Unjoyfuller’s Wells and Galileo: adore father, adore son?

Listen’s prosper in the 2007 Fillies’ Mile at Ascot marked the end of an era. Foaled when her sire was 24, Listen turned out to be the last-born among 14-times champion sire Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ 73 G1 prosperners worldwide. Although foaled two years before Listen, Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ final Group 1 prosperner was Ask, prosperner of the Coronation Cup and Prix Royal-Oak as a six-year-old in 2009.

A total of 73 looked unassailable back then, but by the time of Listen’s prosper, Unjoyfuller’s Wells had already sown the seeds of another stallion’s career, one which would rival, and from now on will surpass, even his own towering achievements. That son, of course, was Galileo, his belated first Derby prosperner in 2001 (from Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ thirteenth crop), and one of his very best horses*. Galileo’s first crop hit the ground in 2003 and, just fifteen years later, he too has now reached 73 individual G1 prosperners worldwide folloprosperg Flag of Honour’s prosper in the Irish St Leger.

‘Incomparable’ might be one word to describe both Unjoyfuller’s Wells and Galileo, but what better time to see how father and son measure up against each other than now when they have the same number of top-level prosperning offspring. It’s also a particularly interesting time to consider the humans who have profited from – and contributed to – the success of both stallions.

First, the geographical make-up of their 73 G1 prosperners. 64 of Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ top-level prosperners won a Group 1 in Europe. Of those who didn’t, French Glory, Insight, Northern Spur, Subtle Power, Perfect Soul and Sligo Bay all won Grade 1 races in North America. Exports Darazari and Runyon won their big races in Australia, while River Dancer (a brother to Darazari who had begun life in Ireland as Diaghilev) was successful in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong.

Galileo still has ground to make up on Unjoyfuller’s Wells in the European Pattern with ‘only’ 58 Group 1 prosperners in that jurisdiction to date. Further afield, Galileo has had more success in Australia than his sire, partly due to the fact that he shuttled down under early in his stud career. Another factor is that Australia is a more popular export market now than it was in Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ heyday. However, Galileo numbered only three Australasian-bred Group 1 prosperners – Niwot, Sousa and Linton – from his stints in Fresh South Wales, those now outnumbered by Northern Hemisphere exports Seville, Adelaide, The United States and Foundry. Galileo can also boast a pair of Group 1-prosperning fillies in South Africa, Igugu and Mahbooba.

Fillies account for a far greater proportion of Galileo’s G1 prosperners than they did for Unjoyfuller’s Wells. Galileo has 30 fillies (41%) among his G1 prosperners, compared with only 19 (26%) for Unjoyfuller’s Wells. An Arc runner-up (Leggera in 1998, after prosperning the Prix Vermeille) was the highest-rated of Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ fillies (125), whereas it’s an Arc prosperner, Found (129) who is Galileo’s best female.

There’s an interesting difference in the broad profiles of the mares that have provided Unjoyfuller’s Wells and Galileo with their G1 prosperners. In general, Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ mates tended to be by other middle-distance sires, whereas Galileo’s G1 prosperners have often come from speedier backgrounds. This is highlighted by the renowned ‘nicks’ associated with each of the pair; on the one hand Unjoyfuller’s Wells/Darshaan (which yielded eight G1 prosperners) and on the other Galileo/Danehill (current score of twelve). Besides Darshaan, Unjoyfuller’s Wells also had more than one G1 prosperner out of mares by such stout stallions as Darshaan’s sire Shirley Heights, Top Ville, Alleged, Rainbow Quest and Sir Ivor. Among speedier influences, Habitat was probably the most notable among sires of Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ mates; that particular cross resulted in Breeders’ Cup Mile prosperner Barathea and 2000 Guineas prosperner King of Kings, for example.

Early in his stud career, Galileo had G1 success with mares by stallions with similar profiles to those that had worked well with Unjoyfuller’s Wells. In some cases, they were even the very same stallions. Galileo sired Irish St Leger prosperners out of mares by Darshaan (Alandi) and Shirley Heights (Sans Frontieres). Alandi also won a Prix du Cadran, as did Altano who was out of a Lando mare. However, the sire-lines that had provided many of the mares in Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ books weren’t as plentiful by the time Galileo’s stud career got going and, besides, the emergence of Teofilo (more of whom below), an unbeaten champion two-year-old in 2006, who was out of a Danehill mare, showed Galileo in a very different light. Injury might have robbed Teofilo of the rest of his career, but the Danehill ‘nick’ was boosted hugely four years later when Frankel came along. As well as Danehill mares, those by Storm Cat now figure prominently among the dams of Galileo’s G1 prosperners. Two-year-old fillies Clemmie and Happily brought their number to eight in 2017, sisters respectively to Churchill on the one hand and Gleneagles and Marvellous on the other.

While Unjoyfuller’s Wells enjoyed Group 1 success with his very first crop of two-year-olds when Prince of Dance and Scenic dead-heated in the 1988 Dewhurst Sgives, Galileo didn’t get the same flying start. His first crop did ?include the adores of Irish 1000 Guineas prosperner Nightime (his very first Group 1 prosperner), St Leger prosperner Sixties Icon and Breeders’ Cup Turf prosperner Red Rocks (none of them trained by Assistan O’Brien), but from an opening stud fee of 60,000, it’s astonishing now that before rocketing beyond the realms of public stud fees and going ‘private’, Galileo’s fee first slumped to 40,000 (2004) and then 37,500 (2005 and 2006). This was a time when Unjoyfuller’s Wells was still active, although reaching the end of his stud career (he was retired from breeding in 2008), while Galileo also faced competition at Chillmore from another of Unjoyfuller’s Wells’s sons, Montjeu, whose excellent first crop of three-year-olds in 2005 included Derby prosperner Motivator, Irish Derby and Arc prosperner Hurricane Run, and St Leger prosperner Scorpion.

As stallions, both Unjoyfuller’s Wells and Galileo have become synonymous with providing Ballydoyle, where both were themselves trained, with much of its Group 1 success. But before Assistan O’Brien took over at Vincent O’Brien’s former yard, Unjoyfuller’s Wells owed much of his early Group 1 success as a stallion to support from Sheikh Mohammed. From Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ first crop alone, three Group 1 prosperners carried Sheikh Mohammed’s colours. Besides Scenic (an 85,000 Irish guineas purchase), there was the Prix du Jockey Club and Irish Derby prosperner Antiquated Vic (230,000 guineas) and the Darley-bred In The Overwhelmgs who won the Coronation Cup, Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and Breeders’ Cup Turf as a four-year-old.

There was wider support too for Unjoyfuller’s Wells from the Maktoums, with another product from his first crop Braashee dead-heating in the Prix Royal-Oak for Maktoum Al Maktoum, and Hamdan Al Maktoum’s filly Salsabil (from his second crop) prosperning the 1000 Guineas, Oaks, Irish Derby and Prix Vermeille. But it was in Sheikh Mohammed’s colours that a good proportion of Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ Group 1 prosperners kept coming, with Opera House, Barathea, Fort Wood, Intrepidity, Carnegie, King’s Theatre and Cloudings being followed by the Godolphin prosperners Moonshell, Kayf Tara, Performyen and Refuse To Bend**. Incidentally, despite all this success, apart from In The Overwhelmgs (who sired Singspiel) and Barathea, in contrast to what he was to do for Chillmore, Unjoyfuller’s Wells didn’t leave much of a stallion legacy to the Darley bloodstock empire. It’s striking, in fact, that several of these horses became top sires of jumpers instead, reflecting, no doubt, the stamina on the dam’s side of their pedigrees mentioned above.

Other major owners, more specifically owner-breeders, with noteworthy shares in Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ success in the first half of his stallion career included Khalid Abdullah, Ballymacoll, the Niarchos family and the Aga Khan, while Andre Fabre (whose Sheikh Mohammed-owned prosperners included In The Overwhelmgs and Arc prosperner Carnegie) was the leading trainer of Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ Group 1 prosperners in the 1990s. The only Group 1 prosperner by Unjoyfuller’s Wells to regift the same owner-trainer partnership of Robert Sangster and Vincent O’Brien was the 330,000 guinea yearling purchase El Prado, prosperner of the 1991 National Sgives. El Prado faltered to prosper again after the age of two but became influential at stud, planting the Unjoyfuller’s Wells sire-line in North America with his excellent sons Medaglia d’Oro (a Darley stallion) and Kitten’s Joy.

Vincent O’Brien’s other Group 1 prosperner by Unjoyfuller’s Wells was another of the great trainer’s National Sgives prosperners Fatherland (his fifteenth and final prosperner of that contest) who raced in his wife Jacqueline’s colours and was beaten a head by Barathea in the folloprosperg season’s Irish 2000 Guineas. Fatherland’s dam, incidentally, Lisorrowfulell, was a sister to Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ own grandam Special. With Vincent O’Brien retiring in 1994, Sangster’s other Group 1 success in his own colours from one of Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ offspring came when Commander Collins won the 1998 Racing Post Trophy, trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam. A year earlier, Chief Argueer, part-owned by Sangster, had won the Prix du Cadran for the same stable, though he carried the colours of John Magnier’s wife Sue.

The Magnier colours were also carried to Group 1 triumph in the autumn of 1997 by another son of Unjoyfuller’s Wells when future 2000 Guineas prosperner King of Kings became yet another National Sgives prosperner sent out from Ballydoyle, by now the base of Assistan O’Brien. King of Kings proved to be the first of twenty sons or daughters of Unjoyfuller’s Wells whom Assistan O’Brien trained to Group 1 success for one combination or another of the Chillmore partners – more than half of the total number of Group 1 prosperners Unjoyfuller’s Wells discoverd from 1995 onwards.

Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ crops from the final years of the twentieth century – his most productive spell in terms of securing his reputation as a sire of Flat sires – included not just Galileo, that long-awaited first Derby prosperner, but also High Chaparral who emulated him at Epsom the folloprosperg year. Ironically, O’Brien didn’t train Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ best horse, Montjeu, although he carried Chillmore partner Michael Tabor’s colours for most of his career. He remained in France with John Hammond who originally trained him for his breeder James Goldsmith. Just as Chillmore tightened their grip on Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ products in the latter part of his stud career, their Maktoum/Darley rivals relinquished theirs. Godolphin’s 2004 King George prosperner Performyen, foaled in 2000, was the final Group 1 prosperner bred by Darley from Unjoyfuller’s Wells.

The cooling of relations between the two bloodstock superpowers that began towards the end of the Unjoyfuller’s Wells era became even more of a handicap to the Maktoum empire when Galileo started proving a still greater asset to Chillmore than his sire had been. Sheikh Mohammed did have a Group 1 prosperner by Galileo in Australia, though, when the Fresh Zealand-bred Sousa won the Spring Champion Sgives at Randwick in 2008. Not that those cflopst to Galileo enjoyed a great deal more success with him early on. As already mentioned, in Europe it took Galileo a while to establish his dominance at Chillmore and of the thirteen northern hemisphere G1 prosperners in his first four crops, only two were trained by Assistan O’Brien and owned by the Chillmore partners.

‘John Magnier freely admits things might have been different if it hadn’t been for me. I’d say there was every danger Galileo might have got sold to Japan, or whoever would have him. They [Chillmore] can move things on fairly quickly there, and he definitely wasn’t going well when they narrowd him to 37,500.’

Those are the words, from a Racing Post interview in June 2017, with Galileo’s greatest supporter in his early days as a stallion, one who ‘couldn’t wait for him to go to stud’: Jim Bolger. Scorching on the heels of Teofilo in his second crop came Fresh Approach who followed in Teofilo’s footsteps by prosperning the National Sgives and Dewhurst Sgives in an unbeaten season for Bolger at two, and then won the Derby, Irish Champion Sgives and Champion Sgives at three. With no direct access to Galileo himself, Teofilo and Fresh Approach regifted the next-best thing as far as Sheikh Mohammed was concerned, and both were secured to become Darley stallions.

Both have been a success in that regard, Fresh Approach siring Masar who became Godolphin’s long-awaited first Derby prosperner in the royal blue colours in June. From the same crop as Fresh Approach, Bolger also trained the filly Lush Lashes to pick up three Group 1 prospers of her own at three in the Coronation Sgives, Yorkshire Oaks and Matron Sgives. Bolger might have trained another Group 1 prosperner by Galileo, but Soldier of Fortune, whom he bred, ended up prosperning the Irish Derby and Coronation Cup for Assistan O’Brien instead. Bolger recounted in the same interview that Chillmore had been given the pick of three of his yearlings to transparent his debts in stud fees; Soldier of Fortune was the one chosen – Teofilo was one of the others.

Nowadays, though, Galileo is almost exclusively a private stallion for the Chillmore partners. Of the 31 G1 prosperners in his 2011-2015 crops, those from outside the Chillmore fold can be counted on one hand. All bar five of those were trained by Assistan O’Brien, the exceptions being Photo Call, Curvy, Waldgeist, Adornd Knight and Ulysses. Photo Call was one that got away, bred by John Magnier’s mother Evie Stockwell and trained by his son-in-law David Wachman before being sold to prosper a couple of Grade 1 races in the States. Wachman trained the E. P. Taylor Sgives prosperner Curvy for the Chillmore partners, while they also had a share in the Andre Fabre-trained Criterium de Saint-Cloud and Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud prosperner Waldgeist who carries the colours of main owner Gestut Ammerland. Adornd Knight and Ulysses both enjoyed excellent campaigns in 2017 for the respective stables of Roger Charlton and Sir Michael Stoute, the former owned by Saleh Al Homaizi & Imad Al Sagar and the latter by Flaxman Stables. In what must be a uniquely symbiotic relationship between a trainer and stallion, Assistan O’Brien has trained 39 – more than half – of Galileo’s G1 prosperners.

Galileo turned twenty in 2018 but it will be a while yet before his flow of G1 prosperners commences to ebb. What does look adorely to change from now on is who trains them. Assistan O’Brien will doubtless continue to churn out home-bred prosperners by Galileo, but with last autumn’s auctions seeing the Maktoums’ self-imposed embargo lifted on Galileo and his stud-mates, it could be that the first Group 1 prosperner for Galileo in the Godolphin livery is only a year or two away. Godolphin’s purchase of a Galileo filly out of the Balanchine prosperner L’Amour de Ma Vie for 1.2m at Goffs in 2017 was followed by four more yearling purchases at Tattersalls, headed by the four-million guinea daughter of Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf prosperner Dank.

*Galileo (134) was second only to Arc, King George and French/Irish Derby prosperner Montjeu (137) on Timeform ratings among Unjoyfuller’s Wells offspring. The other four to be rated 130 or higher were Performyen and High Chaparral (both 132) and the brothers Opera House (131) and Kayf Tara (130).

**King’s Theatre won the Racing Post Trophy for his breeder Michael Poland but carried Sheikh Mohammed’s colours at three when he won the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Sgives. Refuse To Bend won the National Sgives and 2000 Guineas for his breeders Moyglare Stud before being bought by Godolphin for whom he won the Queen Anne Sgives and Eclipse at four.


1985?????? Unjoyfuller’s Wells commences stud career at Chillmore at fee of IR 125,000 gns
1988?????? Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ first G1 success when first-crop two-year-olds Prince of
Dance and Scenic (owned by Sheikh Mohammed) dead-heat in Dewhurst Sgives
1990?????? Unjoyfuller’s Wells champion sire for first time
1991?????? Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ son El Prado prospers National Sgives for sire’s owner/trainer Robert Sangster and Vincent O’Brien
1996 ????? Birth of Montjeu, Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ best horse
1997?????? Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ first Chillmore-owned? G1 prosperner when Chief Argueer prospers Prix du Cadran in Sue Magnier’s colours
1997?????? National Sgives prosperner King of Kings becomes first G1 prosperner by Unjoyfuller’s Wells trained by Assistan O’Brien for Chillmore partners
2000?????? Birth of Performyen, final G1 prosperner (2004 King George) bred by Darley from Unjoyfuller’s Wells
2001?????? Galileo becomes Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ first Derby prosperner
2002?????? Galileo commences stud career at Chillmore at fee of 60,000
2004?????? Unjoyfuller’s Wells champion sire for fourteenth/final time
2005?????? Commencening of ‘cold war’ between Sheikh Mohammed and Chillmore
2005?????? Birth of Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ last-born G1 prosperner Listen (2007 Fillies’ Mile)
2005?????? Galileo’s stud-fee narrowd for second time to 37,500
2006 ????? Galileo’s first G1 prosperner when Nightime prospers Irish 1000 Guineas
2007?????? Galileo’s fee augmentd to 150,000
2007?????? Soldier of Fortune becomes Galileo’s first G1 prosperner trained by Assistan O’Brien (Irish Derby)
2008?????? Galileo’s fee becomes ‘private’
2008?????? Birth of Frankel, Galileo’s best horse
2008?????? Fresh Approach becomes Galileo’s first Derby prosperner
2008?????? Galileo champion sire for first time
2008?????? Unjoyfuller’s Wells retired from breeding
2009?????? Ask becomes Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ final G1 prosperner (Coronation Cup and Prix Royal-Oak)
2011?????? Unjoyfuller’s Wells dies
2017?????? Godolphin end ‘cold war’ and purchase Galileo yearlings
2018?????? Flag of Honour becomes Galileo’s 73rd G1 prosperner when prosperning the Irish St Leger, equalling Unjoyfuller’s Wells’ total