GALILEO – the richest horse ever worth £180MILLION – has tragically died at the age of 23.
A statement from Coolmore read: "Regretfully our world-renowned Champion Sire Galileo was put to sleep earlier today on humane grounds owing to a chronic, non-responsive, debilitating injury to the left fore foot."
Billionaire owner and former Manchester United shareholder John Magnier said: "It is a very sad day.
"But we all feel incredibly fortunate to have had Galileo here at Coolmore.
"I would like to thank the dedicated people who looked after him so well all along the way.
"He was always a very special horse to us and he was the first Derby winner we had in Ballydoyle in the post M V O’Brien era.
"I would also like to thank Aidan and his team for the brilliant job they did with him.
"The effect he is having on the breed through his sons and daughters will be a lasting legacy and his phenomenal success really is unprecedented."
A superstar on the track, Galileo won more than £1.6m with wins in the 2001 Derby, Irish Derby and King George.
However, he only raced eight times in his career, and it was at stud that he turned into an absolute money-making machine.
Charging £600,000 a go with a mare during his pomp, Galileo has sired an astonishing Group 1 – the Champions League of racing – winners.
He was the father of Frankel – arguably the greatest racehorse ever – and son of iconic horse Sadler's Wells.
To put into context and into the wider sporting world, Galileo's estimated worth of £180m is more than the current transfer values of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar.
ITV racing pundit Jason Weaver said: "It's an absolute travesty.
"Not only his ability on the racecourse, what he's done in the stallion stud is absolutely outstanding.
"Words are not strong enough. All of those champions he has produced."
More to follow.
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