An easy cross to bear

The successful nicking of Danehill mares with Galileo looks set to continue more »

Friday, September 27, 2013

When Romantica triumphed in the Prix Jean Romanet, she became the eighth Group 1 winner to represent the highly successful Galileo/Danehill cross. At the same time she improved Juddmonte’s record with this cross to two Group 1 winners and a Group 3 winner from the farm’s first four foals of racing age, the others being the incomparable Frankel and his brother Noble Mission.

Of course Juddmonte isn’t alone in its admiration of this fruitful partnership, which owes a great deal of its popularity to Teofilo, the champion two-year-old of 2006 who was one of Galileo’s two second-crop foals out of Danehill mares.

The number of Danehill mares visiting Galileo had been steadily increasing, producing four named foals in 2005 (including Derby Italiano winner Cima de Triomphe), five in 2006 (including the 1,000 Guineas runner-up Cuis Ghaire) and seven in 2007 (one of them being Gile Na Greine, a close third in the 2010 1,000 Guineas).

Then the floodgates opened after Teofilo’s exploits in 2006. Frankel and his fellow Classic winners Roderic O’Connor and Golden Lilac ranked among the cross’s 17 foals of 2008. The next year saw a further 19, headed by the Group 1-winning fillies Maybe and Romantica, and the smart Noble Mission.

Popular nicks tend to lose potency as breeders jump on the bandwagon with unsuitable mares

Theoretically, the success of this cross should rise exponentially, as its early successes have resulted in Galileo cornering the market as the go-to stallion for daughters of Danehill.

The 2010 batch totalled 25 (including three as-yet-unnamed foals). The very likeable Intello, winner of the Prix du Jockey-Club, is comfortably the most accomplished of them but the Oaks second Secret Gesture, the St James’s Palace third Mars and the Irish Oaks fourth Scintillula have all run well at the highest level.

Results speak for themselves

It is quite a startling statistic that by 2011 foals out of Danehill mares accounted for roughly a fifth of Galileo’s entire crop. Most of the 31 (which include three as-yet-unnamed foals) have yet to race but the signs are that this collection is going to add further lustre to the cross’s luminous reputation.

Tapestry, winner of the Debutante Stakes, would surely have given Rizeena more to do had she not been hampered in the Moyglare Stud Stakes. The Silver Flash Stakes winner Wonderfully was another who suffered from Kiyoshi’s meanderings in the Moyglare. Also showing considerable promise are Dazzling, a sister to Roderic O’Connor who defeated a well-bred field on her Curragh debut; Orchestra, an easy winner of his second race, having finished second on debut in the hot maiden race won by Free Eagle; and Mekong River, a winner of his first three starts.

Galileo’s current crop of yearlings numbers 188 and, again, a sizeable proportion of this crop was produced by Danehill’s daughters – unsurprisingly, as they were conceived in 2011, following Frankel’s two-year-old championship. There are 33 of them, which equates to 17.5%, and they include siblings to Golden Lilac, Roderic O’Connor, Maybe, Tapestry, Mars and Wonderfully. Quite a few of the 33 are scheduled to come under the hammer in October, with the six in Book 1 featuring a sister (lot 135) to Roderic O’Connor and Dazzling. One of the colts (ot 449) is out of a smart sister to the top Australian colt Elvstroem. Three of the Galileos at Goffs Orby also have dams by Danehill.

One can only wonder what heights Galileo’s 2013 crop might achieve. Although many of his foals have yet to be reported, there are siblings to Frankel and Golden Lilac among them.

One of the problems with popular nicks is the tendency for them to lose their potency as everyone tries to jump on the bandwagon with mares which may suit from a pedigree viewpoint but not on the score of conformation.

It is essential to remember that many of the early eye-catchers from the Galileo/Danehill cross are out of very accomplished mares. For example, Frankel and Noble Mission are out of Kind, a Listed winner with a Timeform rating of 112.

Then there’s Teofilo (out of a Listed winner rated 111), Golden Lilac (out of a Group 1 winner rated 120), Intello (dam a Group 2 winner rated 114), Romantica (out of a multiple Group 1 winner rated 128) and Tapestry (whose dam Rumplestiltskin was a dual Group 1 winner at two).

Then there’s Cima de Triomphe, whose dam won the Group 2 Italian 1,000 Guineas, while Roderic O’Connor and Maybe are respectively out of Listed winners rated 106 and 109. Wonderfully’s dam Massarra is a Group-placed Listed winner with an official rating of 107.

That accounts for all eight of the Group 1 winners bred on the cross, plus its only Group 2 winner and for two of the four Group 3 winners. The two remaining Group 3 winners are out of the unraced Scribonia, a daughter of a talented half-sister to the top sprinter Double Form.

In other words, it seems that you largely need not only a Danehill mare but a Danehill mare who was distinctly above average if you are to reap the full rewards of this celebrated nick. Chances are, though, that Galileo’s very high stud fee will itself ensure that there’s plenty of quality control among the daughters of Danehill visiting the soon-to-be five-time champion sire.

Of course Danehill’s youngest daughters will be ten years old at the start of the next breeding season, so many breeders are beginning to look to mares by Danehill’s sons as possible alternatives. This trend is sure to grow, especially after this year’s Irish 2,000 Guineas was won impressively by Magician, whose dam is one of only 35 broodmare daughters of Danehill’s very fast son Mozart.

As a fellow Coolmore sire, Danehill Dancer is at the forefront of the alternatives. His daughters have made a fine start with Galileo, with the dual Group 3 winner Quest For Peace leading a squad of four black-type performers among the first 11 northern hemisphere foals bred this way. The potential of this cross will receive a more thorough testing with its foals of 2011 and 2012. Its ten two-year-olds include the unbeaten Listed winner Indian Maharaja and the debut winner Illinois.

The 12 living yearlings by Galileo out of Danehill Dancer mares include youngsters out of such talented racemares as Lillie Langtry, Tamazirte, Chintz, Ice Queen, Famous, Latin Love, Devoted To You and Remember When. You will gauge the potential of this cross when I point out that Lillie Langtry won the Group 1 Coronation Stakes and that Tamazirte, Remember When and Ice Queen were all narrowly beaten in Classics.

No doubt Galileo will also be paired with some of the best daughters of Dansili – a stallion with ten Group 1-winning daughters to his credit. We have already seen Dansili’s Listed winner Prudenzia represented by Galileo fillies which sold for €1,100,000 in 2012 and €1,000,000 in 2013.

Fillies all the fashion for sons of Shadwell matriarch
Bearing in mind that Height Of Fashion’s celebrated sons Unfuwain and Nashwan both died in 2002, anyone could be forgiven for forgetting the finer points of their stallion careers. Unfuwain’s legacy included eight Group 1 winners, of which all bar Alhaarth were fillies. Among them were a 1,000 Guineas winner in Lahan, an Oaks winner in Eswarah and three winners of the Irish Oaks in Bolas, Petrushka and Lailani.

It was a similar story with Nashwan. Although he sired the top colts Swain and Bago, four of his six Group 1 winners were fillies. One of them, Wandesta, was a champion in the USA, while One So Wonderful defeated the males in the Juddmonte International.

In the circumstances we shouldn’t be too surprised that Nayef – Height Of Fashion’s youngest stallion son – should also prove a proficient sire of fillies. He currently has eight Group winners from his six crops aged three or over. No fewer than six of the eight are fillies, including the Prix de l’Opera winner Lady Marian, who was sold for 1,800,000gns in 2008.
Two of the eight – Tasaday and Sparkling Beam – have been in fine form in France this year, with this pair of three-year-olds taking first and second places in both the Group 3 Prix de Psyche and the Group 2 Prix de la Nonette (which appropriately is sponsored by Shadwell).

Before anyone considers dismissing Nayef’s sons, I should point out that his highest-rated winner is a colt. And I should also quickly point out that this colt – Tamayuz – is making a pleasing start as a stallion.

Tamayuz was a highly effective miler on his day, as he showed in beating Raven’s Pass in the Prix Jean Prat and Natagora in the Prix Jacques le Marois. However, as a French-raced horse, he had to work to win the affections of Ireland’s breeders when he retired to Derrinstown Stud.

His first two crops total 123 foals, compared to the 199 of his contemporary New Approach, but that hasn’t stopped him siring ten runners in 2013 which have managed to attain a Racing Post Rating of 102 or more. He did this even though his Group 2-winning first-crop son Sir Prancealot was retired at the end of his juvenile career. Among them are Molecomb hero Brown Sugar, who along with Sir Prancealot has confirmed Tamayuz’s ability to sire much speedier stock than might be expected of a miler sired by Nayef from the family of Galileo.

Unfortunately, Tamayuz covered only 26 mares in his third season, but his bold showing among the first-crop sires of 2012 will surely earn him much more support this year.

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