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Champion stallion and mare share accolades for major weekend double
13 Jul 2012 | By Amy Bennett, The Informant

On a stallion that has sired no fewer than 28 individual Group One winners and is still only 14 years old, it can be difficult to heap new praise, but Galileo continues to garner headlines on a seemingly weekly basis.


Last weekend was no different, with the champion sire’s son Nathaniel producing an eye-catching performance to land the Gr. 1 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown. Making the achievement even more noteworthy was that Nathaniel’s year-younger sister Great Heavens had landed the Gr. 2 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock just an hour earlier.


Nathaniel has already secured a berth at stud, with a share in the dual Group One winner purchased earlier this year by Newsells Park Stud in Hertfordshire.


Galileo’s four stallion sons who have runners – Heliostatic, New Approach, Sixties Icon and Teofilo – have all sired Group winners, notably the freshman duo of New Approach and Sixties Icon, and Nathaniel has the pedigree to be another valuable asset at stud in Britain.   


So much has been written on the prowess of Galileo that for once it is more fitting to focus on the mare responsible for Saturday’s cross-card stakes double.


The debate as to whether the stallion or the mare has the most influence on the foal will continue as long as we breed racehorses, but in the case of this duo, as much praise must surely go to the dam, Magnificient Style, who is responsible for 10 winners from as many runners, of which no fewer than eight have triumphed in stakes races.


The daughter of Silver Hawk was herself a smart enough performer during a light racing career. Unraced at two due to immaturity, she broke her maiden at the first time of asking by six lengths in April, and was Listed-placed on just her second start, not having helped her own cause when refusing to settle.


Eleven days later she was out again, this time winning the Gr. 3 Musidora Stakes at York. Connections made the decision not to supplement her for the Oaks and instead she contested what was to be her last race when only sixth in the Gr. 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot. 


As a half-sister to the Grade One winner Siberian Summer, Magnificient Style was always going to be a valuable prospect at stud, and so it proved when she headed to the paddocks on behalf of the Sangster family’s Swettenham Stud. When the Sangster bloodstock empire was dispersed in 2007, Magnificient Style was bought privately by Lady Rothschild, carrying as it would turn out Nathaniel. 


Her initial mating had been with Storm Cat, producing the filly Stylelistick who won a minor stakes contest in America. Then to Spinning World she produced the dual Group Two winner Echoes In Eternity, but better swiftly followed via two matings with Sadler’s Wells. The first produced the high class stayer Percussionist (later the winner of the Grade One American Grand National) and the second, the Gr. 1 Fillies’ Mile heroine Playful Act. She would hit the headlines again in 2007 when selling for the then record price of US$10.5m at Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock Sale. She has since produced the Grade Two winner Giant’s Play.


Magificient Style went on to produce the maiden winner Distinctive Look to Danehill and the high-class Petara Bay to Peintre Celebre before returning to Sadler’s Wells to breed the Grade Three winner Changing Skies. The minor dual winner Monterey was the product of a tryst with Montjeu before successive visits to Galileo produced first Nathaniel and then Great Heavens.


Two visits to Oasis Dream have produced a yearling colt named Throne Room and a filly foal called Willoughby. The 19-year-old matron is now in foal to Fastnet Rock, so there is still plenty more to come from this exciting mare as well as her talented offspring.