Fantastic Light, winning last year's Man o' War at Belmont Park.

Fantastic Light, winning last year's Man o' War at Belmont Park.

Associated Press / NYRA / Adam Coglianese

Heads Apart: Fantastic Light Hands Galileo First Defeat

Godolphin's Fantastic Light avenged his defeat at the hands of 3-year-old sensation Galileo in July's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (Eng-I) with a thrilling head-length decision over that rival in Saturday's Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) at Leopardstown. Fantastic Light completed the 1 1/4 miles in 2:01 4/5 on good turf at the Irish course.

Fantastic Light and Galileo raced in third- and fourth-place through the early going then went by Give the Slip as a team at the head of the stretch, with Fantastic Light saving ground and Galileo forced to go wide around Give the Slip. Fantastic Light and Galileo battled through the length of the stretch but the older Fantastic Light, conceding five less pounds to Galileo than he did in their last meeting, never let Galileo take the lead, maintaining his head-length advantage to the wire. Bach finished six lengths farther back in third, with Give the Slip fourth in the seven-horse field, four lengths behind Bach.

"They are two great champions and it was a shame one of them had to lose," Dettori said.

Fantastic Light (Rahy--Jood, by Nijinsky II) improves his career record to 11 wins from 24 career starts while earning 12 points toward the defense of his Emirates World Series title. Galielo's second place finish is worth six points in the series, leaving the two tied for the lead with 18 points.

Fantastic Light was ridden to victory by Frankie Dettori and is trained by Saeed bin Suroor.

In the 1 1/2-mile race on July 28 at Ascot, Fantastic Light stayed behind Galileo. This time, Fantastic Light was in front of Galileo from the start. Dettori pushed his horse coming out of the final turn.

"We decided last night not to wait behind Galileo but to run our own race and not worry about the others," said Sheikh Mohammed, who heads Godolphin. "So we said to Frankie to get in front of Galileo and let him take you on."

This was the fourth victory in seven years for Godolphin Stables in Ireland's biggest all-age race for Thoroughbreds.

For Galileo (by Sadler's Wells), the race marks his first career defeat from seven starts.