We salute one of the all-time greats – Galileo

Galileo, the 2001 Derby winner and subsequent super stallion for the Coolmore Stud, has sadly died, aged 23

The Aidan O’Brien-trained colt won his first six starts, following up an emphatic Epsom success with victory in the Irish Derby and the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, before a narrow, epic defeat in the Irish Champion Stakes to Frankie Dettori and Fantastic Light – and ended his career in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, earning over £1.6m in prize money.

(He’s pictured above, with regular pilot Mick Kinane, sluicing up by 3 1/2 lengths in the Derby)

But it’s through his exploits in the breeding shed that his name will forever be remembered. He was a son of another great sire in Sadler’s Wells, and was a natural heir to his throne when it came to siring champions of the turf.

Stars such as Found, Magical, Waldgeist, Australia and Highland Reel were all sired by Galileo as he went on to father no less than five Derby winners himself, Serpentine being the last, in 2020.

His most famous son though is Frankel, who was unbeaten in all fourteen of his racecourse starts and who himself sired a first Derby winner this year courtesy of Adayar’s success at Epsom.

Just like his sire, and his grandsire Northern Dancer, his legacy will live on through the champions he has produced.

What an absolute, 24 carat superstar. Pure racing gold.

Matt Hulmes

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