With the announcement last week that all Irish horse racing is behind closed doors for the foreseeable future, followed by confirmation that all racing in Britain is cancelled until at least the end of April, horse racing fans may be missing their visit to the track, or their daily fix of numerous meetings live on Racing TV and Sky Sports Racing. In order to fill this ‘spare’ time many fans may now have, and in preparation for the forthcoming flat season, a suggestion would be to read the excellent book ‘The Greatness of Galileo’ by Paul Rhodes, which shows the influence of the mighty Galileo on thoroughbred racing.
Whether you are a big horse racing fan or not, anyone with even just a cursory knowledge of flat racing has heard of Galileo. Say his name to those involved in the ‘Sport of Kings’ and its mention is greeted with reverence and honour. This is because Galileo is no ordinary racehorse, he is the ultimate sire of thoroughbreds, the most famous and sought-after stallion on planet earth. His story comes to life in an excellent publication ‘The Greatness of Galileo’, by Paul Rhodes (with Anne Alston), founder and tireless administrator of the Aidan O’Brien Fan Site.
Rhodes, from Rosegreen near Cashel in Co. Tipperary, lives in Ballydoyle and Coolmore country. The author has a passion for all things Aidan O’Brien, Ballydoyle and Coolmore-related and remembers with clarity the beginnings of the O’Brien era of success with winners such as Giant’s Causeway and Rock of Gibraltar. Despite having followed the career of Galileo the racehorse closely, Rhodes freely admits to almost being obsessed with Galileo the stallion, following the sire’s phenomenal success over the last number of years.
Rhodes’ first effort at telling the incredible story of Galileo, ‘The Greatness Of Galileo’, was released in the first quarter of 2018 on the Amazon store, receiving 5 star feedback. This 2019 version, however, has been completely updated, with some new content added to the book.
The detailed publication shows the love, respect and absolute obsession of the author with this special thoroughbred, detailing from the moment Galileo was born, covering his successful racing career on the track, as well as highlighting his amazing stud career which has seen him overtake his own sire Sadler’s Wells as flat racing’s ultimate stallion, and detailing his own progeny which includes Frankel.
This beautiful publication is divided into the six parts, with the first detailing Galileo’s birth and early life. A highly comprehensive account of the horses track career covers his racing life from the Irish Business Maiden Stakes for 2 Year Olds, through his dual Derby successes as a three-year-old, and concludes with his participation in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in the USA.
The sire’s stud career covers a total of 13 well-researched and details chapters. Each one shows Galileo’s progression and increased success as a stallion, providing information about his progeny at the sales, as well as enlightening readers about his own sons who are now successful and acclaimed stallions in their own right. The latter chapters of this section of the book are fascinating by their showing the amount of prize money won by his sons and daughters, as well as informing the reader about his progeny’s awards.
Towards the end of the book, Rhodes the researcher and statistician comes clearly into view with profile pages of Galileo’s 75 Group 1 winners, yes 75 Group 1 winners. The author ends by looking into his crystal ball, and mentions some potential Group 1 winners for the star stallion this year.
Flat racing is the source from which all future champions are bred. Horses by Galileo continue to dominate the sport in an exceptional way. ‘The Greatness Of Galileo’ explains just why.
‘The Greatness Of Galileo’ is available in digital format on the Amazon Kindle store while Amazon has paperback copies for purchase.