Which sires are worthy of Minding and co?
Minding: by Galileo is out of a Danehill Dancer mare
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) Which sires are worthy of Minding and co?
By Martin Stevens 7:32PM 17 OCT 2016
IT IS very much a first-world problem but a problem nonetheless: when you own the best sire in the world and numerous high-achieving and regally bred mares by him, who do you then send those daughters to when they eventually retire to paddocks?
Coolmore have faced that enviable dilemma for some years now when deciding mating plans for mares by Galileo, along with those by Galileo's breed-shaping sire Sadler's Wells and paternal half-brothers such as High Chaparral and Montjeu.
The issue will be magnified when Coolmore choose which sires to entrust some of the brightest stars of this Flat season to at the end of their careers – Saturday's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes heroine Minding and Champion Stakes runner-up Found, and multiple Group 1 winners Alice Springs and Seventh Heaven, all daughters of Galileo with Alice Springs and Minding having the added complication of being out of mares by Danehill Dancer, another influential sire whose blood swills around the operation's stock.
After Galileo, the two next most expensive members of Coolmore's stallion ranks in Ireland are his sons Gleneagles and Australia, who will no doubt have some mares worthy of visiting their great sire diverted to them in order to cultivate them into credible heirs. But clearly they cannot cover their paternal half-sisters.
Sending Galileo mares to a son of Montjeu, such as Coolmore's well supported triple Classic winner Camelot, whose first crop are yearlings, involves 3×3 inbreeding to Sadler's Wells, which some breeders have not shied away from. For what it's worth, Dewhurst winner Parish Hall also boasts Galileo and Montjeu as grandparents.
Last year's standout first-season sire Zoffany had a steep fee increase at Coolmore to €45,000 and is clearly seen by breeders including Coolmore as a worthy outlet for well-bred daughters of Galileo judging by his coverings this year.
Zoffany covered no fewer than 31 Galileo mares among a book of 208. By way of comparison, he covered just nine daughters of Galileo last year and six in 2014.
Zoffany was on the mark with his first Group 1 winner yesterday when Ventura Storm landed the Premio Jockey Club and he has supplied German 2,000 Guineas winner Knife Edge and Classic-placed Architecture, so he should have justified another larger book containing plenty of well-bred mares again next year.
Zoffany is a paternal grandson of Danehill and if, hypothetically, Coolmore did deem him a suitable match for Danehill's great-granddaughters Alice Springs and Minding, the duplication of the late, great shuttle stallion would be far enough removed to not constitute close inbreeding by thoroughbred standards.
Zoffany's sire, Juddmonte stalwart Dansili, has also been a recipient of top-grade Galileo mares in recent years, as has his Banstead Manor Stud colleague Oasis Dream.
Among Europe's other premier sires, Frankel (a son of Galileo) and Sea The Stars (a half-brother) are ruled out for matings with Galileo mares.
As I have remarked before, it seems a shame from a pedigree buff's point of view that Dubawi does not receive any of Coolmore's Galileo mares because he belongs to the rival camp of Darley. Especially as the cross has been advertised to such good effect by Night Of Thunder and Dartmouth.
So Coolmore have looked outside of Europe for stallions considered to be an adequate match for their many Galileo and Sadler's Wells mares.
Australian champion sire Fastnet Rock was seconded to Tipperary in 2010 and was granted some of the cream of the Coolmore broodmare fold and some A-listers from private breeders too. Tellingly, he was the first port of call for Coolmore's first Group 1-winning daughter of Galileo of their own, Misty For Me, when she was retired to stud.
Fastnet Rock did not make as immediate an impact with his early European-conceived runners as some thought he would, and he was rested from shuttling duties for a season, but he came to the boil with three Group 1 winners up here last year – Diamondsandrubies, Fascinating Rock and Qualify – and he made the return trip from Australia for 2016.
The son of Danehill has clicked particularly well with Galileo mares, the nick being responsible for three top-level winners in Intricately, Magicool and Qualify, as well as Group winners Rivet, Turret Rocks and Zhukova.
Fastnet Rock covered 14 daughters of Galileo in Ireland this year, but it is another sire in Kentucky, not in Coolmore ownership, who appears to have taken up the baton as The Lads' preferred outcross.
War Front's one-two in last month's Cheveley Park Stakes went some way to justifying their faith, with Brave Anna, a daughter of Sadler's Wells' Group 3 winner Liscanna and a sister to Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner Hit It A Bomb, beating Roly Poly, a daughter of Misty For Me. There has also been Listed-placed Leo Minor, out of Kissed, a Listed-winning Galileo three-parts sister to Pour Moi.
The cross was also embraced by Qatar Bloodstock and Newsells Park Stud, who sent Galileo's Classic-placed daughter Secret Gesture to War Front this year and sell her at Keeneland next month. It has become the ultimate high-end commercial mating, with Galileo mares Betterbetterbetter, Aloof, Up, Terrific and Precious Stone sold at auction in foal to War Front for $5.2 million, $3.9m, $2.2m, $1.9m and $1.8m.
Coolmore have also branched out to Japan. Galileo's champion two-year-old filly Maybe has a two-year-old filly and yearling colt by Deep Impact, while four-time Group 1 heroine Peeping Fawn (by Danehill out of a Sadler's Wells mare) has a two-year-old colt and yearling filly by the outstanding Japanese sire.
They could also be tempted to send top-class daughters of Galileo to two exciting young sires at their Ashford Stud in Kentucky. There is Triple Crown hero American Pharoah and Uncle Mo, who has dazzled by supplying Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist and fellow Grade 1 winners Gomo and Outwork in his first crop. But they could be too dirt-oriented to be considered a safe bet to click with turf queens.
First in line of potential suitors to Alice Springs, Found, Minding, Seventh Heaven and co is likely to be War Front, even if there remains a slight question mark over his head with sons Air Force Blue, Faydhan, Hit It A Bomb and War Command having failed to live up to their two-year-old promise at three.
But the fact that War Front's first son at stud, The Factor, sired this month's Grade 1 Chandelier Stakes winner Noted And Quoted from his debut crop is likely to have endeared Coolmore to him more as it should not be forgotten that, for all they will have enjoyed the success of their Galileo fillies on the track, their reason for being is to create and nurture stallion talent.
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