Gary McKenzie looks back at the career of “The Daddy”, Galileo,
There was sad news with the passing of super stallion Galileo. He was champion sire every year between 2010 and 2020 and was, quite literally, “The Daddy”.
His progeny include Highland Reel, Found, New Approach, Magical, Waldgeist, Minding, and some horse called Frankel. He even had a Grade One Cheltenham winner in Celestial Halo.
But we sometimes forget how good a racehorse he was. He raced just once as a two year old, on heavy ground, but was fourteen lengths clear at the line.
He was even money that day and he would only go off at odds against on two of his following seven starts.
His first race as a three year old was a convincing win in the Ballysax. The horse in second, Milan, went on to win the St Leger and was a narrow second in the Breeders Cup Turf behind a horse who figures prominently in the Galileo story.
More about him in a bit. Third in the Ballysax was an legend of a horse. Vinnie Roe won four Irish St Legers and was a close to winning both a Melbourne Cup and an Ascot Gold Cup.
Galileo won both the Epsom and Irish Derbys pretty easily although it can be argued that neither was a vintage renewal (having said that Golan did win the King George the following year).
Galileo’s next two races were epic. His two duels with Fantastic Light were brilliant to watch. He won the King George at Ascot by two lengths, a performance which earned him his highest Racing Post Rating.
The rematch in the Irish Champion Stakes was eagerly awaited and this time the older horse prevailed. By a head. It was a great race.
There could have been a decider at Belmont in the Breeders Cup but while Fantastic Light was winning the Turf, Galileo was disappointing in the Classic.
It was his only run on dirt and the ground was very quick. I also think he was best over twelve furlongs despite his Irish Champion run.
Like many others he was retired to stud at three so we didn’t get to see him defend his King George or attempt to win The Arc.
But his influence runs deep and will continue to do so with super filly Love still in training, as well as Bolshoi Ballet who recently won the Belmont Derby. And he is the grandsire of the likes of Snow Lantern and Hurricane Lane. RIP.