Picture: GETTY IMAGES/IAN FORSYTH
Picture: GETTY IMAGES/IAN FORSYTH

At the famous Coolmore Stud in Ireland there has been a death in the family. Galileo, rated by many pundits as the best thoroughbred in the past two decades, is dead at age 23.

“Galileo is a thoroughbred we will never see the like of again,” said the horse’s trainer, Aidan O’Brien. In what must have been a heart-wrenching decision for Coolmore supremo John Magnier and his partners, it was determined that Galileo should be put down on humane grounds due to “a chronic, nonresponsive foot injury”.

Magnier, who has a handful of horses in training in SA, said: “It is a very sad day, but we all feel incredibly fortunate to have had him here at Coolmore.

“He was always a special horse to us and the first Derby winner we had at Ballydoyle in the post Vincent O’Brien era. 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,” he added.

Galileo had a list of superstars, headed by Frankel, who retired the winner of all 14 races he contested. He was also responsible for five Derby winners — New Approach, Australia, Ruler Of The World, Anthony Van Dyck and Serpentine.

His grade 1 total stands at 91 and — though his covering fee was never advertised — it is believed to have been £500,000 since 2008.

Jockey Mick Kinane, who partnered Galileo to five of his six wins, said: “It’s the passing of a great, even my daughter got emotional when she heard he was dead. That shows how much he meant to her. He was a big part of my life in every way, and it’s sad he didn’t get to live it out a bit longer.”

Frankie Dettori was the only jockey to inflict defeat on Galileo when he partnered Fantastic Light to victory in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

“First of all, he was an amazing racehorse and he became a revelation as a stallion; he’s the sire of sires," said Dettori.

“We thought Sadler’s Wells was great, but this horse has left some legacy. I’m very sad for the Coolmore team, but he’s done so much for racing in the last 20 years and we must celebrate him now,” Dettori added.

Meanwhile, Cape Thoroughbred Sales will host a “Fillies For Stud” online sale on Friday when 13 well-bred fillies and mares come under the hammer. The sale will be held via the Meerkat platform from 5pm.

One of the lots is Wisteria Walk, who has enjoyed a successful career in the care of Vaal trainer Lucky Houdalakis. She was in action at Turffontein last Saturday, finishing second behind Paul Peter’s runner Astrix.

Wisteria Walk has run well in two grade 1 races — in 2019 she finished third behind Ronnie’s Candy in the Ipi Tombe Stakes and in April 2021 filled fourth place behind Summer Pudding in the Empress Club Stakes.

Another high-profile entry is the Brave Tin Soldier mare Running Brave. This R30,000 buy from Summerhill Stud has a career record of eight wins from 36 starts and stake earnings of R1.96m.

Also being sold on Friday is the Cape-trained mare Hello Winter Hello and grade 1 placed Trickster.

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