Genealogical guide to the main suitors
After a frantic period of Cazoo Derby trials, Laura Joy examines the pedigrees of big race winners and finds a common theme throughout.
In fitting style, all of the top six in betting for the Cazoo Derby at the time of writing are either sons or grandsons of the King of Epsom, Galileo.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned in Chester, it’s to savor every remaining son or daughter of the Grand Sire. They’re a joy to watch, relishing in a battle and poking necks in the style we’re used to. With his last foals on the ground this year, time is running out to enjoy their exploits.
A young girl after three efforts together, Changing of the guard (Galileo x Lady Lara) announced her arrival on the Derby scene with a comfortable six-length success in the Chester Vase.
He is the third foal out of his talented dam Lady Lara who is by Excellent Art. Standing at Coolmore for five seasons, Excellent Art eventually proved disappointing at stud and was exported. However, should the Changing of the Guard win the Derby, Excellent Art’s short stint in Tipperary would prove useful. Son of Pivotal, who himself had great success with Galileo, Lady Lara is one of his most accomplished offspring. A 2nd year winner, she comes from a family littered with Classic winners. From Guinean winners Footstepsinthesand and Power to St Leger winner Mahler, Changingoftheguard is a colt who has written Epsom into his destiny from conception.
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dee stakes winner star of india (Galileo x Shermeen) is the eighth foal and seventh winner out of Group 3 winner Shermeen. Like Lady Lara, Shermeen started life in Europe showing good form at the age of two and continuing to progress in the United States.
His sire Desert Style is also an influence on speed and Star Of India is further proof that the decision to send fast mares to Galileo was a wise one. Half-brother to juvenile Group 1 winner Sudirman (Henrythenavigator), Star Of India took a perfect one-shot victory as a two-year-old. Improving markedly from his seasonal debut over a mile, Galileo’s influence shone brightly at Chester’s ‘Roodee’ Racecourse over the extended mile and a quarter trip. This colt needs to find improvements to match Sudirman’s Group 1 winning accolades, but as always when Galileo is involved, a move to the Epsom Derby could be the key to achieving that.
The Lingfield Derby Trial had gone somewhat out of fashion until The United Nations’ (Galileo x Christmas Kid) sent Anthony Van Dyck winning en route to Derby glory in 2019.
With his undulations and left turn seen as invaluable practice for Epsom’s unique test, the United Nations has it all, having also challenged Epsom’s own trial where he could only manage fourth place. Don’t be put off though. He is Black Type’s fifth scorer and fourth Stakes winner from his Grade 1 winning dam.
Christmas Kid is a daughter of Lemon Drop Kid who performs at very respectable 4% Stakes winners for colts of racing age – it’s no surprise. Lemon Drop Kid is from Kingmambo who needs no introduction in his role as mother father to current stars Baaeed and Addeybb among many others. Christmas Kid is the star of the immediate United Nations pedigree and by adding Galileo to the mix, Coolmore has elevated another true Derby contender by their much-missed Champion.
There are only so many superlatives one can give Galileo before he looks like a broken record, so it’s best to let the horses do the talking whenever possible.
Sunday at Leopardstown, Stone Age (Galileo x Bonanza Creek) did just that. Blitz it Group 3 derby try field over five lengths, accelerating his way to the top of Derby betting with a dominating performance.
Dam Bonanza Creek stayed a mile and a quarter despite her speed influence from sire Anabaa, and Stone Age is the third and best colt she has produced to date. However, her second dam, Bright Moon, won Group 2 and Group 1 placed and produced Prix de Diane (French Oaks) winner Bright Sky among her eight winners.
Stone Age are raised on the same crossbreed as Bolshoi Ballet, winners of last year’s Leopardstown Derby Trial, who finished seventh in the Derby after a difficult journey. The Bolshoi Ballet had to wait for the Belmont Derby Invitational to secure his first year, but this colt’s connections look cautiously optimistic he can reach the pinnacle of the sport at Epsom on the first Saturday in June.
Piz Badile (Ulysses x What is not) was analyzed in detail here. Coach Donnacha O’Brien made the decision to go straight from the Ballysax Stakes to Epsom, a move that shouldn’t concern given where he learned much of his trade. With Piz Badile’s form now eclipsed by Buckaroo winning the Tetrarch Stakes by four lengths, it will be a matter of arriving in top form and recency bias must be avoided.
Make no mistake, this grandson of Galileo from a rich Niarchos pedigree has the bloodlines to taste Epsom glory and don’t forget it.
Finally, the Sandown Classic Trial winner doesn’t need expert analysis to see where he got his talent from. A son of last year’s Derby-winning stallion Frankel and thus a grandson of Galileo, Westover (Frankel – Mirabilis) did very little harm.
A full brother to Group 3 winner Monarch’s Glen, he is another contender with a Prix de Diane winner listed in his immediate family. There are doubts about his stamina, he needed the line at Sandown. His mother was a midfielder and we know that Frankel is capable of transmitting as much speed as endurance. There’s no doubt he deserves his place on the pitch, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see him relish a mile and a quarter rather than the grueling mile and a half test of endurance that the Derby demands. .