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The Aga Khan Stars Also Shine

Sea the Stars has rightfully dominated the headlines from Europe but the other story of the weekend was the remarkable performance of horses bred and owned by the Aga Khan.

We'll start with the 2½ mile Prix du Cadran (gr. I), which went to Alandi (TrueNicks A), who is by Galileo out of the stakes winning Darshaan mare, Aliya, and is one of no less than five stakes winners bred on this precise cross. In direct female line, Alandi goes all the way back to the late Aga Khan foundation mare Mumtaz Mahal, a yearling purchase of 1922.

From the same branch of the Mumtaz Mahal family as the mighty Shergar (a half-brother to her granddam) comes the Prix de l'Opera (gr. I) winner Shalanaya. She is by the German Nijinsky II line horse, Lomitas (by Niniski), out of the Nashwan mare Shalamantika. This is a version of the Nijinsky II/Blushing Groom cross that has worked very well for Niniski sons over Nashwan, with three other stakes winners (rated A++).

In the seven furlong Prix de la Foret (gr. I), Varenar, benefitted from favorite Goldikova having chased a blistering early pace from the 14 hole. By Rock of Gibraltar (who also had an Australia grade I winner at the weekend) Varenar is out of the Mr. Prospector mare, Visor. She was a Lagardere import, and her dam is half-sister to ill-fated Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) victor, Swale. This is also the family of Mr. Prospector's son, Forty Niner.

Aga-Khan breds also took both of the group I juvenile events on offer. The Prix Marcel Boussac (gr. I) went to Rosanara (TrueNicks A++), a daughter of Sinndar (an Aga Khan-bred who won the English and Irish Derbys and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe) she is out of another Lagardere mare. This is Rosawa, a daughter of Lagardere's great sire, Linamix. Like many other Lagardere imports from the U.S., the family is a little light, but goes back to a good foundation, as Rosawa's third dam is Stellarette, a graded stakes winning daughter of the great tap-root mare, Kamar.

The two-year-old colts race, the appropriately-named Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (gr. I) went to another product of a Lagardere family, Siyouni. He is by Pivotal out of Sichilla, by Danehill. Rated TrueNicks A+, Siyouni is the third group winner for Pivotal out of a Danehill mare, the others being Irish 1,000 Guineas (gr. I) victress, Saoire, and Buzzword, a group three winner, who finished third to Siyouni here.

An Aga Khan weekend winner with an entirely Lagardere pedigree is Manighar (by Linamix out of the Rubiano mare, Mintly Fresh). A brother to group winner Minatlya (TrueNicks rated A+), Manighar is another with a fairly light U.S. pedigree that goes back to a top-mare, in his case the fourth dam, Politely, winner of the Delaware Handicap, and two renewals of both the Matchmaker Stakes and Firenze Handicap.

Finally, we have Daryakana, winner of the Prix de Royallieu (gr. II), who is by Selkirk, out of the French Oaks winner, Daryaba, a daughter of Night Shift (TrueNicks A) from a Marcel Boussac family.


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I have to disagree with your description of Manighar's family as 'fairly light'. Mintly Fresh was a SP (at Santa Anita) winner and all of her half-siblings to race were above average winners (SSI more than 1). Her dam Mintly was a SP winning half-sister to G1 winner Minstrel's Lassie. And the next dam Syriasly was a half-sister to group/graded-placed SWs Northerly (sire of G1 winner Cupecoy's Joy) and Salutely (a successful Maryland sire).

IMHO, a 'light' family would consist of mares who produced numerous unraced horses, non-winners, or below average winners, no stakes horses, or maybe SP at cheap tracks. Or the frequently-seen mare who has one good SW, then the rest of her foals are unraced or placed at best.

Ann in Lexington 08 Oct 2009 10:06 AM

Hi Ann,

Perhaps I'd redefine that to say it was a fairly light catalog page in commercial terms, especially with the last major winner being in 1987. However, I would that it remained a solid racehorse family, even though Mintly Fresh was the only black-type for her dam, who in turn gained her black-type place in an overnight stakes.

Funnily enough, this was a typical Lagardere mare. A decent runner from a family which had been a little quiet recently - which kept them in budget - but going back to a good tap-root.

Alan Porter 08 Oct 2009 8:49 PM

Outstanding article Alan...I really enjoy reading your family commentary.  Keep up the great work!!!

I was lucky enough to attend the races this weekend at Longchamp and have to say the most impressive performance of the weekend was on Saturday from the filly Daryakana.  She exploded when called on for her run.  She ran by us so fast that the hairs on my neck stood out.  People were still talking about her on Sunday after the races.  What an amazing weekend of racing! :)              

Ryan 08 Oct 2009 10:19 PM

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