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Series stars to stud: Gleneagles

2 Dec 2015

In the latest edition of our Series stars to stud features, we take a look at the QIPCO 2000 Guineas and St James's Palace Stakes hero, Gleneagles.

Gleneagles winning the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. Picture courtesy of Racingfotos.com.

The name Gleneagles is one that resonates more with golfing fans than racing fans – that was until the summer of 2015.

A dual-Guineas champion and a Royal Ascot hero, the Aidan O’Brien-trained star would have a stunning campaign to emerge as a QIPCO British Champions Series icon.

We take a look back at the son of Galileo’s career and what now lies ahead.

Out of the exceptional mare You’resothrilling (He is a full brother to Irish 1000 Guineas winner Marvellous and the top 2016 Classic contender Coolmore), Gleneagles was another superbly-bred charge off of the Ballydoyle champion conveyor belt.

As a two-year-old, O’Brien’s star miler made quite the impression progressing through the ranks.

Using his racecourse debut as an education run more than anything, Gleneagles was steered by Colm O’Donoghue to finish fourth at Leopardstown.

This was followed later in the month with a first success at The Curragh, in reasonably taking fashion.

It would turn out to be the first of many wins in 2014.

Group 3 and Group 2 victories would follow immediately after his first success – in the Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown and the Futurity Stakes at The Curragh.

Gleneagles’ comfortability just below the top level meant that he was now primed for the test in Group 1 company.

The prestigious Vincent O’Brien National Stakes in Ireland, historically, has been the place where future stars have shone, including 2000 Guineas champions Refuse To Bend, Dubawi, Dawn Approach and Derby hero New Approach.

It was time for Gleneagles to show his real potential.

Held by Joseph O’Brien to time his final push to perfection, the juvenile colt extended his stride and showcased a striking turn of foot to win a first top-level victory on the hallowed turf of County Kildare.

A confirmation of his talent was to come in France on Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe day.

Ridden by Ryan Moore, Gleneagles used his impressive injection of speed to run the rule on his rivals in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere to cross the line in front as a half-length successor. But, the French authorities were to rule otherwise. Due to infringement, Gleneagles was disqualified and demoted to fourth place.

No matter, however, we’d already seen his potential. A Classic star was set to be unleashed in 2015.

At the turn of the year, a substantial gamble was made on Gleneagles to deliver in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas. 10/1 soon became 8/1, and 8/1 soon became 6/1 before raceday saw him sent off as the 4/1 favourite.

It was the race he was born to win.

Racing on the stands’ side of Newmarket’s Rowley Mile track, the Coolmore-owned star raced to the lead with two furlongs to go and never saw a rival.

Gleneagles was crowned the emphatic 2015 QIPCO 2000 Guineas champion, beating Territories by two and a quarter lengths.

His electric pace, a serious weapon as a two-year-old, continued to be a serious asset in his Classic campaign.

It came in handy, too, in the Irish equivalent of the 2000 Guineas and once again in the QIPCO British Champions Series in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

However, his Royal meeting triumph was to be his last.

An elongated postponement to his reappearance, due to running conditions, meant that we would see him on the track twice more before his retirement to stud.

A surprising attendee in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Gleneagles could only manage sixth in his first race outside of same-age company.

His Champions Day effort was followed up by a disappointing display in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland. Always in the shadow of Grand Slam champion American Pharoah, Gleneagles faded into retirement without the fanfare connections were hoping for.

He is now to stand at Coolmore Stud in Ireland, where the first of his progeny will race on the track in 2019.

If his family is anything to go by, Gleneagles will be an exciting stallion for the future.