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.
The Autumn Sun dazzles in the Gr.1 Randwick Guineas.
In what could be his most impressive performance to date, THE AUTUMN SUN won his fourth Group 1 in the Gr.1 Randwick Guineas on Saturday. Positioned at the back of the field when entering the straight, it seemed nearly impossible for him to come back, yet he produced an amazing acceleration to win by a long head ahead of five-time Group 1 runner up Fundamentalist.
It prompted his trainer Chris Waller to say: “If I didn’t train Winx I wouldn’t have believed that performance. Full credit to this horse. He’s Australia’s next star and I can only tell you how good he is. You’re seeing it but he is a very, very good horse.”
THE AUTUMN SUN has now won seven of his eight starts, including four Group 1s. A son of Australia’s champion sire Redoute’s Choice, he was bred in partnership by Arrowfield and the Aga Khan Studs out of AZMIYNA, a Galileo half-sister to AZAMOUR. He was purchased for Aus$700,000 at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale as a yearling by Guy Mulcaster and Chris Waller and the same duo purchased his half-sister by Snitzel for Aus$1,3 million at the same sale last year.
A distant third when entering the straight on a heavy track, the task looked difficult for Fifty Stars in the Gr.2 Ajax Stakes at Rosehill today. However, the colt dug deep to place a powerful acceleration in the last 100 meters to win the 1500 m contest by a neck. He gave his jockey Jye McNeil a first Sydney winner and could now be aimed at the Gr.1 Doncaster Mile on 6 April at Royal Randwick.
Tom Dabernig, who trains Fifty Stars in partnership with David and Ben Hayes said after the race: “I must admit, at about the hundred metre mark he looked like he was labouring a little bit but he just needed to balance up and then he hit the line. He’s a colt and he’s building a good record now, so we’ll probably head towards the Doncaster.”
A four-year-old colt by SEA THE STARS out of Swizzle Stick, Fifty Stars was bred by Airlie Stud in Ireland and purchased by John Foote for 100,000gns at Tattersalls Book 2 yearling sale before being sent to Australia. He has now had twelve starts in the country and won eight races on distances ranging from 1200 m to 1600 m, including the Gr.2 Blamey Stakes over a mile on his last outing two weeks ago.
The unbeaten Champion ZARKAVA has given birth to a bay filly by Dubawi on Friday and both are doing well. The foal is therefore a full sister to Group 1 winner ZARAK, who stands for his second season at Haras de Bonneval.
Georges Rimaud, manager of the Aga Khan Studs in France, described her as “a lovely filly, full of quality and very elegant. She’s quite similar to her brother ZARAK in that she has a deep girth and is quite compact. ZARAK has his first foals on the ground this year and from the ones we’ve seen, he is producing nice strong foals that are full of class and quite stamped by himself and by Dubawi.”
ZARKAVA has a three-year-old son by Invincible Spirit, Zarkallani, who finished a promising second on debut at Saint-Cloud last Thursday. Her two-year-old filly by Siyouni named Zaykava is in training with Alain de Royer Dupré and she has a yearling colt by Gilltown Stud’s Sea The Stars. She is due to visit Frankel this year, reproducing the cross of ZARKAMIYA, her four-year-old daughter who was a Listed winner and Group 1 placed last year.
Sea The Stars scores a first Southern Hemisphere Group I
Tuesday 16 April 2019
Shraaoh a game winner of the Sydney Cup.
Gilltown Stud sire SEA THE STARS broke new frontiers on Saturday as his son SHRAAOH stayed on strongly to lift his first Group 1 during the Championship Meeting at Royal Randwick.
SHRAAOH becomes the tenth individual Group 1 winner for his Arc de Triomphe winning sire SEA THE STARS, and the first in the Southern Hemisphere. Following the success of Champion Stayer Stradivarius in Britain last year, SEA THE STARS now also counts a top stayer in Australia in the form of Sydney Cup scorer SHRAAOH.
Bred by Sunderland Holdings, the six-year-old son of SEA THE STARS and Monsun mare Jumooh is from the family of 1000 Guineas winner Ghanaati and the top-class Nashwan. SHRAAOH won two races when trained in England, and opened his account in Australia on his first outing for Chris Waller on Melbourne Cup day in November 2018. In 2019 he continued to thrive, with places in Stakes contests, and notably second in the Group 2 Chairman’s Quality just a week prior to his victory in the Group 1 Sydney Cup over two miles.
Less than an hour after seeing champion mare Winx bow out in glory, Waller commented of SHRAAOH, “The team in the northern hemisphere said he was twice the horse on a dry track and he proved that today.” Jockey Jay Ford added, “He is a good horse, he’s certainly a good stayer and it was a deserved win as he’s been racing consistently.”
The Aga Khan Studs enjoyed a fine weekend with a total of seven successes in Ireland and France, highlighted by the Group victories of TARNAWA, HAZAPOUR and HAMARIYNA.
TARNAWA set the ball rolling at Naas on Saturday, when securing a game success against her elders in the Gr.3 Blue Wind Stakes for trainer Dermot Weld and jockey Chris Hayes. Already placed twice at Listed level, the daughter of Shamardal and Listed victrix Tarana (Cape Cross) could now be aimed towards the Epsom Oaks.
The famous green and red silks scored a hat-trick on Sunday at Leopardstown, including Group successes for HAZAPOUR and HAMARIYNA, who both hail from the same illustrious family of dual Derby hero and young sire Harzand (SEA THE STARS). Fifth in the Epsom Derby last year, HAZAPOUR (Shamardal) was dropped back to a mile and scored his second Group win when lifting the Gr.3 Amethyst Stakes by two and a half lengths. Winning trainer Dermot Weld commented: “It looks as if a mile could be his trip. It’s onwards and upwards for him now.”
The progressive HAMARIYNA (Sea The Moon) stepped up from her maiden win last month to score in the Gr.3 Derrinstown Stud 1000 Guineas Trial on her first Stakes attempt. The half-sister to Group 3 and Listed winner Hunaina does not hold an entry in the Curragh Classic but looks sure to improve further and trainer Michael Halford will now consider all options.
The third winner for the Aga Khan Studs at Leopardstown came thanks to Baladiya who shed her maiden tag in the opening contest over six furlongs. The filly is a daughter of Pivotal and Group 3 runner-up Balansiya (Shamardal).
At Longchamp, the lightly-raced four-year-old Shendeliya stretched away from the opposition in the competitive Prix du Palais des Glaces handicap to win her second race in just five outings. By Pivotal, Shendeliya is out of Group 3 winner Shemiyla (Dalakhani), and her great-granddam is the prolific Prix de Diane heroine Shemaka. Trained by Alain de Royer-Dupré, Shendeliya looks likely to progress to Stakes company in the near future.
Still in France, provincial scorers Sadiqa (Poet’s Voice) and Sagama (Sinndar), who both represent the prestigious Lagardère bloodline of Sagamix and Sagacity, completed a fine weekend for the Aga Khan Studs silks.
Aga Khan Studs sires enjoyed their share of success, thanks to Raa Atoll who offered Gilltown Stud stallion SEA THE STARS his 100th Stakes success when lifting the Gr.2 Oleander-Rennen in Germany.
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar hailed the new facilities at the Curragh as the track's official opening ceremony took place during racing on Sunday.
The centrepiece of the redeveloped racecourse is the Aga Khan Stand, which can cater for up to 6,000 people over four levels, and the Aga Khan himself was on hand to take part in the celebrations.
As well as the stand, the two-year project has yielded refurbished stable yards and parade ring, as well as bespoke facilities including conference capabilities and restaurants. The gallops which are located across the Curragh plains have been upgraded too.
The historic Queen's Room, which was relocated as a standalone feature and reassembled block by block from the old stand, now overlooks the large parade ring.
Varadkar said: "The Curragh has always played an important part in the story of our country and, thanks to this new development, we can be confident that it will play an important role in our future as well.
"The Curragh has gained much more than a new stand. This is a complete redevelopment which will match the best in the world.
"The Government, through Horse Racing Ireland, invested over E36 million in this project, about 40% of the total cost, because we recognised the significance of the Curragh to Irish society.
"I would like to congratulate everyone involved in this two-year project. Irish racing fans have long been able to see some of the very best racehorses in the world compete here. Now, thanks to this development, the facilities on this side of the running rail will match the action on the track."
Irish Racing’s Brave New World
Sunday, May 26, 2019 at 1:35 pm | Back to: Europe, Shared News Europe
Updated: May 26, 2019 at 1:43 pm
HH The Aga Khan and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar officially open the new Curragh racecourse | Racing Post
By Emma Berry
KILDARE, Ireland — “Today belongs to those from overseas,” proclaimed commentator Jerry Hannon as Beshaayir (GB) crossed the line in front in the G2 Lanwades Stud S., hard on the heels of two other fellow British-trained winners of the day’s group races, including the first of the Irish Classics for 2019.
But that was Saturday. Twenty-four hours later, as the official opening of the magnificent new facilities at the Curragh was staged in breezy sunshine, it was a different story altogether. Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arrived to a brass band welcome, highlighting the strong link between the Irish government and one of the country’s most important sectors of industry, encompassing sport, agriculture and tourism alike. It’s a relationship which is undoubtedly the envy of many fellow European nations whose once-proud racing traditions are in danger of being reduced to irrelevance while struggling for political recognition.
“The Curragh is the keeper of Ireland’s racing traditions and this place is home to some of our biggest social and sporting occasions,” said Leo Varadkar in his address before the unveiling of the Aga Khan Stand, so named in honour of one of Europe’s biggest owner-breeders whose great investment in the sport in Ireland extends to his multi-million-euro donation to the Turf Club back in 2003 in order to spark plans for a major redevelopment of the country’s premier racecourse. It may have been a long time coming but, like all good things, it was worth the wait.
More special for those at the heart of the Irish racing industry would have been the fact that His Highness the Aga Khan made a rare public appearance to attend the Curragh opening while his homebred filly Siyarafina (Fr) was winning the G1 Prix Saint-Alary over at another newly refreshed racecourse, ParisLongchamp.
At the Curragh, six different home trainers shared the spoils, though of course the day’s major prizes went the way of that one-man advertisement for Irish excellence, Aidan O’Brien, who unleashed an exciting juvenile prospect for Royal Ascot in Arizona (Ire) and brought Hermosa (Ire) on from her Newmarket triumph to land the Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas in front of a number of the country’s leading politicians.
As the Taoiseach pointed to the importance of racing’s near-€2 billion contribution to the Irish economy, not to mention almost 30,000 jobs, he paid tribute to those whose work has contributed to a vibrant new racecourse. It might not, in its infancy, please all of the people all of the time, especially those who cut their teeth at the old course, but it should be given the chance to prove that it can take racing in the sport’s heartland into an important new era.
He said, “The Curragh has gained much more than just a new stand. This is a complete redevelopment and you now have facilities here to match the best in the world. It has always played an important part in the story of our country. This is a sacred place and truly is Ireland’s ancient east. Today it is an acknowledged centre of excellence in every aspect of the Thoroughbred industry, at the heart of Kildare, Ireland’s Thoroughbred county.”
All international sporting venues must welcome victory for foreign challengers to remain truly relevant. Saturday may have belonged to those from overseas, but Sunday was Ireland’s day.[B]
Horse Racing Ireland confirm final Curragh cost at €81.2m
State invested €36m toward redevelopment of Kildare track
Brian O'Connor at the Curragh
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the Aga Khan officially open the new facilities and the Aga Khan Grandstand during day two of the Curragh Spring Festival. Photograph: PA Wire
Horse Racing Ireland has clarified the final cost of redeveloping the Curragh racecourse, officially opened by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Sunday, at 81.2 million, almost 25 per cent more than originally projected.
An original budget of €65 million, made up of private investors and state finance, was announced when the extensive redevelopment was announced in 2015. That budget rose to €72 million in 2017 and no official confirmation of costs was issued before Sunday’s opening.
When the Taoiseach formally opened the newly named Aga Khan stand at the official launch of the facility an accompanying official press release quoted him as saying: “The government, through Horse Racing Ireland, invested €36 million in this project, about 40 per cent of the total cost, because we recognised the significance of the Curragh to Irish society.”
Those figures suggested a final cost of €90 million although HRI’s chief executive Brian Kavanagh afterwards said the 40 per cent calculation was incorrect.
“The overall cost is €81.2 million and we [HRI] have put in €36 million,” he said. “I can categorically say it didn’t cost €90 million.”
Kavanagh insisted HRI’s contribution was value for money for the State and that the budget overrun should be calculated from when the €72 million figure was reached when the tender process finished.
He suggested extra costs on such a extensive project were always likely and confirmed that fixing the parade ring, which had been too small to cater for big fields, cost €500,000 alone.
“The focus up to now has been on getting the development finished. We have work to do on engagement, but at least now you’re happy to invite people here,” Kavanagh said.
“We’ve had international racing visitors here who’ve been wowed by the place,” he added.
Sunday’s opening was attended by the Aga Khan, as well as the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, and featured a fly-past by Air Corps jets.
The weekend was a memorable one in both France and Ireland as the blue-blooded SIYARAFINA and ZARKALLANI shone at Longchamp and The Curragh opened its new grandstand, named in honour of H.H. the Aga Khan.
SIYARAFINA, who had been so impressive in winning her first two outings this spring, confirmed all of her promise with a comfortable success in the Group 1 Prix Saint Alary on Sunday. The filly becomes a record eighth winner of this Group 1 contest for the Aga Khan Studs and she will now attempt to follow in the footsteps of her forebears ZAINTA (1998) and SARAFINA (2010) who both completed the Prix Saint Alary / Prix de Diane double. Now unbeaten in three races, SIYARAFINA is a three-quarter sister to leading French sire SIYOUNI, as she is by Pivotal and out of SIYENICA (AZAMOUR), a Listed-winning half-sister to the Haras de Bonneval stallion.
The fabulous bloodline of ZARKAVA was in the limelight in the opening contest at Longchamp as ZARKALLANI, a son of Invincible Spirit and the exceptional Arc heroine, opened his account in fine style on his first attempt over ten furlongs. ZARKALLANI is a half-brother to young Haras de Bonneval sire ZARAK, winner of the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.
At The Curragh on Sunday, the new racecourse grandstand was officially opened by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and H.H. the Aga Khan, whose name it carries. Indeed, the redevelopment project was initiated by His Highness who stated in his speech at the Moyglare dinner in 2000: "The Curragh racecourse [...] deserves to be resuscitated not by the implementation of unavoidable improvements only, but a dramatic new grand plan.
"Irish racing should mark the beginning of this new century by honouring the Curragh with the best in environmental respect, the most forward-looking response to the needs of modern racing, and the creation of a new economic resource for the benefit of all within its catchment area."
The €81 million development has been widely praised as an excellent facility, and it was fitting that SONAIYLA, a daughter of Dark Angel from the family of dual Derby and Arc hero SINNDAR, opened her account on the Saturday card at The Curragh.
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