The magnificent four-timer by the much-lamented Scat Daddy ensured that the Royal Ascot meeting wasn’t all about Galileo, but the eight-time champion sire still enjoyed a terrific time–in more ways than one. Galileo was directly responsible for a one-two-three in the G1 Prince of Wales’s S., with the teak-tough Highland Reel once again displaying his appetite for a battle. There was also G1 Coronation S. success for Winter, another of Galileo’s serial Group 1 winners, and then Highland Reel’s Classic-placed brother and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Idaho returned to his best in winning the G2 Hardwicke S. Altogether Galileo notched up three wins, four seconds (including Order of St George in the G1 Gold Cup) and four thirds, the end result being that he now holds a lead of nearly £3 million on the Anglo-Irish sires’ table.
Galileo’s stallion sons and broodmare daughters also got into the act. Teofilo’s son Permian bounced back from his Derby disappointment to take the G2 King Edward VII S., and Frankel’s daughter Mori went very close to winning the fillies’ equivalent, the G2 Ribblesdale S. Frankel also did well with Atty Persse, Mirage Dancer and Count Octave.
Daughters of Galileo arguably did even better, as one of them–Alina–enjoyed Group 1 success when her son Barney Roy took the G1 St James’s Palace S. ‘TDN Rising Star’ Roly Poly, a War Front filly out of Galileo’s Classic-winning daughter Misty For Me, provided another Galileo one-two-three (of sorts) when she separated Galileo’s daughters Winter and Hydrangea in the Coronation S. There was also a solid third-place effort in the G2 Queen’s Vase for Secret Advisor, a colt out of Galileo’s daughter Sub Rose.
Sub Rose had looked a high-class filly in the making when she easily won the G3 Prix de Royaumont on only her second start, but injury prevented her racing again. With Roly Poly also being out of a very talented Galileo filly, one could be excused for thinking that it is these distinguished racemares which are going to be the foundation of Galileo’s reputation as a potential champion sire of broodmares.
The evidence so far, though, suggests that all of Galileo’s broodmare daughters have to be treated with considerable respect, even if they failed the racecourse test. Barney Roy is the 10th Northern Hemisphere Group 1 winner with a dam by Galileo and the surprising statistic is that only one of them (Zhukova) has a group-winning dam. As many as five of them are out of Galileo mares which either failed to win or failed to race.
Between them these five mares have produced performers of the quality of Galileo Gold (G1 2000 Guineas and G1 St James’s Palace S.), La Cressonniere (G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches and G1 Prix de Diane), La Collina (G1 Phoenix S. and G1 Matron S.), Intricately (G1 Moyglare Stud S.) and now Barney Roy.
Part of the explanation is that Galileo’s fee has never been lower than €37,500. Consequently, he has always enjoyed the advantage of covering mares which mainly come from successful female lines. The strength of these female lines is clearly standing his daughters in good stead as broodmares.
Galileo’s daughters’ first seven runners by Excelebration include Barney Roy and the group-placed Pellucid, who has won well at Santa Anita since leaving England, This suggests that plenty of other Galileo mares are destined to visit Excelebration, whose grandsire Danehill has played such a large part in Galileo’s success story.
The Coolmore team must also be delighted that Caravaggio, with his blemish-free record of six wins from as many starts, has emerged as another potential mate for the operation’s burgeoning number of Galileo mares. The son of Scat Daddy possesses the type of speed and precocity which Coolmore is constantly looking for in the mares which visit Galileo.
Although Scat Daddy spent his nine-race career racing exclusively on dirt, this winner of the GI Florida Derby was a son of the very versatile Johannesburg, who followed up Group 1 victories on turf in Ireland, France and England with victory on dirt in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Scat Daddy’s record as a sire at Royal Ascot highlights his prowess as a turf sire. In addition to this year’s four-timer, headed by the Group 1 sprint victories of last year’s G2 Queen Mary winner and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Lady Aurelia and last year’s G2 Coventry S. winner Caravaggio, he has also sired the Queen Mary winner Acapulco and the G2 Norfolk S. (and Prix Morny) winner No Nay Never. Scat Daddy also sired the G2 Royal Lodge S. winner Daddy Long Legs and one can only wonder what he might have achieved had he lived long enough to stand the 2016 season, for which his fee was set at $100,000–up from $35,000 in 2015. As it is, we can look forward to just one more crop but that crop numbers around 170, so there should be some big prices for the Scat Daddy yearlings at this year’s sales.
Scat Daddy was inbred 5 x 4 to Northern Dancer, via Storm Bird and Nijinsky II, but this ubiquitous stallion appears only once in Caravaggio’s five-generation pedigree, as the G1 Commonwealth Cup winner’s dam, Mekko Hokte, is a total outcross.
An interesting aspect of Mekko Hokte’s pedigree is that it contains a high proportion of greys. Both her parents, the recently deceased Holy Bull and Aerosilver were grey, as were two of the grandparents, four of the great-grandparents and six of the great-great-grandparents. Mekko Hokte is inbred 4 x 4 to The Axe, a grey son of the grey Derby winner Mahmoud, but she is also inbred 4 x 4 to Intentionally, a black horse whose male line gave European racing the likes of Known Fact and Warning.
Caravaggio represents a male line which has repeatedly proven its prowess as the age of two. Scat Daddy finished fourth in the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, having earlier won three of his four starts including the GI Champagne S. Johannesburg won the 2001 Juvenile, to become a Group/Grade 1/I winner in four different countries. Next in line is Hennessy, who was beaten a neck by Unbridled’s Song in the 1995 Juvenile, having previously won the GI Hopeful S. Hennessy in turn was by Storm Cat, a close second in the Juvenile of 1985, when he was also a Grade I winner.
This suggests that Caravaggio has the potential to stay a mile and it will be interesting to see whether he is eventually allowed to show whether he has more than one string to his bow. I was thinking that a win in the GI Breeders’ Cup Mile would add greatly to his appeal as a stallion, but it looks as though the prize-money of The Everest may see him heading for Australia rather than the U.S.
If there is any doubt about Caravaggio’s ability to stay a mile, it stems from Mekko Hokte, who–in common with most American fillies–raced mainly over sprint distances. She won the Delta Miss S. over 6.5 furlongs as a 2-year-old but was also third in a stakes race over a mile at three. The other concern is that Mekko Hokte’s previous stakes winner, the GII Gallant Bloom H. winner My Jen, was a sprinter, even though she was by the GI Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus.
Caravaggio’s sire Scat Daddy has the fine record of having three black-type winners among his seven foals out of Holy Bull mares. One of the others, the American 3-year-old Conquest Farenheit, is a stakes winner over 6 1/2 and eight furlongs on turf this year, after being sold for $735,000 last November.
Holy Bull earned the title of Horse of the Year at three, when his Grade I victories included three over nine furlongs and one over a mile and a quarter. His big winners included one in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Macho Uno) and one in the Kentucky Derby (Giacomo). Caravaggio’s next two dams, the dirt and turf winner Aerosilver and the Grade II-placed Silver In Flight, were daughters of Relaunch and Silver Series. Relaunch was once a close second in the GI San Luis Rey S. a mile-and-a-half race run in world-record time, and Silver Series won the GI Widener H. over a mile and a quarter.
If Caravaggio proves to be a sprinter pure and simple, the blame could perhaps be attributed to Holy Bull’s sire Great Above, as he also appears in the pedigree of the brilliantly speedy Lady Aurelia, as the sire of her third dam. Great Above, who once set a track record for six furlongs in the GIII Toboggan H., was a son of the flying filly Ta Wee, who twice took the title of champion sprinter in the U.S.–a feat matched by her half-brother Dr Fager.