some current trends in breeding.
The most pronounced one is the continuation, or rather strengthening of the dominance of Sadler’s Wells’s son Galileo. His progeny won four of five Gr.1 race, in two they placed on first two positions. The aggregate winnings in UK and Ireland this year exceeded 10 million pounds, which is, by the way, one million more than four next stallions.
Galileo is naturally helped by the fact that thanks to his position of no.1 and thanks to the strength of Coolmore he has received excellent mares of the best families in the past years. This was, once again, proved during the Irish Champion Weekend when two of his Gr.1 winners – the winner of the biggest race, Irish Champion Stakes, Decorated Knight, and the winner of the Moyglare Stud Stakes, two-year-old Happily – have nearly identical pedigrees. They are out of full sisters Pearling and You’resothrilling, also the sisters of the European Horse of the Year and Excellent Stallion Giant’s Causeway. While for Pearling, placed twice at three, the success of her son Decorated Knight is the biggest achievement of her stud career so far, her one year younger sister You’resothrilling, the winner of the 2007 Cherry Hinton Stakes (Gr.2), has already produced with Galileo the winner of the Irish 1,000 Guineas (Gr.1) Marvellous, four-time Gr.1 winner and the winner of the 2,000 Guineas in England and Ireland Gleneagles, the winner of the Gr.3 Weld Park Stakes and Gr.1 placed Coolmore and this year’s three-year-old Taj Mahal, whose biggest achievement so far was the second place in the Gr.1 Secretariat Stakes in Airlington, U.S.A., a month ago.
The only Gr.1 winner of the Irish Champions Weekend, who was not by Galileo, was the winner of the National Stakes, Verbal Dexterity, bred by Jim Bolger. The son of the winner of the Gr.3 Tetrarch Stakes Vocalised, formerly trained by Bolger, nevertheless scored a record in the history of achievements by Galileo’s blood. He is the very first Gr.1 winner who has Galileo in the third generation of his pedigree, thanks to his family. His dam Lonrach by Holy Roman Emperor placed five times and earned slightly over 7,000 pounds but the granddam Luminous One, Galileo’s daughter, bred same as Verbal Dexterity and Lonrach by Jim Bolger, finished third in the listed Eyrefield Stakes.
This was not the only first by Galileo in the last days. On Monday, the Prix Saraca (L) at Maisons-Laffite was won by the filly Sonjeu, the first black-type winner produced by the winner of the Prix du Jockey Club (Gr.1) Intello. Intello, one of 42 black-type winners of the nick Galileo x Danehill, has become already the fifteenth son of Galileo who has produced a stakes winner. The pedigree of Sonjeu, bred by Sydney Vidal, commands attention not just thanks to her sire or grandsire. Her dam, the Gr.3 placed Wait and See, is the daughter of Galileo’s predecessor in the position of the best son of Sadler’s Wells and former stablemate Montjeu. Moreover it is not for the first time that these two stallions met in a pedigree of a stakes winner. Their first encounter happened six years ago when Parish Hall, another successful horse bred by Bolger, won the Dewhurst Stakes. Since then a horse with a pedigree combining exceptional talent of both Sadler’s Wells’ sons scored once more on the black-type scene. This was in 2013 when Rehn’s Nest by Authorized (Montjeu) out of a dam by Galileo won the Gr.3 Park Express Stakes and finished second in the Gr.1 Irish 1,000 Guineas.
Besides three black-type winners this connection has produced three more black-type placed winners and their number is likely to grow in future. Monjeu still remains in the shadow of Galileo but even he is the sire of fifteen sons who have produced a black-type winner at stud. The last of them is the one to whom, at least in Europe, biggest hopes are attached that he could be the successor of his sire, the Derby winner Camelot. The four-time Gr.1 winner at Coolmore Stud has his first crop of two-year-olds on the racecourse, the first stakes winner of who was the winner of the Junioren-Preis in Dusseldorfu, Alounak. He is not just the first stakes winner but also the very first black-type progeny of Camelot, who has a long way to go to become the successor of his famous sire. The pedigree of his first major progeny, however, is worth thinking about – Alounak’s dam Awe Struck has in her pedigree the influences of Danehill and Mr Prospector, whom we will find in Camelot’s pedigree too, as Alounak is, in both cases, inbred to them 4x4. There is no need to emphasise that both stallions bring speed while Monjeu, the sire of four Derby winners, brings stamina into the pedigree. The only progeny, moreover aged two, is nothing to draw conclusions from so let us wait whether others prove that the adding of speed is the right thing for Camelot or whether we find that the development of Montjeu’s ability to breed stayers is the more direct path to success for his son Camelot.