Farewell, Galileo: one of racing’s greatest ever sires put down aged 23

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  • Galileo, one of the most influential thoroughbred sires of all time, has been put down aged 23.

    A statement from Coolmore said the world-renowned champion sire’s life ended today (Saturday, 10 July) on humane grounds owing to a “chronic, non-responsive, debilitating injury to the left fore foot”.

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

    “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 MV [Michael Vincent] 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.”

    Galileo, by Sadler’s Wells out of 1993 Arc winner Urban Sea, was unbeaten in his first six starts, under the guidance of trainer Aidan O’Brien. His top racing achievements included the 2001 Derby, Irish Derby and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. He was named European Champion three-year-old colt in 2001.

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    But it is his legacy as a sire for which Galileo is best known. He broke Danehill’s world record in June 2020, when he sired his 85th Group One winner, Peaceful, who won the Irish 1,000 Guineas. Fittingly, this was the same race won by one of his first crop of foals, Nightime.

    That tally now stands at 91, while 20 of his sons – including Frankel and Australia – have also sired Group One victors.

    “Following Galileo’s strikingly impressive Epsom Derby success the front-page headline in the Racing Post was the single word ‘PERFECTION.’ It could not have been more apt,” added the Coolmore statement.

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