Members of the racing and bloodstock industry, in Ireland and around the world, have paid tribute to the racing and breeding career of Galileo, the greatest sire of the modern era.

Coolmore Stud revealed that the 2001 Derby winner had passed away on Saturday afternoon with a statement that read: “Regretfully our world-renowned champion sire Galileo was put to sleep earlier today on humane grounds owing to a chronic, non-responsive, debilitating injury to the left fore foot.”

Galileo, whose father Sadler’s Wells was the leading sire of his generation, was the third foal of champion mare Urban Sea. Born in 1998, he raced just once as a juvenile but won his first five races at three including the Derby, Irish Derby and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Stud success

At stud, the first Group 1 winner he produced was Nightime, who took the 2006 Irish 1000 Guineas and after that success, the floodgates opened, as that same year, his Teofilo emerged as champion two-year-old for Jim Bolger, who also trained the first of Galileo’s current five Derby winners New Approach in 2008.

That year Galileo won the first of his 12 champion sire titles, a sequence that has seen him edge closer to a remarkable triple figure tally of individual Group 1 winners produced. Indeed, it took just eight hours after his passing was announced for him to register another Group 1 winner, his 92nd in all, when Bolshoi Ballet won the Belmont Derby Invitational for Aidan O’Brien in New York on Saturday night.

Galileo’s greatest performer was of course Frankel, whose 14-race unbeaten career prompted a rating of 143.

Frankel will now be many people’s idea of the next dominating stallion and amazingly, he is one of 20 sons of Galileo who has already produced a Group 1 winner as a stallion, which provides a forecast for how this champion, on and off the racecourse, will effect the breed for years to come.