Racing: OH WHAT A GAL!; Galileo Poised for Mouth-Watering Clash with Light

Sunday Mirror (London, England), September 2, 2001 | Go to article overview
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Racing: OH WHAT A GAL!; Galileo Poised for Mouth-Watering Clash with Light


Byline: ALASTAIR DOWN

AFTER lorryloads of base metal following the great York meeting, pure gold is back next Saturday with horse of the year Galileo returning to the fray in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

It is highly likely that the Ballydoyle banner-carrier's principal rival will be his old King George adversary Fantastic Light, who got head to head with him in the final furlong at Ascot only for the Irish colt to go away again and run out a convincing winner.

On that July day the run Frankie Dettori conjured out of Fantastic Light looked a race-winning one yet, when push came to ram it, Mick Kinane asked for more from Galileo and got a decisive answer.

It was one of those moments when you were sure Fantastic Light was going to go past, but Galileo had the class to rise above the unfolding scenario and put the battle-hardened five-year-old back in his box.

But Godolphin never duck a challenge and are keen to have another go at Galileo with Fantastic Light - although, should the ground ride soft at Leopardstown, they may throw York winner Sakhee into battle instead.

So why should it be any different this time? Well, the big imponderable is the trip - the Irish Champion is over 10 furlongs, rather than the mile and a half over which Galileo has won his two Derbys and the King George.

Within minutes of Galileo passing the post at Epsom, Aidan O'Brien was waxing lyrical about the colt's "pure speed" and insisting he could be equally effective over a mile - a bit like suggesting Messrs Coe and Ovett in their heyday wouldn't be inconvenienced by a drop back from middle distances to 400metres.

Now Aidan is a genius, whereas if you gave me a horse to look after on Monday morning it would pushing up the daisies by Wednesday teatime. But don't let his angelic demeanour give you any idea that he came down with the last shower of rain.

O'Brien works for a commercial organisation that is in the business of producing stallions and in the modern era "stamina", while not a dirty word, is one that is slightly frowned upon.

The simple truth is that if Galileo can prove himself over Saturday's 10 furlongs, then win the even more ambitious target of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot over a mile, followed by the Breeders Cup over 10 on the dirt, he would become the most valuable stallion ever.

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