Aga Khan, big winner in Cycling Club reform

Magazine / 08.06. 2022

It’s no secret that the prince and his entourage are among the most cynical about shortening the French Derby. However, this new format has been very profitable for them. And this long before the victory of Vadeni !

By Adrien Cugnasse

Princess Aga Khan is very famous in France. His coat is one of the last survivors, at a high level, of the equestrian golden age. And so it represents continuity in a universe where sustainability is a concept familiar to many people’s hearts. Costume races are part of this tradition. Our program gives them pride of place: even when we were 300 meters from the Cycling Club, France is still today the country (along with Germany) in Europe with the highest percentage of people Black skin above 2,000m and above is the highest. Private breeding is built around this goal: to stick to the French program and win its big races. Therefore, we expect it to illuminate more above 2,400m than above 2,100m. However, the reality is completely different…


Two important characters

Aga Khan’s achievement in the Jockey Club is doubled since the reform.

Zaraksecond in the Jockey Club over 2,100m, made a notable debut at stud with 15.1% black for starters. It is the leader of its generation in Europe by this criterion.



Since the reshuffle of the Jockey Club 18 years ago, Aga Khan’s students – or the product of his stallions bred by other breeders – have climbed the podium nine times in the race. Classic over 2,100m. For comparison, in 18 publications between 1987 and 2004, their score was four podiums. In about the same amount of time, so it’s twice as good!

But how to be surprised when you know the success of this crossbreeding and its males in Diane? A super classic over 2,100m where the “red-green ponies” dominate the award list with seven wins (since 1987) without forgetting two podiums and five stalls products. “Aga” was born outside and who finished in the top three… That’s a total of 14 “in the know” over 36 editions.

Siyouni (Pivotal), the standard-bearer of the house, is a steed the whole world envies. Apparently, its product has 2,100m to the foot as soon as mom has a minimal outfit. Classic performance of Laurens (Diana 2018), Volta (3 .)e from Diane 2016), Saint Mark’s Basilica (Jockey Club 2021) or even Sottsass (Jockey Club 2019) testify to this.

Siyouni is a very fast horse, but is ultimately not an exception in the history of his breeder. In the past, among the best stallions bred by Aga Khan Studs, some were dressed horses (such as Darshaan Where charlottesville), but many people have shown a little or even a lot of “speed”, like Zeddaan (Robert Papin Prize, Poule d’Essai, Wood Prize, etc.), Kalamun (Chicken, Jacques Le Marois, etc.), Kaldoun (pine price), Nasrullah (Coventry shares, etc.), mahmoud (Champagne shares, etc.)… The list is not exhaustive.

On both boards

For a long time, edible prey worked, but domestic stallions were less efficient. More recently, it was the sirs stationed with the prince that held the upper hand in the classics (Sea the Stars, Siyouni…), while the silks had a less successful period. If the trend observed last Sunday continues, perhaps for the first time in a long time “Aga” will enjoy equal success in both terms: calibration and competition. A situation that everyone dreams of but very few achieve. We must credit Aga Khan Studs for being able to self-renew in terms of correction, for example by forging partnerships with the outside world (Makfi, Charm Spirit, etc.), even when it doesn’t work in every coup (Redoute’s Choice etc.), however, was able to have in their wall a very cool international steed like Sea the Stars (Nose of the Cross). Likewise, cooperation, which was not necessarily a family tradition in the past, has partly ensured Siyouni’s success and that of its present day. Zarak (Dubawi).

The Rise of Zarak

If he doesn’t cross the path with a champion like Almanzor (whose mother is “Aga”!), Zarak should have won the 2,100m Equestrian Club. It’s funny to remember that for part of his mother’s career, Zarkava (Zamindar), a stout person with so much speed, observers wonder if she can go 2,400m… Your Majesty of Zarak, Dubai (Dubai Millennium), failed to hold third place and was eight stages behind promoter (Montjeu) during the Derby due to lack of costumes. Zarak has proven he has 2,400m legs, just like his mother, notably winning the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (Gr1). At the stud, his supply of documents was completed in record time. Offered at 15,000 euros per service at the start, he makes up 10% of the first generation’s 76 children born to dance. Therefore, they could not help their father shine on the premises. Besides, Zarak didn’t always have the top mare. So four of his eight blacks don’t come from smashers who’ve lost their fatness in racing or at the racecourse.

How to locate this data? Let’s take a first example with a stallion, Churchill (Galileo), the first male of this generation to present the classic winner at an altitude of more than 1,600m. He starts at 35,000 euros and nine of his ten blacks are (so far) the product of fat mothers through their own operations or their own production. Another example allows to compare him with a French stallion that started on the same stud farm. When the first Siyouni finished the season 3 years old, the stallion had 14.3% black on each starter. While there is still a lot of fat to gain over the next six months, Zarak is already at 15.1% with the first crop at 3yos. No one knows what will happen between now and this winter, but the numbers are very promising for Bonneval’s young male. And it was sold out for a very long time! wished VadeniChurchill’s son, the same fate as he entered the school…

Post-it: Our Practical Advice

Good stats… A sure shot for the future?

To understand the enthusiasm around Zarak, you have to go back to 2021. With 11.6% black and 25% winners going to runners, the young male took the mix by surprise. With thoroughbred stallions, he offered a profile to give out for 3 years. The proverb says that when a horse wins at 2 years old, either an early horse or a pawn surpasses its caste…or both! From then on, public opinion stirred. However, do males with “super” stats in the first season need to be confirmed after that? And should we systematically condemn a colt that doesn’t score statistically?

The answer is no. The numbers are flattering, this means that the young breeder passed the first test. As a result, the level of uncertainty surrounding it has been significantly reduced. It is therefore an exciting time to send mares as young stallions are still financially accessible, which may no longer be the case if it confirms more of it next year.

If we look at first plant breeding of 2020, we find that mehmas (Congratulations) and New Bay (Dubawi), which combines the good odds of the winners and the good odds of the blacks, confirmed later.

In each case, it was imperative to study the genealogy of the mothers of their winners. Thereby, Wootton Bassett (Iffraaj), the reference stallion, had only 6.3% black at the end of the first season, however, the winning number was 37.5% sure. Attentive observers have noticed the weakness of some of the mares that produced these early winners. Under these conditions, in perspective, these numbers are very promising. And Wootton Bassett has since been confirmed more at 14.3%.


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