Pedigree Insights: U S Navy Flag

By Andrew Caulfield

With his lead now extending to nearly £8 million on the general sires’ table, Galileo has long had his ninth sires’ championship safely in the bag. However, the race for the broodmare sires’ title is proving much more competitive, with little more than £800,000 separating the top-ranked Sadler’s Wells from fourth-placed Danehill.

With the QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday and the G1 Racing Post Futurity a week later, there are still millions of pounds yet to be distributed. As Sadler’s Wells’s main earner, Enable, is finished for the season, this great sire could be overhauled by second-placed Galileo, who is in search of his first broodmare sires’ title. He has Barney Roy, Roly Poly and Saxon Warrior among his Group 1 contenders. And it isn’t out of the question that third-ranked Pivotal could overtake the leading pair, as he has the likes of Cracksman, Rhododendron and Hydrangea among his possible Group 1 representatives.

Even if Galileo fails to pull back the deficit of around £230,000, he has had a terrific season in this secondary role and it can only be a matter of time before he adds the broodmare sires’ title to his many honours. As I explained in an article in the March issue of Thoroughbred Owner Breeder “It is essential to remember that success as a broodmare sire tends to grow exponentially, as more and more daughters become producers. This helps explain why only one of the champion broodmare sires of the last 20 years was younger than 20 at the time (the exception was Rahy, who was only 15 in 2000, when he owed the title almost entirely to Giant’s Causeway, the first foal of Rahy’s first-crop daughter Mariah’s Storm).”

“Sadler’s Wells was 24 by the time he took the first of his (seven consecutive) titles, having gained his best previous finish–second place in 2001–at the age of 20. With this in mind, Galileo has already shown immense promise. Last year saw him finish as high as fourth at the age of 18.”

He looks sure to finish higher still this year, even though he had had fewer representatives (230) than his main rivals Sadler’s Wells (305) and Pivotal (258). His total of stakes winners in the UK and Ireland stands at 14, compared to Pivotal’s 12 and Sadler’s Wells’s eight. Needless to say, Galileo’s broodmare daughters have also enjoyed plenty of success elsewhere in the thoroughbred world (as have Pivotal’s) and Equineline credits Galileo’s daughters with 26 stakes winners this year, two in front of A.P. Indy at 24.

The latest stakes winner to join the club is Ghaiyyath, winner of the G3 Autumn S. three days ago. This colt, who holds a Racing Post Trophy entry, is another fine advertisement of the virtues of sending Galileo mares to Galileo’s arch rival Dubawi. Pairing these two top-class stallions has produced 22 foals of racing age. Seventeen have started, 13 have won and Ghaiyyath is the third group winner, following the G1 2000 Guineas winner Night of Thunder and the very smart Group 2 winner Dartmouth. Other representatives of this cross include Red Galileo (Racing Post rating 111), Appeared (108) and Secret Advisor (106). There are at least 13 yearlings bred this way, so expect to hear plenty more from this Dubawi–Galileo cross. It may one day come to rival the War Front–Galileo partnership responsible for U S Navy Flag and Roly Poly.

Roly Poly’s admirable brother U S Navy Flag demonstrated his speed and toughness once again when he added the G1 Darley Dewhurst S. to his G1 Juddmonte Middle Park S. victory two weeks earlier. In addition to these two, Team Galileo also features their fellow Group 1 winners Zhukova and Barney Roy.

Achieving the Middle Park-Dewhurst double on the ninth and 10th appearances of his demanding campaign reflects great credit on U S Navy Flag and his connections, especially when Roly Poly had previously enjoyed Group 1 success on the 13th, 14th and 16th starts of her busy career. Their sire War Front never raced more than seven times in a season and his 13 starts were spread over three years in training, so it is tempting to give the lion’s share of the credit for these siblings’ durability to the very sound Galileo.

U S Navy Flag and Roly Poly’s joint total of five Group 1 victories also make their dam Misty For Me a contender for any Broodmare of the Year award for which she might be eligible. Her only previous foal was Cover Song, a Fastnet Rock filly who triumphed in the GIII Autumn Miss S. over a mile at Santa Anita in 2016, shortly before she was sold for $1.6 million.

Working on the basis that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, Misty For Me also has a 2016 filly by War Front, a 2017 colt by him and she was bred to the Claiborne star again this year. Perhaps it isn’t mere coincidence that Misty For Me is a great- granddaughter of Anne Campbell, a mare once voted Kentucky Broodmare of the Year. Anne Campbell produced the GI Kentucky Derby seconds Desert Wine and Menifee.

Misty For Me, with three group winners from three foals of racing age, is shaping up as an exceptional producer–and a possible rival to the 3-years-older You’resothrilling. This sister to Giant’s Causeway has four group winners among her first five foals, headed by the Group 1 winners Marvellous, Gleneagles and Happily, and all five of her runners have won or placed at Group 1 level.

The common denominator between You’resothrilling and Misty For Me is Storm Cat, the sire of You’resothrilling and broodmare sire of Misty For Me. I have spent a considerable amount of time over the last few years pointing out the burgeoning success being enjoyed by Galileo’s progeny out of Storm Cat mares. The up-to-date figures are that Galileo has 54 foals out of daughters of Storm Cat, of which 12 have become black-type winners. A sensational total of eight have become Group 1 winners–that’s virtually 15%. Four of them–Misty For Me, Marvellous, Gleneagles and Churchill–have become Classic winners.

Misty For Me’s younger sister Ballydoyle won the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac and was runner-up to the great Minding in the G1 1000 Guineas, but still fell some way short of matching Misty For Me’s achievements. Misty For Me had also won the Prix Marcel Boussac at two, but only after she had landed the G1 Moyglare Stud S. Despite being described by Timeform as small and workmanlike, she trained on very well, winning the G1 Irish 1000 Guineas and the G1 Pretty Polly S., in which she made all on very soft ground to defeat the odds-on Midday by six lengths. She rounded off her career with a creditable third after stumbling at the start of the GI Breeders’ Cup Filly Mare Turf.

Her four Group 1 wins were gained from seven furlongs to a mile and a quarter, on ground ranging from very soft to good to firm. The only downside to her career was her failure to produce anything close to her best form when she was sent to England for the G1 1000 Guineas and G1 Oaks. It was no doubt thanks to Galileo that she stayed as well as she did, as her dam Butterfly Cove was a half-sister to Fasliyev, the outstanding two-year-old of 1999. The unbeaten Fasliyev won the G2 Coventry S., G1 Phoenix S. and the Prix Morny before a serious injury ended his career.

When U S Navy Flag won the Middle Park, he was chased home at a distance of only a half-length by Fleet Review, another representative of the proliferating War Front-Galileo cross. They are the best so far of this nick’s 13 2-year-old representatives in 2017, but most of them have yet to race. Another which has raced is Battle of Jericho, who was beaten only three lengths in the G3 Cornwallis S. four days ago.

The exact merits of this War Front–Galileo cross should become clear over the next couple of seasons, as there are at least 18 yearlings bred this way. Among the dams are Oaks winner Was, the Irish 1000 Guineas winners Marvellous and Misty For Me, Group 1 winner Together, the Group 1-placed Moth and the Group 3 winners Aloof, Say and Starstruck. They also include A Star Is Born, dam of Fleet Review, and Greenery, the dam of high-class American horse Lea.

By the time they start to race, U S Navy Flag may well have become a Classic winner. His display over seven furlongs was several pounds better than anything he had achieved over six and I see no reason why this tough colt shouldn’t stay a mile, like his sister.

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