Two First Titles for Champion Galileo

Galileo, the most successful and most expensive sire today, defended again his championship title in England and Ireland. The successful Coolmore sire has won his seventh title already and once again, not for the first time, he became the champion sire in Europe. Last year’s season, however, brought him two more titles, first in his exceptionally rich career as stallion.

Touch of Genius, dual Derby winner by Galileo. Photo Sarka Votavova

Sire championships is less racing developed countries are often won by sires who have nothing in common with breeding in these countries. They get to the very top of the championships by successful imported horses and very often two or three, or even a single one, such a successful horse suffice to win the championship title for their sires.

This is what it looks like in some countries of the Central Europe where local sires, despite significantly higher numbers of progeny, place regularly behind the sires of the most successful imports. Let us look, for instance, at the Czech Republic, a country with ten million people where about five hundred races are run every year, of which about one third are over the fences. Since 1989 when the Iron Curtain fell the number of imported horses has increase and although the locally-bred horses still make up the majority, the imports represented 46% of the racing population. Czech owners buy abroad increasingly quality horses and it is no wonder that for the last five years a locally based stallion has not become a champion sire. This year a new name appeared on the very top and it was no one smaller than Galileo. He had only five of his progeny racing in the Czech Republic last year but they included the Czech Derby winner Touch of Genius and the winner of the Leram European Jockey’s Cup Middle Tamarind Cove. Both were purchased as 2yo unraced colts by the trainer Josef Váňa who transformed the former Aidain O’Brien-trained horses into the two best rated three-year-olds in the country. The second place in the championship goes to another stallion who was never in the Czech Republic, the German Dashing Blade, who has a single horse on the racecourse last year. Only third was the local sire, unfortunately the prematurely deceased Look Honey by Sadler’s Wells, who was the Czech champion sire in 2010. The top ten includes just three more local sires – Egerton, Bully Pulpit and Moonjaz.

Galileo won the title in the neighbouring Slovakia, where local sires are almost not represented at all in the championship. The championship title in a country where the number of broodmares decreased during the last ten years from 250 to around 50 it was enough for Galileo that Touch of Genius repeated his Derby triumph in Slovakia – which he did.

In Hungary, too, the championship went to a stallion associated with Coolmore. Aussie Rules is based at Lanwades Stud, Newmarket, but his progeny racing in Hungary last year were foaled during the stallion’s stay in Ireland. The more successful of the two was Quelindo, unbeaten in six races, the winner of the Hungarian Triple Crown and purchased as a yearling at Baden Baden for EUR 9,000. It was thanks to him that Aussie Rules beat the best of the local sires, the Hungarian bred Kegyúr, the son of Noble Law. In Hungary, however, the local sires have a better position than in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as next positions in the championships were taken by the local The Bogberry, which will be based in the Czech Republic this year, and Steady as a Rock. Aussie Rules even became the first champion sire who was not based in Hungary. Until then the sires in Hungary were dominated for many years by Satin Stone, a half-brother to the winner of the Middle Park Stakes winner Lujain, before that by Horatio Luro and yet before him by Glenstal.

It is however in Poland where the local breeding still has the strongest position in the Central Europe. Poland is the only country where a local sire became the champion. The Deutsches Derby winner Belenus, the champion sire of last years, won the title last year too but died in December 2012 and this year he will have his last crop of three-year-olds on the racecourse and he is likely to lose his champion position next year. It is difficult to say who will succeed him but there is a big chance for Ecosse, a below-average horse on the racecourse who has produced two Derby winners already. The top eight sires of the last season in Poland includes just a single sire based outside Poland, Kingmambo’s son Archipenko, a sire at Lanwades Stud, who had just two horses on the racecourse in Poland but they included the unbeaten Va Bank, the winner of the Polish Triple Crown and the biggest race for older horses Wielka Warszawska.

Miloslav Vlček

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