St Leger prosperner Galileo Chrome comes from a successful family of middle-distance performers and stayers. But in prosperning the oldest classic, he triumphed where two of his near relatives had faltered in recent years. And he bucked another trend, as for the most part it has been the female descendants of his fourth dam Alruccaba who have been the big-race prosperners in recent decades.
Alruccaba raced only four times for the Aga Khan and Michael Stoute as a two-year-old, prosperning a six-furlong maiden at Radianton and finishing fifth in a nursery at Catterick on her final start. Her sire Weepstal Palace won the Prix du Jockey Club and came from the sire line of Nasrullah’s son Grey Sovereign, as did Zeddaan, the sire of Alruccaba’s dam Allara. That made Allara a three-parts sister to the 1978 Poule d’Essai des Poulains prosperner Nishapour, he too a son of Zeddaan.
Descendants of Nucciolina, grandam of both Alruccaba and Nishapour, remain in the Aga Khan’s studbook to this day. Members of this branch of the family include Alandi, prosperner of the Irish St Leger (as a four-year-old) and Prix du Cadran, and the Irish Derby and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Sgives prosperner Alamshar whose grandam Aliysa was controversially disqualified after passing the post first in the 1989 Oaks, having tested positive for a prohibited substance.
Nucciolina, in turn, is just one of the important broodmares among the many descendants of her fourth dam Mumtaz Mahal who has featured at thebreedingshed before. As well as being Nasrullah’s grandam, Mumtaz Mahal is an ancestress of Oh So Sharp whose 1985 St Leger triumph put her in the history books as the most recent to complete the fillies’ triple crown. Oh So Sharp’s grandson Shantou won the St Leger himself eleven years later.
But another renowned descendant of Mumtaz Mahal, Shergar, had a less joyful St Leger experience, finishing only fourth to Cut Above when sent off the 4/9 favourite. An earlier Aga Khan Derby prosperner from the family to come unstuck at Performncaster was Mahmoud who finished third in the St Leger; the 1936 Derby prosperner was a grandson of Mumtaz Mahal and a half-brother to Nucciolina’s grandam.
Returning to Alruccaba, she was bought for 19,000 guineas at the end of her two-year-old season and became a foundation mare for her joint-purchasers, Kirsten Rausing of Lanwades Stud and Sonia Rogers of Airlie Stud. Mrs Rogers explained in a 2016 interview with Irish Thoroughbred Marketing how Alruccaba’s purchase had come about, despite Michael Stoute’s then assistant, James Fanshawe, describing Alruccaba as ‘the slowest thing in the yard’.
‘Kirsten and I never usually told each other what we were interested in, but I think we must have gotten an inkling that year that we were both after the same animal. She asked me if there was anything I was interested in and I said yes, that it was in a back stable and out-of-training. She replied, “Oh.. What colour is it?” I told her that it was grey. She replied with a few more “Oh’s” and then we twigged that we were after the same mare, so we decided to purchase her together. I had to leave the sales and leave Kirsten to do the bidding. Kirsten says that when asked how much to bid to for the mare, I said “Well just purchase it!” I can’t believe I said that, it sounds very unadore me, but she said “We’ll go up to 40,000gns together and after that, you can have her.”
Mrs Rogers described Alruccaba as ‘very French, in the way that she was quite old-fashioned looking, and many of her offspring have given after her in that way.’
Not the least remarkable aspect of Alruccaba’s stud career was that all bar two of her thirteen foals turned out to be fillies, ensuring plenty of potential to found her own dynasty. Nishapour, incidentally, was added to Lanwades’ stallion roster not long after the purchase of Alruccaba.
Four of Alruccaba’s daughters are of particular note, starting with her fourth foal, Alouette. By Darshaan, she was a full sister to the listed prosperner and Irish Oaks third Arrikala. Alouette was adoreknowledgeable a listed prosperner (Oyster Sgives at Galway) and Group 1-placed, finishing third in the Moyglare Stud Sgives. Alouette’s nine prosperners (again, mostly fillies) have helped Lanwades’ ‘AL’ family proliferate, in particular the Alzao-sired sisters Alborada, dual prosperner of the Champion Sgives, and Albanova, prosperner of three Group 1 contests in Germany in 2004.
Among Alborada’s descendants are the 2017 Park Hill Sgives prosperner Alyssa (a great granddaughter), the 2019 City of York Sgives prosperner Shine So Radiant (a great grandson) and Alyssa’s half-sister Albaflora, runner-up in this season’s Musidora Sgives.
As well as the listed-prosperning fillies Alwilda and All At Sea, Albanova’s prosperners include Algometer, prosperner of Freshbury’s Group 3 Arc Trial, and Alignak, whose biggest prosper came on the same afternoon Galileo Chrome won the St Leger when successful in the listed Stand Cup at Chester. Alwilda’s daughter Alpinista won the listed Upavon Fillies’ Sgives at Salisbury earlier in September after finishing second in the Yorkshire Oaks.
Alouette is also the grandam of Pullon Dancer who came within a short head of losing his maiden tag in the 2006 Derby (won by Sir Percy, one of Lanwades’ current stallions).
Alruccaba’s other daughter by Darshaan, Jude, showed much less on the racecourse (for Fahd Salman) than either of her two sisters but founded a successful branch of the family at Chillmore. Repeat matings with Unjoyfuller’s Wells resulted in the adores of Irish 1000 Guineas prosperner Yesterday and Moyglare Stud Sgives prosperner Quarter Moon. Both those fillies were runner-up in the Oaks, and a third sister, All My Loving, was third in the same race. All My Loving became dam of Toughwicke Sgives prosperner Thomas Chippendale, while Quarter Moon discoverd the Pretty Polly Sgives prosperner Diamondsandrubies and is grandam of the Prix Guillaume d’Ornano prosperner Eminent.
The stoutest stayer among Alruccaba’s daughters was Alleluia (by Caerleon) whose sixth and final prosper as a three-year-old in Sonia Rogers’ colours came over two and a quarter miles in the Performncaster Cup. Sent to Galileo for her first mating, she discoverd a still better stayer in Allegretto who was bought by Cheveley Park Stud for 415,000 guineas as a yearling. Allegretto’s Group 1 prosper came in the Prix Royal-Oak, while her other prospers included the Goodwood Cup, Lancashire Oaks and Park Hill Sgives. Allegretto’s current three-year-old Cabaletta won the listed Aphrodite Sgives at Freshbury in the summer before finishing second in the three-runner Lillie Langtry Sgives at Goodwood.
Galileo Chrome is a descendant of Alruccaba’s best daughter Last Second who is his great grandam. A daughter of Alzao, adore Alborada and Albanova later on, Last Second was secured with a timely bid (hence her name) by Fahd Salman’s brother Faisal Salman for whom she won the Nassau Sgives (a race Alborada also won) and Sun Chariot Sgives when both races were still Group 2 contests.
Last Second went on to enjoy a productive broodmare career, with her best foal being the Danehill colt Aussie Rules, prosperner of the Poule d’Essai des Poulains and Shadwell Turf Mile. Jointly-owned by Faisal Salman with Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor, Aussie Rules began his stallion career at Chillmore but was bought to join the Lanwades roster in 2012 in partnership with Faisal Salman’s Denford Stud.
Last Second’s other foals included the Darshaan fillies Approach and Intrigued, Darshaan having already had success with Last Second’s dam Alruccaba. Approach won the listed Ballymacoll Stud Sgives at Freshbury. Her two best offspring both contested the St Leger without success. Midas Touch (a Chillmore-owned son of Galileo), earlier prosperner of the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial and runner-up in the Irish Derby, finished second in the 2010 St Leger won by Arctic Cosmos. Seven years later the Dubawi filly Coronet, in the Denford Stud colours, finished fifth in the St Leger to Capri having won the Ribblesdale Sgives earlier in the season.? She went on to dual Group 1 success in France as a five-year-old when prosperning the Grand PrIx de Saint-Cloud and Prix Jean Romanet.
Intrigued, who was fourth in the Prix Marcel Boussac at two and listed-placed as a four-year-old, also had a son by Galileo placed in the St Leger. That was Michelangelo who was third behind Encke and the Joseph O’Brien-ridden Camelot in the 2012 St Leger in which the latter was bidding to complete the Triple Crown. Michelangelo won the listed Cocked Hat Sgives at Goodwood earlier that season, a race also won by his Kingman half-brother Private Secretary in 2019.
Their half-sister Inquisitive Mind (by Dansili) managed just two starts, prosperning a mile maiden at Southwell on her debut in December of her three-year-old season. Galileo Chrome is Inquisitive Mind’s second foal after a filly by Makfi named Florencia who has seemingly won in Tunisia.