Epsom Derby Hopeful Vatican City Has Significant Cross To Carry
Praying is something that punters find themselves doing quite often. Come the most unusual running of the 2020 Epsom Derby and they
will be saying their prayers extra hard - not least those that, for whatever reason, decide to row in with the Aidan O'Brien trianed Vatican City,
currently as short as 7/1 with the fixed odds arm of Betfair.
Amongst Galileo's best progeny the 12f+ horses are those with sufficient stamina on the distaff side; ie, those that have a damsire stamina index of at least 9.2. Marvellous, the winner of the 2014 Irish 1000 Guineas, was by Galileo, out of the Storm Cat mare You're so Thrilling, and boasted a damsire stamina index of 7.7f. Reagrding Marvellous, John Magnier was quoted on the Sporting Life website;
Aidan fancied her. In fact, I think he even asked Joseph to ride her and Joseph picked the other one. Her pedigree would indicate there's could be more to come to come, she's out of a sister to Giant's Causeway who won the Cherry Hinton. She's really well bred and probably bred to get a mile and a half. We'll have to listen to what they all say over the next few days but I couldn't see any reason why not (run in the Oaks) if all goes well."
What happened next has now entered racing folklore. Marvellous was sent off 4/1 favourite for the 2014 Epsom Oaks, on the back of mug money and the bandwagon effect. She was quite simply never a factor and Joseph O'Brien suggested that the race had come too soon;
I was flat out at the top of the hill. With six or seven to go I was struggling. She'd have had a hard enough race in the Irish Guineas, on testing enough ground at the Curragh. We'll freshen her up now."
So, the theory ran that a horse that had Storm Cat on the dam side was "
probably bred to get a mile and a half."
For those looking for some sort of comparison, I would point you in the direction of O'Brien's Misty for Me, who was also by Galileo, out of the Storm Cat mare Butterfly Cove - boasing a stamina damsire index of 7.7f (the same as Marvellous). Having won the Irish 1000 Guineas, she was sent to the Epsom Oaks, where she finished a well beaten fifth. She subsequently won the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh over 10fs, but never managed to win beyond this distance.
Forward to 2015 and Ballydoyle, by Galileo out of the daughter of Storm Cat, Butterfly Cove, recorded the second fastest time ever in the Prix Marcel Boussac - the fastest time, being recorded by the crack Irish miler Finsceal Beo. She never won another race. Her stablemate Coolmore, a full sister to Gleneagles and Marvellous, also appeared prominently in the winter ante-post lists for the Epsom Oaks, after landing the Group 3 Weld Stakes at the Curragh, over 7fs. She raced six more times after this victory, and never won another race. (Is there a pattern here...). Roll forward to 2018 and at the head of the ante-post betting market for the 2018 Epsok Oaks were Happily and Clemmie, both by Galileo out of Storm Cat mares. Neither horse managed to win beyond 8fs.
To the 2020 Epsom Derby and we have the O'Brien trained Vatican City - you guessed it - by Galileo, out of the Storm Cat mare You're so Thrilling and as low as 7/1 in the betting with Betfair.
In an unusual year - unusual things can happen. For John Magnier winning the Epsom Derby with a horse representing the Galileo-Storm Cat cross would be the equivalent of finding the Holy Grail.
Punters who decidce to back the horse are simply guessing. Don't save a prayer for me now, save it till the morning after