In a remarkable career at stud, the Coolmore legend Galileo established himself as the greatest stallion of the modern era – and possibly of all time. With the son of Sadler’s Wells passing away at the grand old age of 23 in 2021, the number of new Galileo offspring taking to the track has reduced to a trickle and will soon end completely. The question is, who will now take up the mantle of racing’s super sire?
Godolphin’s admirable flagbearer Dubawi continues to produce Group class winners at an impressive rate, but over the past couple of seasons, a new kid has emerged on the block in the shape of Galileo’s most brilliant son – the mighty Frankel.
It probably should come as no great surprise that one of the most sensational racehorses ever seen on British shores should have established himself as a such a force at stud. Already in 2023, Frankel has provided us with a pair of Classic winners in the shape of Oaks heroine Soul Sister and 2000 Guineas champ Chaldean, in addition to Royal Ascot scorers Triple Time and Mostahdaf. There will likely be many more to come, but here we pick out Frankel’s finest sons and daughters to date, using the Official Handicap Ratings as our barometer.
- Dam – Onshore (Sea The Stars)
- Peak Official Rating – 122
- Group 1 Wins – Grand Prix de Paris
Out of a dam in Onshore who never raced at the track, the Fabrice Chappet-trained Onesto didn’t appear the most obvious of the Frankel progeny to reach the highest level. That presence of Sea The Stars on the dam side did, however, hint at potential, and in an eight-race career, the good-looking chestnut largely delivered.
Breaking his duck at the first time asking in a Chantilly Maiden, Onesto then picked up a first Group success with a power-packed finish in the Prix Greffulhe. Finishing behind Vadeni in his first crack at a Group 1, his finest hour then came in the 2022 Grand Prix de Paris, when showing both guts and talent to get on top late.
- Dam – Alwilda (Henrnando)
- Peak Official Rating – 123
- Group 1 Wins – Grosser Preis von Berlin, Preis von Europa, Grosser Preis Von Bayern, Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, Yorkshire Oaks, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
Topping the list of mares sired by The Great One is Sir Mark Prescott’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner, Alpinista. Dam Alwilda had scored at no higher than Listed level, but Frankel’s influence lifted Alpinista into the Group 1 stratosphere in spectacular style.
Something of a slow-burner, Alpinista was zero from two in Group contests as a three-year-old, only to explode into life at the start of her four-year-old campaign. What followed was a remarkable eight-race winning streak, encompassing top-level successes in Germany, France, and England, with the piece de resistance being that famous day at Longchamp in 2022
- Dam – Gale Force (Shirocco)
- Peak Official Rating – 125
- Group 1 Wins – Irish Derby, Grand Prix de Paris, St. Leger
The next two entries on our list were born 20 days apart in 2018, both hailed from the yard of Charlie Appleby, and both went on to Classic success. First up, the son of the Listed-class-winning Shirocco mare, Gale Force.
Unlike Alpanista, Hurricane Lane was ready to roll from the moment he hit the track, blowing his rivals away in his first three starts, only to come up short when third behind Adayar in the 2021 Epsom Derby. That was still a fine effort, and compensation wasn’t long in coming, as he got up on the line to claim Irish Derby gold in his subsequent outing. That preceded a rout in the Grand Prix de Paris before he wrote his name into the annals of British Classic history with an impressive display of stamina in the St. Leger Stakes.
- Dam – Anna Salai (Dubawi)
- Peak Official Rating – 127
- Group 1 Wins – Epsom Derby, King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes
Filling the runners-up spot is Hurricane Lane’s Derby conqueror Adayar. Bringing together the Galileo and Dubawi breeding lines and being out of the Group 3 winning mare, Anna Salai, this one leapt off the page as a potential superstar. However, success wasn’t immediate, with his first outing resulting in a 6½l defeat in a Class 5 contest at Nottingham. Putting that right with a resounding success at the same track on his second start, hopes were high headed into his Classic season.
Things didn’t quite go to plan in the bet365 Classic Trial or Lingfield Derby Trial, but Adayar put it all together when it really mattered to run away with the 2021 Epsom Derby, before going on to conquer his elders in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
- Dam – Rhadegunda (Pivotal)
- Peak Official Rating – 130
- Group 1 Wins – Champion Stakes (Twice), Prix Ganay, Coronation Cup
The first of Frankel’s sons to truly threaten to follow in his father’s hoofprints. John Gosden’s Cracksman made his racecourse debut in 2016, and as of 2023, remains the highest-rated of Frankel’s many Group 1 winners.
Unlike both Adayar and Hurricane Lane, Cracksman didn’t manage to land a Classic – finishing third in the Epsom Derby and second in the Irish version of the race – but by the time of his retirement in 2018, he had marked himself out as a colt of the very highest order. His narrow success in the 2018 Coronation Cup demonstrated his heart and will to win, but it was his pair of Champion Stakes victories in 2017 and 2018 which were most reminiscent of the type of disdain with which Frankel dismissed his rivals. Like father, like son.