Tag Archive for: Galileo

Monday Musings: Remembering a True Legend of the Turf

Reassuringly he was always there; then, half-watching Racing TV the other day, suddenly he wasn’t. People of my generation always used to ask, “Where were you when the news came through that JFK was assassinated?” For the record I was in a little street in Bow, East London, with just about my first proper girlfriend and her family, writes Tony Stafford.

Bloodstock people of all ages now will relate their whereabouts at the time of the passing of the greatest stallion of all time. Galileo, aged 23 and sire of 91 Group and Grade 1 winners at the time of his death late last week is no more. No longer is that the figure either, Bolshoi Ballet making it 92 in New York on Saturday completing an Aidan O’Brien / Ryan Moore Grade 1 double with Santa Barbara, now respectively Derby and Oaks winners after all.

Galileo’s legend though will continue to develop, with a couple more crops of those whole-hearted, ultra-genuine performers yet to grace the track, mostly from Coolmore Stud and Ballydoyle who monopolised his progeny from the time Teofilo and others showed him to be a sire for all seasons and more importantly all ages. Messrs (and Mrs) Magnier, Tabor, Smith and of course the whole Aidan O’Brien family owe him a massive debt of gratitude.

Having had him as my equine hero for a decade and a half and as the password on almost all my electronic devices such as they are, it was gratifying that on a visit for the Champions Weekend in September 2018 along with Harry Taylor and Alan Newman I got to meet him.

Minutes later we were allowed into the Coolmore museum and saw the life-size and oh so realistic embodiment of his sire Sadler’s Wells whose apparently never-to-be broken tally of records has indeed been shattered by this phenomenon.

Typically Alan gave him a cuddle and for months afterwards would show anyone within reach the pictures, asking, “Who do you think this is?” I, of course, would have been tempted to say, “Surely it’s you!” but most people are less unkind.

I remember sitting in the late George Ward’s Ascot box, along from the Royal Box – a fair way along if I’m honest – telling the heroic combative boss of Grunwick, the company that produced the Instaprint and Tripleprint photo services long before cameras did the same job instantly, about him.

George had been through an awful front-page making ordeal with the unions decades earlier but came through it and got interested in racing, becoming a major sponsor and a leading light in the Racehorse Owners Association.

I told him, “George, you have to send a mare to Galileo, he’s only €30k!” He said, “That’s too rich for me, I’ve just a few ordinary mares.” Fair enough and of course by the time the next lot of nominations were considered his fee had already increased notably.

Sadly George died soon afterwards and now the equine object of my admiration, long since designated as having a “private” fee is gone, too.

One quote I saw (and a figure too that was often bandied about) was that you needed to stump up €500k to unlock the golden gates to his magical semen. But such was the flexibility of John Magnier’s marketing skills that the way to Galileo’s heart (as far as breeders’ mares were concerned) could often be through foal shares. The mare had to be pretty good in most cases but the numbers also needed to be kept up, so “private” had to be the way to go.

I could imagine breeders sitting down around a table at Royal Ascot, Longchamp or Newmarket sales asking each other: “How much did you pay?” I bet they always erred on the high side!

A slow computer early this morning limited my intended analysis of the Coolmore stallion roster 2021 but as far as I could tell, from 24 of the 26 other sires listed to be standing as Flat stallions this year, their combined fees amounted to just about half a million Euro – equivalent to one top-priced (no deals) Galileo.

Two exceptions are the highly-promising pair Wootton Bassett, a relative newcomer, but now raised to €100,000 and No Nay Never, up to 125K after his progeny’s exploits in his first few years’ activity. Two nice Wootton Bassett winners over the past weekend will keep him in breeders’ headlights.

Their upward momentum is reminiscent of a similar hike for No Nay Never’s sire, Scat Daddy, another shrewd buy from Coolmore, running in Michael Tabor’s colours in the US towards the end of his career. He had just been promoted to a fee of $100,000 at their Ashford Stud, Kentucky, base after a brilliant start when he had an accident at the farm. His untimely death came with a stunning book of mares waiting in vain for his services.

There can be little doubt he would have been a realistic US-based counterpart to Galileo if the evidence alone of the unbeaten Triple Crown winner Justified is considered. Two other sons of Scat Daddy, plus two of No Nay Never, grace the present Coolmore Ireland roster. Caravaggio, by Scat Daddy, has made a great start with his first two-year-olds this year and Coolmore has taken the hint - he will be based at Ashford in 2022.

Also at Ashford is the other Triple Crown hero of the modern age, American Pharoah, while the horse that came nearest to a UK Triple Crown, which would have been the first since Nijinsky in 1970, Camelot stands at only €45k in Co Tipperary. He is the sire of Santa Barbara, who thus on Saturday belatedly joined the four other Group 1 winning three-year-old fillies at Ballydoyle. Needless to say Alan has pictures with both Triple Crown winners, but I didn’t make that trip.

Two of the five, Empress Josephine and Joan Of Arc, both Classic winners this year, are daughters of Galileo. As far as my haphazard researches allow, I believe seven sons of Galileo are standing at Coolmore and Churchill, the 2,000 Guineas winner of 2017, is already off to a flying start with eight individual winners in his first crop.

Apart from the Flat-race squad, Coolmore NH has a further 18 stallions between Castle Hyde, Grange Stud and The Beeches where six more sons of Galileo ply their trade, so to speak. Classic winners Capri, Soldier Of Fortune and Kew Gardens are among them along with Order of St George, a dual Gold Cup hero from Ascot.

Two non-Galileos working away there are his fellow Sadler’s Wells horse, Yeats, the four-time Gold Cup winner and the multiple Group 1 winner, Maxios (by Monsun), busiest of the lot last year with 298 mares successfully accommodated. At €7k a pop, his new increased price, that’s good business.

If there is to be a sire to step into those size 14 shoes – not really but you get the illusion! – it has to be St Mark’s Basilica (Siyouni-Cabaret/Galileo). Now I know why, straight after that epic Eclipse win at Sandown that brought a best in the world rating of 127 to eclipse (ha!) Palace Pier, one insider said, “They are hoping he might be the one to replace Galileo.” He better not lose from now on then, but I fail to see why he should.

Back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when Robert Sangster, Vincent O’Brien and his son-in-law John Magnier were going hard in the bloodstock business in the US having acquired Coolmore from Tim Vigors, the great Northern Dancer was commanding fees of $1 million.

Such was his allure that when Henryk De Kwiatkowski was looking for mares to send to his Horse Of The Year, Conquistador Cielo, he paid 3.8 million dollars for a mare in foal to Northern Dancer. She lost the foal – and he didn’t pay the extra for foal insurance. Conquistador Cielo, subject of a $36 million syndication proved to be pretty rubbishy as a stallion but Henryk had another horse, by Northern Dancer, who did turn out pretty good at the same time. That was Danzig and he at one stage was getting quite close to the magic million too. Pity I didn’t find a mare to send to him (for free!) when I was offered the chance.

As the Old Testament would say, Northern Dancer begat Sadler’s Wells; Sadler’s Wells begat Galileo; Galileo begat Frankel, Teofilo, Minding, Love and many more champions besides. There are legacies and legacies, but none like Galileo’s. Rest in peace, we’ll never forget you and I can’t wait to see you standing next to your dad in the Coolmore museum. I’m sure Alan will let me know when the star attraction is ready for viewing.



Frankel, Found and many more – superstars at every turn for Galileo

There are many ways to assess and classify the progeny of the incomparable Galileo – a discussion which could stretch on for hours, if not days. Here we take the route of cold, hard cash – ranking the stallion’s 10 biggest earners during their racing careers.

Highland Reel – £7,513,355

Highland Reel successfully plied his trade round the world
Highland Reel successfully plied his trade round the world (Brian Lawless/PA)

A quite astonishing haul for a horse that would not feature among the 10 best under a ratings criteria. Highland Reel was an exceptionally tough international campaigner, racing over four seasons and racking up seven Group One wins, from Royal Ascot to Hong Kong. A considerable chunk of his earnings came via his two Hong Kong Vase wins, but Breeders’ Cup Turf and King George successes underline his class, with notable placed efforts behind legendary mares Winx and Enable also on his record.

Found – £5,058,029

Found was a multiple Group One scorer
Found was a multiple Group One scorer (Brian Lawless/PA)

A three-times Group One winner, Found has the distinction of having won both the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Breeders’ Cup Turf. She inflicted only the second defeat of his career on the all-conquering Golden Horn at Keeneland in 2015 before taking home the French highlight at Chantilly the following season. She has already produced a Royal Ascot winner with her first foal, Battleground – suggesting the apple does not fall far from the tree.

Magical – £4,875,498

Magical was another to show longevity at the top level
Magical was another to show longevity at the top level (PA)

Another super-tough mare, although one who was unfortunate to bump heads with the great Enable throughout her career. A seven-times Group One winner, Magical placed a further nine times at the highest level, most notably when twice being edged out in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Magical was the only horse to beat Ghaiyyath in his career-defining 2020 campaign, the last of her four seasons in Aidan O’Brien’s care.

Waldgeist – £4,298,561

Waldgeist (right) scuppered Enable's Arc dream
Waldgeist (right) scuppered Enable’s Arc dream (Julian Herbert/PA)

Famed as the horse that scuppered Enable’s Arc hat-trick, Waldgeist could be hailed a consistent runner for Galileo, with his final defeat of Enable sending his rating soaring to 128. A four-times Group One winner, Waldgeist was so nearly a French Derby winner in 2017, beaten just a short head, and Andre Fabre was brave in campaigning him across Europe, as well as running in America and Hong Kong.

Magic Wand – £3,705,970

Consistency was key for Magic Wand
Consistency was key for Magic Wand (PA)

Not a superstar by any measure, but an admirable international campaigner who enjoyed her moment in the sun when she won the Group One Mackinnon Stakes in Australia. Her victory that day is all the more laudable when you consider she was turning out to win over 10 furlongs just four days after being beaten only three and a half lengths when 10th in the Melbourne Cup over a gruelling two miles. Magic Wand acquitted herself well in Hong Kong and America too – underscoring Galileo’s international reach.

Frankel – £2,998,302

Frankel - the best of Galileo's numerous crops on ratings
Frankel – the best of Galileo’s numerous crops on ratings (PA)

The unbeaten superstar needs little introduction and were we looking at ratings, he would be 10lb clear of his nearest relation. Frankel retired with a perch of 140, unbeaten in 14 starts, a 10-times Group One winner and the darling of the racing world. His earning potential was somewhat limited by the fact he did not chase global megabucks, but he surely remains a future beacon of the family line.

Cape Blanco – £2,574,670

Cape Blanco landed an Irish Derby
Cape Blanco landed an Irish Derby (John Giles/PA)

Winner of the 2010 Irish Derby, Cape Blanco stunned his better-fancied stablemate Rip Van Winkle when prevailing by five and a half lengths in the Irish Champion Stakes later that summer. Cape Blanco developed into a top US turf horse the following year, claiming three of the country’s biggest prizes in the Man O’War Stakes, Arlington Million and the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic.

Anthony Van Dyck – £2,360,481

Anthony Van Dyck was a fourth Epsom Derby winner for Galileo
Anthony Van Dyck was a fourth Epsom Derby winner for Galileo (Simon Cooper/PA)

Best of a blanket finish to the 2019 Derby, it is hard to get away from the fact Anthony Van Dyck only triumphed once more in 10 subsequent starts. That victory over superstayer Stradivarius in the Prix Foy certainly showed he could still mix it with the best and a narrow second in what was to be his final completed start in the Caulfield Cup underlined what might have been. Sadly, he suffered a fatal injury in the Melbourne Cup, perhaps leaving more questions than answers.

Minding -£2,327,295

Minding was another epic mare
Minding was another epic mare (Julian Herbert/PA)

A dual Classic winner, Minding was a mare out of the top drawer. Winner of the 1000 Guineas and Oaks in 2016, she also placed second in the Irish Guineas and won both the Pretty Polly and Nassau Stakes in her three-year-old campaign. Minding became the first filly in 29 years to win the QEII Stakes when seeing off all comers at Ascot and she finished her Classic year with an incredible seven-times Group One winner, having added to two top-level juvenile triumphs.

Australia – £2,090,503

Australia had the bluest of blood
Australia had the bluest of blood (PA)

By a Derby winner out of an Oaks victor in Ouija Board, if ever a horse was bred to be a star, it was Australia. Third in a quality, if marginally unsatisfactory renewal of the 2000 Guineas, Australia met his moment with Epsom destiny head on, finding for pressure to repel Kingston Hill and secure his Classic verdict. Australia added the Irish Derby and Juddmonte International before a hoof problem brought a premature end to his career. His stud career is already flying with St Leger winner Galileo Chrome and Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Order Of Australia among his progeny.

World champion stallion Galileo has died, aged 23

World-leading stallion Galileo has died at the age of 23, Coolmore have announced.

The sire of Frankel and so many other great champions, the Aidan O’Brien-trained son of Sadler’s Wells was a brilliant racehorse in his own right.

His finest hour came at Epsom in the 2001 Derby, before he followed up in the Irish Derby and the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Coolmore said in a statement on Saturday: “Regretfully our world-renowned Champion Sire Galileo was put to sleep earlier today on humane grounds owing to a chronic, non-responsive, debilitating injury to the left fore foot.”

Mick Kinane returns victorious on Galileo at Epsom
Mick Kinane returns victorious on Galileo at Epsom (Martyn Hayhow/PA)

John Magnier paid tribute to a horse that leaves a “lasting legacy”.

He said: “It is a very sad day, but we all feel incredibly fortunate to have had Galileo here at Coolmore.

“I would like to thank the dedicated people who looked after him so well all along the way. He was always a very special horse to us and he was the first Derby winner we had in Ballydoyle in the post M V O’Brien era.

“I would also like to thank Aidan and his team for the brilliant job they did with him. The effect he is having on the breed through his sons and daughters will be a lasting legacy, and his phenomenal success really is unprecedented.”

Out of the Arc-winning mare Urban Sea, Galileo won his first six starts and headed to Epsom off the back of victories in the Ballysax Stakes and Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial – now known as the ‘Galileo route’.

Galileo and Fantastic Light fight it out at Ascot
Galileo and Fantastic Light fight it out at Ascot (Tim Ockenden/PA)

Ridden by Mick Kinane in the premier Classic, he was sent on his way as the 11-4 joint-favourite with Golan and beat Sir Michael Stoute’s runner by three and a half lengths.

The Curragh and a four-length victory over Morshdi was next, before Ascot and the King George saw a two-length triumph from Fantastic Light.

The pair met again in the Irish Champion Stakes, when this time Fantastic Light and Frankie Dettori came out on top after an epic battle.

Galileo finished his racing career in the Breeders’ Cup when sixth to Tiznow on the dirt at Belmont Park.

He was the sire of five Derby winners – New Approach, Australia, Ruler Of The World, Anthony Van Dyck and Serpentine – and has a total of 91 individual Group One victors. Remarkably, 20 of his sons have also sired Group One winners.

He will be forever associated with Frankel, who was unbeaten throughout his career for Sir Henry Cecil.

O’Brien spoke of his pride at having trained Galileo, and then so many of his progeny.

He told the PA news agency: “He was an unbelievable horse for everybody involved with him. What he did was exceptional.

“John did an incredible job managing him and recognised the mares that were going to suit him.

“He recognised how good he was very young, and he was always so highly thought of before he even came to Ballydoyle.

“He was our first Derby winner from Ballydoyle, and we were so fortunate to have him.

“It’s an incredible story, and obviously we’ll probably never see it ever again.

“What made him very special was the attitude that he put into his stock. We’d never seen anything like that.

“He was a massive horse physically. But the tremendous determination and genuineness he put into all his stock was unique really.”

Galileo and Fantastic Light were involved in an Irish Champion Stakes epic
Galileo and Fantastic Light were involved in an Irish Champion Stakes epic (John Giles/PA)

Looking back on his racing career, O’Brien said: “It was unreal – he won his maiden, the two trials and then the Derby, Irish Derby and King George.

“He looked different as well going through his races – he didn’t look like any other thoroughbred. He had loads of genuine power.

“His stock had that as well – and the determination to put their heads out the same way he galloped.

“He’ll be sorely missed by us all.”

Galileo legacy lives long at Ballydoyle and far beyond

Just a quick glance at this year’s Cazoo Derby betting highlights the influence Galileo has had on the thoroughbred breed.

It is 20 years since the son of Sadler’s Wells, out of the brilliant racemare Urban Sea, launched Aidan O’Brien’s assault on winning the blue riband.

The Coolmore team has since triumphed at Epsom with some true greats such as High Chaparral, who went on to win at the Breeders’ Cup, and Camelot, who came agonisingly close to claiming the Triple Crown.

But none of them come near to Galileo, who in his three-year-old season won the Ballysax, Derrinstown, Irish Derby and King George, as well as at Epsom.

His unbeaten run came to an end in a tremendous tussle with Fantastic Light in the Irish Champion Stakes, before the big dice was rolled in the Breeders’ Cup Classic – where he was not disgraced in sixth on dirt behind Tiznow.

Serpentine’s unlikely victory last year was a record fifth for Galileo as a sire at Epsom (his others were New Approach, Australia, Ruler Of The World and Anthony Van Dyck) – the previous record of four had been jointly held by five others, which included Montjeu.

It is odds-on he has a hand in this year’s race – because Galileo is the sire of O’Brien’s two big guns, Bolshoi Ballet and High Definition, while the next two in the betting, Hurricane Lane and John Leeper, are sons of Frankel, himself by Galileo.

Mick Kinane returns on the brilliant Galileo after the 2001 Derby
Mick Kinane returns on the brilliant Galileo after the 2001 Derby (Martyn Hayhow/PA)

O’Brien said: “He was almost the perfect racehorse. He had speed, stamina and was just a marvellous horse.

“Because of what he’s done at stud, it can get forgotten just how good he was on the track.

“He won the English and Irish Derby and then went on to win the King George – he was special.

“He was our first Derby winner, so he’s had a big say on my career.

“His legacy will live on for a long time through his fillies and his colts.”

Aidan O’Brien (centre) walks the track at Epsom with his team of jockeys in 2019
Aidan O’Brien (centre) walks the track at Epsom with his team of jockeys in 2019 (Steve Parsons/PA)

The man on board 20 years ago was Mick Kinane, who would win the Derby again on Sea The Stars – having already guided Commander In Chief to glory, so his words carry a great weight.

“He was a very good racehorse. He was foot-perfect around Epsom,” said Kinane.

“He was probably my pick at the beginning of June, because he had such good balance, and if I had to pick a Derby favourite it would be him.

“There were no negatives with him. He wasn’t keen, he had a turn of foot, his balance – he was a very good Derby winner.

“He ran in the Ballysax and Derrinstown before going to Epsom, then the Irish Derby and the King George. He ended up at the Breeders’ Cup in the Classic, but his form was just tailing off by then.

“Obviously he had nothing to lose by then, and if he could become a champion on dirt as well as turf, that was the dream.”

As well as producing Frankel, some of Galileo’s other star progeny include Nathaniel, Waldgeist, New Approach, Highland Reel and Teofilo.

Frankel, Galileo's most famous son, could have his own Derby winner this year
Frankel, Galileo’s most famous son, could have his own Derby winner this year (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

But perhaps what will see his legacy live on even longer are the brilliant mares who are now producing their own offspring of note. Found, Magical and Minding have been among the best mares of recent times, and all will do their bit to keep his name in lights.

“He had the best start in life, being out of Urban Sea, one of the best broodmares of all time, so it shouldn’t have been such a shock just how good a stallion he became,” said Kinane.

“So you could see him being a success at stud, but you couldn’t possibly envisage just how good a stallion – a stallion of stallions – he would become.

“His legacy will live on for a very long time through the mares he has produced – they will make sure we remember him for an awful long time.”

Punting Angles Using Sires & Damsires: Part 3

Last month I started a new series of articles looking at sires and damsires, writes Dave Renham. In the first two articles I looked at sires. You can read those here and here. Sires are the fathers of horses and we have seen in those preceding pieces that they have a significant influence on their offspring. In this third part, we will look for the first time at damsires – the sires (fathers) of the dams (mothers) of the respective horses. Or, if you prefer, the grandfather on the female side – sometimes known as maternal grandsires. I have never studied damsire data before so I will be learning new things as we go along, too!

Logic dictates, I suppose, that the influence of damsires is likely to be slightly less than sires simply because they are one step further back in the pedigree chain.

The data which follows is taken from 1st January 2011 through to 31st December 2020 (ten years) and all profit/loss has been calculated to Industry Starting Price. I have used a longer time frame because certain sires who are coming to the end of their stud career will still be influential as a damsire for several more years to come. The vast majority of the data has been sourced using the Geegeez Query Tool.

Firstly let's look purely at damsire data for this 10 year period using a minimum of runs to qualify. I have ordered by strike rate – these are top 50 in terms of strike rate:


As with sire data from my first report, it is rare - and almost always coincidental - for individuals to make a blind profit. However, nine of the 50 damsires in the above table are in profit, with the most impressive figures having been delivered by Authorized: he has a decent strike rate of over 15% excellent returns of around 62p in the £, and a strong A/E value of 1.17.

In this next table, I will compare a horse's overall strike rate as a sire compared with his overall strike rate as a damsire. I have always assumed these percentages should correlate fairly well (in other words, be very similar). It should be noted that some strong performing sires such as Frankel have yet to produce any runners as a damsire. Hence most of the horses in this comparison will have more runners in the future as a damsire than they will as a sire:

The 'D/S Ratio' columns are the ratio of the strike rate as a dam sire compared to that as a sire.

The strike rates for most of the horses are similar, as expected – although in general they are even closer than I had personally predicted. This will be useful when sires such as Frankel start having runners as a damsire.

Indeed, both the mean and median D/S Ratios are 1.04: we should have a very good idea of how these horses are going to perform over time.

Record of damsires in 2yo races

Using pedigree as an analysis tool can be especially useful in 2yo races where there is little or no form to go on. Below, then, is a table of the top 25 damsires of 2yos in terms of strike rate between 2011 and 2020 in the UK (minimum runs 150):


Once again, only a handful have made a blind profit to SP, and this of course is what one would expect. However, these are the damsires with the best strike rates over time which will still help to guide when analysing individual 2yo races.

For the remainder of the article I would like to drill down into the records of some individual horses in terms of their damsire data.


Authorized as a Damsire

Authorized was mentioned earlier as showing excellent profits on all his runners. Digging a little deeper, it is firstly worth noting that Authorized, when he raced, was a Derby winner in 2007 and was voted the European Champion 3yo Colt in the same year. Hence it should come as no surprise that he has become a successful sire and damsire. There are a few interesting damsire stats to share, starting with a comparison of turf performance compared with the all weather as the graph below indicates:


A difference of around eight percentage points, or nearly 90%. This is also reflected when we look at the respective A/E values, 1.32 vs 0.98:


Further, there is an apparently strong bias to male runners compared with female runners, colts and geldings winning 18.5% of races compared with just 8.7% for females.

Finally, there also appears to be a slight distance bias with runners who have Authorized as their damsire. The longer the distance the better, which is perhaps what should be expected of a Derby winner: once we get to 1m3f or more the win percentage increases fairly significantly (see graph below) to 20% from 14% for shorter trips.

Authorized is undoubtedly a damsire we need to keep an eye on in 2021.


Shamardal as a Damsire

Shamardal was a top notch performer before getting injured in 2005 after which he was retired. At that point he had raced seven times, winning six, of which four were Group 1 events. As a three-year-old he won at a mile and ten furlongs. As a juvenile, he had been voted the Champion European two-year-old.

His stud career has also been a decent one. As a sire, 62% of all his runners won at least one race in their careers – this percentage is very strong when compared with Frankel’s equivalent figure, which stands only marginally better at 64%.

As a damsire, Shamardal's record has been similar to his record as a sire. Although he died in 2020, as a damsire he will continue to have runners for many years to come. Indeed, in 2020, there were over 650 runs from horses of which he was the damsire.

After delving deeper into Shamardal’s record as a damsire, it is clear that he has been extremely consistent. One area where there may be a slight bias is when we look at the results by age of horse. He topped the 2yo figures earlier, and the graph below breaks this age data down:


As can be seen, juveniles of which he has sired the mother have comfortably the best record in terms of strike rate and below is a little more detail on this record, starting with 2yo data down by year:


Overall, Sharmadal’s damsire record in relation to two-year-olds has been highly consistent. He also boasts excellent A/E values in this context with seven of the eight years seeing a value of 1.00 or more. As a note of caution, 2019 was a poor year showing a fairly steep level stakes loss, for all that the strike rate remained around the average. Now let us split the 2yo data up to see if any patterns emerge in terms of distance:

His grandchildren have recorded slightly better strikes rate over 5f (21.5%) compared to six (19.3%) and seven (18.8%) but all three are very good; A/E values of 1.16, 1.17 and 1.08 back these up. His grand-progeny have been notably less effective at a mile or more (13.7%) – this seems to stretch the stamina of the 2yos in question.

Moving away from 2yo data and looking at his damsire data as a whole, the runners have a great record from the front. This may not come as a surprise as, when Shamardal was racing, he was a habitual front runner – of his seven career starts he made the running in ALL of them. As a damsire his runners have led in 365 races winning 98 of them – this equates to a strike rate of nearly 27% (roughly 9% above the norm). Indeed, in sprint races of 5 to 6f, the front running strike rate increases to nearly 33%.


Galileo as a Damsire

As a racehorse, Galileo won the Derby, the Irish Derby and the King George and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes in the same year (2001) and, overall, won six of his eight career starts. He has a similar record as a sire and a damsire, though slightly more influential in win strike rate terms as the first generation producer.

The first chart below shows performance of his grand-progeny by distance. As can be seen, the record improves as the distance increases:

His damsire record over five and six furlongs is poor with older aged runners – horses aged six or more - having won just three races from 69 over these sprint trips, equating to a loss of nearly 48p in every £1 bet. In fact age does seem a factor across the board. As a damsire his runners perform well at two and three; their strike rate dips at four and five, while aged six or older their performance really starts to drop off:


My last Galileo as damsire note relates to horses coming back from a long break, which have an excellent record. Horses returning off a break of six months or more have produced 68 winners from 369 runners (SR 18.48%) for a healthy profit to SP of £211.93 (ROI +57.59%).


Intikhab as a Damsire

The final sire I want to look at is Intikhab. On the track back in the late 1990s, Intikhab won eight of his 13 starts including the then Group 2 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in 1998. As a sire he has been extremely successful, with Snow Fairy the ‘star’ turn: she netted just £4million in prize money from her global exploits.

As a damsire also, Intikhab has some trends worth sharing. First, let's review his annual strike rates. It is important to appreciate that yearly stats can fluctuate:

Five of the ten years have seen strike rates around the 16% mark, whereas 2018 and 2019 were more modest at 10.1% and 11.3% respectively. Overall, though, it is a fairly consistent picture.

In terms of male runners versus female runners, the males have outperformed the females:

The A/E values correlate too as the graph below shows:


Focusing on when his grand-offspring were near the head of the market, we can see they were worth following: horses that started in the top three in the betting over the past 10 seasons produced 138 winners from 498 runners (SR 27.71%) for a profit at SP of £95.43 (ROI +19.16%). This is an excellent profit considering they could have boosted further by early prices, BOG or by using the exchanges. Whether this is a robust angle, I'm not so sure, however.

Finally, Intikhab’s runners have performed slightly better on the all weather compared to the turf – on the sand his damsire strike rate has been 16.93% while on the turf it has been notably lower at 12.53%.


I have enjoyed this inaugural dig into damsire data and, hopefully, you've noted a few wagering nuggets to take forward. Plenty more research can be undertaken in this area - readers may use Query Tool's 'Damsire' parameter to perform your own analyses - and I look forward to sharing my further findings in the future.

- Dave