This is not just another story about Galileo. After all, what more can be said to extol the virtues of the great son of Sadler's Wells. Galileo is the most dominant stallion in Europe, the most potent influence for classic performance currently breeding, and the most important breeding animal in the entirety of the Thoroughbred.
On May 26 at the Curragh, the 4-year-old Galileo filly Magical won the Gold Cup from the Galileo colt Flag of Honour, and the 3-year-old Galileo filly Hermosa won the Irish 1,000 Guineas. Earlier this month, Hermosa had won the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket.
A mile is about the shortest distance that anyone will see the progeny of Galileo winning at the top level. There are faster horses around, and it is notable that each of the three mentioned above is out of a mare by top-class sprinter or miler. Flag of Honour is one of four stakes winners out of Hawala, a daughter of the top-class miler Warning (by Known Fact, winner of the 1980 2,000 Guineas on the disqualification of Nureyev).
The two fillies are out of mares by Pivotal, a top-class sprinter and a grandson of the disqualified “winner” of the 1980 2,000 Guineas, Nureyev. Of course, these are not just any mares by Pivotal. These are mighty fine mares to begin with, and they also are by Pivotal.
Magical's dam is the 2008 Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Halfway to Heaven. Halfway to Heaven won half her eight starts, most notably a trio of G1s that included the classic at the Curragh, plus the Sun Chariot and the Nassau Stakes.
At stud, and mated to Galileo, Halfway to Heaven has been even better. All five of her foals to race are winners, all by Galileo, and three are group stakes winners: G3 winner Flying the Flag, Hydrangea (3-time winner at the G1 level in the Lockinge, Prix de l'Opera, and Fillies Mile, plus second in the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks), and Magical (2-time winner at the G1 level in the Gold Cup and British Champions Fillies, plus second in the Breeders' Cup Turf). Magical is unbeaten in three starts in 2019.
Likewise unbeaten in 2019, Hermosa has made the most of her racing this season with a pair of classic victories. She is out of G2 winner Beauty is Truth, whose four stakes winners all scored at group level. Hermosa is vying to rank as the best of these with her full sister Hydrangea, a two-time winner at the G1 level, just like her younger sibling.
The pair of premium winners out of his daughters was not the only good news for Pivotal, a 26-year-old chestnut who stands for a private fee at Cheveley Park Stud in Newmarket. His 3-year-old daughter Siyarafina became her sire's 30th G1 winner with a victory in the Prix Saint Alary at Longchamp on May 26.
Siyarafina is the first stakes winner out of her dam, the listed stakes winner Siyenica (Azamour), who is one of four stakes winners out of the listed stakes winner Sichilla. By the top international sire Danehill, Sichilla is a half-sister to the top-class Slickly (Linamix), who won the Grand Prix de Paris and Prix du Moulin de Longchamp.
Sichilla and her dam Slipstream Queen (Conquistador Cielo) were acquired by the Aga Khan as part of his purchase of Thoroughbred stock from the estate of Jean-Luc Lagardere. For the Aga Khan, Sichilla showed enough form to win at the listed level, and she has produced four stakes winners since her retirement, including the dam of Siyarafina, who races for the Aga Khan.
The other stakes winners from Sichilla are all group performers. Siyouma (Medicean) won the G1 Sun Chariot and E.P. Taylor Stakes; Sayana (Galileo) is a listed stakes winner and G3 placed; and Siyouni (Pivotal) won the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere Grand Criterium at 2 and was second and third at that level the following season.
Siyouni's greatest feat, however, is in becoming a top stallion. The leading freshman sire in France in 2014 and second-leading second-crop sire of 2015, Siyouni has 16 group stakes winners and 14 listed stakes winners to date. The stallion stands for 100,000 euros, payable Oct. 1, at Haras de Bonneval.
Siyouni's most recent group success came with the 3-year-old Etoile, winner of the G3 Prix Cleopatre on May 20, and the stallion's classic-winning daughter from 2018, Laurens, was recently second in the G1 Lockinge Stakes in England against colts.
Furthermore, Pivotal is still an active stallion at Cheveley Park, and with Siyouni, he has accomplished the most difficult feat for a sire: getting a son to carry on at the highest levels of the sport.
Frank Mitchell is author of Racehorse Breeding Theories, as well as the book Great Breeders and Their Methods: The Hancocks. In addition to writing the column “Sires and Dams” in Daily Racing Form for nearly 15 years, he has contributed articles to Thoroughbred Daily News, Thoroughbred Times, Thoroughbred Record, International Thoroughbred, and other major publications. In addition, Frank is chief of biomechanics for DataTrack International and is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in Central Kentucky. Check out Frank's lively Bloodstock in the Bluegrass blog.
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