Prominent Agent Galpin Dead

Prominent Agent Galpin Dead
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Richard Galpin
Bloodstock agent Richard Galpin died Feb. 28 in a Miami hospital at age 71. Galpin had suffered a massive stroke on Feb. 23 while in Florida for the Fasig-Tipton Calder 2-year-olds in training sale.
 
Galpin is survived by his second wife, Jayne, and four children. There will be a private family funeral service in Florida, while memorial ceremonies are planned for Lexington, where he was based, and Newmarket, England, where he made his name.
 
Galpin started out in England and bought, in association with Frank Chapman, the Newmarket Bloodstock Agency’s name, with some of its clients, in 1959, when he also began training.
 
Previously he had been assistant trainer to Geoffrey Brooke, worked for Jack Fawcus, ridden as an amateur and been the Newmarket correspondent of The Sporting Life newspaper.
 
He had two great mentors. Phil Oliver, king of the English horse dealers who could see a good horse by its charisma from 200 yards without looking at the catalog, and Keith Freeman one of the all-time best pedigree experts.
 
Galpin in turn taught many of today’s leading agents such as John Warren, who is the Queen’s bloodstock manager, Emmanuel de Seroux, Richard O’Gorman, Geoffrey Howson, Fiona Craig, Hugo Merry and Andrew Sime.
 
He bought at least 57 individual grade/group I winners, with David Junior, who cost $175,000 as a 2-year-old at Calder, Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Wilko, Belmont Stakes (gr. I) victor Sarava and Kentucky Derby (gr. I) hero Monarchos   being the best in recent times. Earlier on, Chief Singer – who cost just 10,000 guineas – and One In A Million, an 18,500 guineas yearling, stood out.
 
In 2006, when asked what was the secret of buying good horse, he replied: "The mind has to be there, and the pedigree gives you the mind. It helps to have a great knowledge of past pedigrees, I bought Chief Singer, who was the spitting image of his grandfather Bold Ruler. To me he was a genetic reincarnation.
 
"You must absorb yourself into the factors that contribute to a great horse. The areas are pedigree, what genes seem to be influencing the animal you’re inspecting. The physical factor obviously comes into it. If they have been galloping against their peers in a field and sprinting past them then they will have confidence in themselves, even if there is a physical deviation you can analyze that it is not troubling them.
 
"But I’ve dropped looking at them on farms except when I have to be time-wise, because it becomes confusing. A horse that is proud of himself may curl up to be nothing at the sales with the loudspeakers, etc. – he won’t take the hustle and bustle of racing.
 
"But a sulky type at home can come to the life at the sales. You often see it with Northern Dancer blood. They out-show themselves at the sale and Nureyev was an example (because) as a yearling, he was not that impressive, because he thought the rest of the world were jerks, but he was going to do what he had to do.
 
"I study the farms, as does Dermot Weld, who I buy a lot of yearlings for. It is important where they were brought up. Wilko is an example. He was brought up at Dromoland that used to be Tartan Farm, that was selected because of the quality of its land.
 
"People ask (if it is) pedigree or physical conformation, but it’s a lot more than that. Like a human, the body is a machine that has to perform.
 
"You see people doing measurements, but we just stand back and look. If it doesn’t move and flow, then it’s unbalanced. The measurements are important, but they show that a horse is balanced, something we do by looking. Body language is very important."
 
Galpin's ambition then was to keep going until he was 100, and some time along the way to buy an English Derby winner. He won the Kentucky Derby, Irish Derby, French Derby and Australian Derby but not the Epsom one.
 
In the 1970s, his business was shipping some 750 horses a year to clients around the world and established a busy office in Australia.

After the bloodstock market crash at the end of the 1980s, he moved his agency’s headquarters to Lexington.

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