Galileo's domination at the top of the sires' table has been phenomenal and, although the season is still young, he is well positioned to take yet another championship title in 2017.
At Newmarket this afternoon his daughters Winter and Rhododendron were first and second in the Group 1 Qipco 1000 Guineas, 24 hours after his juvenile champion son Churchill took the Group 1 Qipco 2000 Guineas over the same course and distance. All three are trained by Aidan O'Brien.
Today's runner-up was the big race favourite but the Group 1 star met with some trouble in running, ran on strongly, but never looked likely to catch the winner who had moved to the front two out.
Winter ran three times in 2016, when trained by the now retired David Wachman, and she made her debut in a six-furlong Naas maiden in mid May. She finished a one and a quarter-length third to Cuff that day, filled the same position behind Butterflies over a quarter-mile farther at Gowran Park in July, and then justified favouritism in a seven-furlong maiden on the polytrack at Dundalk in August.
Her first start for the Ballydoyle team was at Leopardstown last month when she got within a head of beating Hydrangea in the Group 3 Ballylinch Stud 1000 Guineas Trial Stakes over seven furlongs, looking considerably better than her official mark of 89.
She was sent off at 9/1 at Newmarket and came home two lengths clear of Rhododendron, with Daban a neck back in third and the once-raced maiden winner Talaayeb another one and a quarter lengths behind in fourth. Hydrangea was only tenth.
Winter is the second foal out of Laddies Poker Two (by Choisir), a mare who ran just five times but whose final start was quite remarkable.
Unraced at two, she skated home by six lengths in a seven-furlong maiden on the polytrack at Kempton in January of her three-year-old season and was then off the track for seven months before finishing third in a handicap over the same trip at Newmarket.
She dropped back to six and took a handicap at Ascot by one and three-quarter lengths but was a disappointing favourite in a listed contest over the same trip at Newmarket a few weeks later, finishing only sixth. She was not seen in action again until June of her five-year-old season when, despite the absence, she took the Wokingham by two and a half lengths, carrying 8st 11lbs.
Laddies Poker Two is one of five winners from the first six foals out of Break Of Day (by Favorite Trick), and unraced half-sister to the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes runner-up Ma Yoram (by Dayjur). Her siblings also include Kathleen's Dream (by by Last Tycoon), who is the unraced dam of the listed scorer and 14-time winner Castor Troy (by Ali-Royal), and she is out of Quelle Affaire (by Riverman), a placed full-sister to Rami.
He was a high-class performer who won the Group 3 Concorde Stakes at Tipperary and earned placings in the Group 2 Queen Anne Stakes, Group 2 Challenge Stakes, Group 2 International Stakes, and a Group 2 contest in South Africa, and he was one of three stakes-winning offspring for his Group 1-winning dam.
Crack Regiment (by El Gran Senor) won the Group 3 Prix Eclipse and was placed in the Group 2 Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte, Group 3 Prix de Meautry, Group 3 Prix de Fontainebleau and Group 3 Prix du Palais Royal, and stakes-winning half-sister La Grande Epoque (by Lyphard) was runner-up in the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp.
That talented sprinter became the dam of the listed scorers Prince Tum Tum (by Capote) and Matelot (by Riverman), the latter of whom was third in the Group 2 Prix Maurice de Gheest, and her winning half-sister Diamond Snow (by Dayjur) deserves a mention for being the grandam of Group 3 winner and Group 1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) third Meiner Frost (by Black Tide).
Ancient Regime (by Olden Times), the fourth dam of Winter, was France's juvenile filly champion of 1980 when she won the Group 1 Prix Morny and was runner-up in the Group 1 Prix Robert Papin. She did pick up fourth place in the Group 1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas), but was also fourth in the Group 1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp and placed in each of the Group 3 Prix du Gros Chene, Group 3 Prix de Seint-et-Oise, and Group 3 Prix du Petit Couvert, so speed was her game.
Her prolific full-brother Cricket Ball won the Group 2 Prix Maurice de Gheest, her full-sister Olden was a triple stakes winner in the USA, and her dam was Caterina (by Princely Gift), the Nunthorpe Stakes heroine of 1966.
Winter is another fine example of how sprint families can produce Group 1 stars by Galileo and, like so many good horses who represent that type of cross, there is doubt that she will stay beyond 10 furlongs.
Her entries include the Group 1 Investec Oaks, Group 1 Darley Irish Oaks and Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes, so her connections have clearly not ruled out the prospect of her getting a mile and a half, but it may be that the Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas, Group 1 Coronation Stakes and Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes – in which she is also engaged – may prove to be more suitable targets.