Prior to his tragic death in a motor accident in Paris in the spring of 1960, Prince Aly Khan enjoyed a marvelous year of success at home and abroad. As the British Bloodstock Breeders Review noted, referring to the prince as the first owner in the history of the British Turf to win more than £100,000 in a season and, with a new French record "It is no wonder that 1959 was called ’The Aly Khan’s Year.’"
The Autumn Sun highlights Aga Khan Studs and Arrowfield partnership
THE AUTUMN SUN, a nephew of AZAMOUR, secured his second Group 1 title on Saturday with a spectacular performance in the Golden Rose Stakes at Rosehill.
Already a Group1 winner as a juvenile when he lifted the JJ Atkins Plate at Doomben, the colt confirmed his talent in impressive style when powering from last to first in the final straight of the Gr.1 Golden Rose Stakes. Owned by Hermitage Thoroughbreds and trained by Chris Waller, the exciting individual is now likely to be aimed towards the Gr.1 Caulfield Guineas.
The Aga Khan Studs’ Classic sires SEA THE STARS and SIYOUNI both boast a strong hand of beautifully-bred yearlings at the prestigious Goffs Orby Sale on 2nd and 3rd October.
Arc hero SEA THE STARS, who has shone this season thanks to star performers SEA OF CLASS and STRADIVARIUS as well as Group 2 scorers CRYSTAL OCEAN, Knight to Behold and NIGHT MUSIC, is represented by 11 yearlings in the Goffs Orby catalogue.
However, everything quickly reverted to normal and the wins occurred with wonderful regularity. At this point the new Aga Khan pondered whether, given the institutional responsibilities thrust upon him three years earlier by the death of his grandfather, he should continue his family’s five-generation tradition of thoroughbred racing and breeding.
Within a period of little more than two months, Charlottesville won the Prix du Jockey Club and the Grand Prix de Paris; Sheshoon won the Ascot Gold Cup and the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud; Petite Etoile won the Coronation Cup; and Venture VII won the St. James’s Palace Stakes and Sussex Stakes. Charlottesville, who had been bred in County Kildare, was the first French Derby winner bred outside of France. Capping a marvelous first season, the young Aga Khan headed the list of leading French owners with 47 victories and 1,187,810 francs in prize money.
In this fashion it was the horses that made the decision for him.
The first Classic win for the new partnership with François Mathet came in 1968 with Zeddaan. The previous season he had also shown great speed winning the Group I Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte.
The three-year-old colt displayed his most impressive performance to date to win the Aus$2 million Gr.1 Caulfield Guineas in Australia today. After breaking smartly, he was caught three out wide but showed an impressive turn of foot coming into the straight to break clear and win by 4,5 lengths. “You’ve just seen what he is capable of and I don’t think he’s matured yet,” trainer Chris Waller said. “I’ve had experience with some nice colts and he’s as good as they get.”
AGA KHAN STUDS HISTORY
Changes Afoot: Dupré and Boussac Stock
Although an opportunity for a first English Derby for the Aga Khan IV may have slipped away with Blushing Groom, 1977 marked the start of a three-year period that would transform the Aga Khan's entire stud and stable operation.
SEA THE STARS continued his superb season over the weekend, registering a Stakes treble across Europe.
Top stayer STRADIVARIUS set the ball rolling when maintaining his unbeaten record in 2018 with success in the Gr. 2 British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot. The four-year-old showed both tactical speed and stamina to justify favouritism and record his fifth victory of the season in the two-mile contest. STRADIVARIUS has taken the long distance discipline by storm this season, winning the inaugural Weatherbys Hamilton £1 million bonus thanks to his successes in the Yorkshire Cup, Ascot Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and Lonsdale Cup. John Gosden-trained son of SEA THE STARS and Private Life (Bering) has been a model of courage and consistency all season and will now be rested over the winter before attempting a repeat performance in 2019.
Group 1 siblings and winners among Goffs and Arqana drafts
Horses in training consigned by the Aga Khan Studs are always highly sought after at public sale and this promises to be the case again at both Goffs Autumn Sale on 7th November and Arqana’s Autumn Sale on 19th November.
The eight-strong Goffs consignment features winners and placed horses representing some leading Aga Khan bloodlines, and is headed by winning Sea The Stars colt SHEBERGHAN, who is out of a Group placed dam. Sea The Stars is also the sire of BALIYAD, out of Group 3 scorer BALIYANA, one of four placed three-year-olds. This quartet features SANDARYANN, a half-brother to eight winners including the top-class Sarafina, and TASHMAN, half-brother to two Group scorers.
Princess Zahra Aga Khan, the eldest of the Aga Khan's four children, became the first member of the new generation to achieve turf success when at Saint-Cloud on June 11th 1996 Daralbayda won the Prix Flossie.
The Aga Khan Studs will present a quality consignment of 29 fillies and broodmares at Arqana’s forthcoming Breeding Stock Sale. The draft features a host of blue-blooded individuals, including half-sisters to Group 1 winners ZARKAVA, Clodovil, DARJINA and Darsi, a daughter of Group 1 winner SAGAWARA and also fillies and mares out of half-sisters to champions such as SIYOUNI, SHARETA, Sendawar and SARAFINA.
It is with great sadness that the Aga Khan Studs announce the passing of SINNDAR at the age of 21. A Group 1 winner at two and crowned European Champion Three-Year-Old in 2000, SINNDAR (Grand Lodge) remains the only horse to have won the Derby, the Irish Derby and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at the age of three. A winner of seven of his eight starts, SINNDAR was ridden in all of his races by Johnny Murtagh who said after his win in the Arc ahead of Egyptband, Volvoreta and Montjeu: “No horse can get by him. He's got speed, he's got staying ability and a great heart. He's the best horse. A true champion."
A quartet of homebred sires joined the Aga Khan Studs roster around the turn of the 21st century, and have made an indelible mark both on the breeding operation and European bloodstock at a wider level.
Jean-Luc Lagardère, a well-known French captain of industry, was also a passionate breeder and owner of horses. He had frequent contacts in this area with the Aga Khan, including their work together on the modernisation of the Chantilly racecourse.
Lagardère, was the first President of France Galop, from its creation in 1995 until his death in 2003. Though the Lagardère operation was a family affair, the founder’s son, Arnaud decided to part with the horses, and in 2005 the Aga Khan bought a total of 222 horses, including one stallion (Linamix), 62 mares, 74 horses in training, 42 yearlings and 43 foals. After his earlier purchases, this new addition to the operation of the Aga Khan again solidified and expanded his bloodlines.
Despite all that has gone before, the successes of the Aga Khan Studs have recently reached new heights that give the full measure of the work that has been done in the 50 years since the Aga Khan decided to take on the family tradition and make it his own.
The Aga Khan Studs’ SIYOUNI and SEA THE STARS have registered exceptional results with their progeny at markets in England, Ireland, France and Germany during 2018.
SEA THE STARS set the ball rolling with the top-priced filly at Arqana’s Breeze Up sale in May. His daughter Fashion’s Star was snapped up for €400,000 by Jamie McCalmont and was the comfortable winner of her sole start as a juvenile. At the same sale, Naadam, a colt by French champion sire SIYOUNI was knocked down for €385,000.
Still in France, yearlings by SIYOUNI were highly sought-after, with a colt by the Haras de Bonneval sire joining Godolphin for a bid of €380,000 at Arqana’s Deauville market in August, while the V2 catalogue saw three of the five top prices sired by SIYOUNI. He also dominated the Arqana October sale with two of the five highest prices, including the sales topper, a filly purchased by Kerri Radcliffe for €360,000. At the Osarus yearling sale in September, SIYOUNI again signed the top-price at €120,000 with a colt named Dinkar.
Back in 1960, on the sudden death of his father Aly Khan, H.H. the Aga Khan had had little involvement in the family racing and breeding empire. He remembers, « I was very much aware of the fact that this had been a family tradition for many generations and that it had been immensely successful at the time of my grandfather and my father. To be the new young owner who would come in and cause the operation to collapse was not what I wanted!”
The position of the Aga Khan Studs fifty years later in 2010, as one of the most respected bloodstock enterprises in the world, demonstrates the dedication of the Aga Khan to this ongoing project. A lifetime has been spent acquiring knowledge of breeding principles and observing the thoroughbred, and the Aga Khan Studs have reaped the rewards.
During the half-century of H.H. the Aga Khan overseeing his breeding operation, the Studs have purchased outright the bloodstock of some of France’s top breeders: the François Dupré and Marcel Boussac families, and latterly Jean-Luc Lagardère’s successful empire.
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