10th July 2021 marked a sad day in the racing world as one of the most influential racehorses of all time made his final gallop towards the pastures in the sky. We are, of course, referring to the mighty Galileo – the horse who made a greater contribution than any other towards Aidan O’Brien’s dominance of British and Irish racing.
Stunning at the track, when winning the English and Irish Derbies and the King George at Ascot, Galileo put even those achievements firmly in the shade with his sensational exploits at stud. At the time of his death, Galileo had sired:
- The winner of all 5 British Classics
- 228 Group class winners
- Five winners of the Epsom Derby – an all-time record
The death of Galileo left a significant hole in the breeding industry, but who would step in to fill the gap? In the end, the answer would be the obvious one. Just as Galileo had followed in the hoofprints of his super-sire father Sadler’s Wells, it is Galileo’s greatest son who has emerged as the new king of the stallion hill.
A Freak on the Track
By now, most will be all too familiar with the Frankel story, but for those needing a reminder, this was a horse cut from no ordinary cloth. The apple of the late Sir Henry Cecil’s eye arrived towards the tail end of the legendary trainer’s career to provide an Indian summer of incomparable excellence.
Raced 14 times in total, Frankel won all 14 starts, including a magnificent 10 Group 1 successes. Highlights abound, but for sheer jaw-dropping impact, his 2011 2000 Guineas romp is tough to beat.
If ever there was a horse built to be a success at stud, it was surely the colt who, during the course of that flawless career, became the highest-rated runner in the history of the ratings system. However, things aren’t always so straightforward. The history of racing is peppered with talented colts who achieved greatness on the track only to prove something of a flop at stud – be that due to poor fertility issues or simply a failure to pass their ability on to their progeny. So how would Frankel fare?
Ever the romantic, Frankel first entered the breeding shed on Valentine’s Day 2013. Unsurprisingly, given his phenomenal exploits at the track, there was a substantial queue for his services. In that first year, Frankel successfully covered 126 mares at a fee of £125,00 per covering. For those doing the maths, that comes to the small matter of £15.75m in fees in his first year alone!
The product of that first liaison with the Group 3-winning mare Chrysanthemum went by the name of Cunco. Taking up residence at the yard of John Gosden, Cunco became the first of Frankel’s offspring to take to the track on 13th May 2016, and of course, he won, before later going on to prove his mettle at up to Group 3 level – not quite Frankel brilliance, but a solid start, nonetheless.
Top Level Success Not Long in Coming
A Group 3 success is nothing to be sniffed at, but bigger and better things were expected of the sons and daughters of the greatest racehorse of all time. Queen Kindly upped the ante with her success in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York in August 2016, but it was left to another of his daughters to bag Frankel a first Group 1 as a stallion.
Out of a mare in Stacelita, who boasted 6 Group 1 wins of her own to go with the 10 of Frankel, Soul Stirring was certainly bred to be good and fulfilled her destiny in the 2016 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies in Japan.
Following that breakthrough top level success, the high-profile winners just kept on coming for Frankel. The headline act for British racing fans undoubtedly being the John Gosden-trained Cracksman, who handed Frankel a first British Group 1 when demolishing his rivals in the 2017 Champion Stakes at Ascot. There were, however, many more, and 10 years on from the moment he first set foot in the breeding shed, Frankel had compiled a mightily impressive list of stats:
- Individual Runners – 662
- Individual Winners – 414
- Total Number of Wins – 958
- Individual Group 1 Winners – 31
- Total Prize Money – £65,059,464
Best Frankel Progeny: Biggest Earners
- Alpinista – £3,321,033
- Cracksman – £2,793,064
- Mozu Ascot – £2,565,988
- Hurricane Lane – £2,087,903
- Westover – £2,044,716
Sir Mark Prescott’s wonderful mare Alpinista leads the way at the time of writing, with the lion’s share of that impressive haul coming courtesy of her tenacious success in the 2022 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. The names of dual Champion Stakes winner Cracksman and Irish Derby heroes Hurricane Lane and Westover will also be familiar to UK racing fans, whilst Mozu Ascot racked up his tally courtesy of a consistent run of performances in hugely valuable Japanese events.
Frankel’s Classic Collection
Frankel has not yet matched Galileo’s feat of siring the winner of all five British Classics, but he is well on his way to doing so. As of 2023, only the 1000 Guineas eludes him:
- 1000 Guineas – No winners
- 2000 Guineas – Chaldean (2023)
- Epsom Oaks – Anapurna (2019), Soul Sister (2023)
- Epsom Derby – Adayar (2021)
- St. Leger Stakes – Logician (2019), Hurricane Lane (2021)
Price Continues to Rise
Given his spectacular overall success as a stallion, it is no surprise that the initial price of £125.000 has been left well behind. Raised to £275,000 ahead of the 2023 season, Frankel is not yet as expensive as a peak Galileo – who is reported to have achieved in the region of €400,000 – €600,000 per covering in his pomp – but if he carries on at this rate, it would be no surprise to see him reach the level of his illustrious father.