Thursday, December 24, 2015

New Stallion Series: Gleneagles

One of the most exciting new sires of 2016 is Ireland’s Gleneagles (Galileo), whose bloodlines and race record make an attractive package for breeders.

Standing for €60,000 ($65,640U.S.) in his first season, Gleneagles is one of three new stallions at Coolmore Stud’s Irish base and brings a serious race record with him to the farm. The colt finished fourth of 10 in his debut at Leopardstown on June 6, 2014 but from there lit up the European turf.

He broke his maiden against 10 others at the Curragh at the end of June before spending the summer adding the Group 2 Futurity Stakes and Group 3 Tyros Stakes to his resume. The season culminated for the colt in the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh by 1 ½ lengths, his fourth consecutive victory. Unfortunately for the colt’s record, he drifted a little in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luck Lagardere at Longchamp on Arc day and French racing rules required that he be disqualified to third behind Full Mast (Mizzen Mast).

However, even with his blip in France, Gleneagles was named Cartier champion 2-year-old male to give Coolmore their first European 2-year-old male champion since St. Nicholas Abbey in 2009.

This year was full of ups and downs for the 3-year-old colt, not least of which was a pause in his season due to softer ground than he liked this summer.

Facing 17 in his first start of the season, the Quipco 2,000 Guineas, Gleneagles confirmed his status as a top class 3-year-old when winning the British classic by 2 ¼ lengths. Facing a track he didn’t like in Ireland three weeks later when the Curragh was listed as good to yielding, Gleneagles had to put in much more effort to win the Irish 2,000 Guineas. That challenge perhaps played a big part in his trainer’s unwillingness to run him on ground that wasn’t firm in the coming months.

Before the Breeders' Cup
But before being shelved during the major summer months, Royal Ascot called Gleneagles' name. Running in the St. James Palace Stakes, four others tried to take him on but it was a futile attempt. Gleneagles took over the lead in the final furlong of the mile contest and romped for jockey Ryan Moore by 2 ½ lengths.

While Gleneagles was entered in races during the summer he was always scratched, even when already at the racetrack. The unsuitability of the ground for the colt for months on end finally led his connections to try him on good to soft ground in October’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on British Champions weekend. 

A combination of facing older horses for the first time and the ground may have set up the perfect storm for the underraced colt on that day. Gleneagles didn’t have his normal closing kick on the ground and ran only good enough to finish sixth of ninth, the first time he failed to cross the wire first since his maiden victory over a year earlier.

Gleneagles made one final run before retiring, shipping to the United States for the Breeders’ Cup Classic. But although the colt’s female family suggested he may be able to run on dirt, he didn’t seem to handle it and finished last, 25 lengths behind fellow Coolmore stallion American Pharoah.
After the Breeders' Cup Classic
Though he hasn’t won since June, Gleneagles race record should still catch the eye of breeders. Running 11 times, Gleneagles won seven of his races including four Group 1 events. He retired with £934,200 ($1,387,006U.S.) in earnings but that isn’t the only thing the colt has going for him.

Gleneagles is by the world’s leading sire Galileo, who also stands at Coolmore in Ireland. From 11 crops of racing age, Galileo has sired over 200 stakes winners and nine champions while being named a leading sire in Ireland and England 10 times.

In addition to Gleneagles, Galileo is the sire of over 10 classic winners including the great Frankel. Other notable racehorses by Galileo include five-time Grade/Group 1 winner and U.S. champion Cape Blanco, promising sire and classic winner New Approach, four-time Group 1 winner Misty for Me, Frankel’s full brother Noble Mission, Breeders’ Cup winners Found and Red Rocks, recent Hong Kong Vase winner Highland Reel and this year’s champion 2-year-old filly Minding among others.
Highland Reel
Galileo is also promising to be a strong sire-of-sires, carrying on the tradition of his sire (Sadler’s Wells) and grandsire (Northern Dancer) with New Approach siring 2,000 Guineas winner Dawn Approach and Teofilo siring Irish Derby winner Trading Leather.

But while having a sire like Galileo on his side is anything but a weakness, his female family is possibly his strongest asset.

Gleneagles is out of multiple group stakes winner You’resothrilling (Storm Cat). Producing a Galileo filly named Marvellous as her first foal, You’resothrilling had a classic winner right off the bat when Marvellous won the Irish 1,000 Guineas only two weeks before her brother’s debut. Gleneagles was You’resothrilling’s second foal and her third, another Galileo filly named Coolmore is a Group 3 winning 2-year-old. You’resothrilling has a yearling and weanling by Galileo as well.

But You’resothrilling isn’t even the best producer in her family.

Her dam is the Rahy mare Mariah’s Storm. A multiple graded stakes winner, Mariah’s Storm is responsible for European Horse of the Year and talented sire Giant’s Causeway (Storm Cat), who finished second in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Giant’s Causeway and You’resothrilling are Mariah’s Storm’s only group stakes winners but she also has five other stakes placed racehorses, including top New York sire Freud (Storm Cat).
Giant's Causeway
Mariah’s Storm’s daughters have proven to be producers in their own rights with her daughter Pearling (Storm Cat) producing Decorated Knight (Galileo), a Group 2 placed horse. Another daughter produced Storm the Stars (Sea The Stars), who placed in two European classics this year and is a Group 2 winner.

Mariah’s Storm’s daughter Hanky Panky (Galileo) recently sold for 2.7 million guineas ($4,268,376US) at Tattersalls December Mares Sale with her weanling daughter by Declaration of War bringing $800,000 at Keeneland’s November sale.

Gleneagle’s third dam is Immense (Roberto), a Grade 3 winner who produced three stakes winners. Other than Mariah’s Storm, Immense’s daughters are the dams or granddams of four stakes winners and four other stakes horses. Immense is a half-sister to the champion 2-year-old filly Dearly Precious (Dr. Fager), who produced two other stakes winners as well.

Standing for €60,000, Gleneagles is the second most expensive new stallion behind Golden Horn entering the European stallion ranks in 2016. But with a championship, two classic wins and a strong family behind him, there’s no doubt the colt will be booked full for his first season when it starts in early February.

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