A New Partnership With François Mathet

The Aga Khan with François Mathet, trainer of numerous Classic winners for him
Blushing Groom, an outstanding foal purchase and winner of four successive Group I two-year-old races in France


A New Partnership With François Mathet

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.

Now he surprised many pundits by staying a mile in the mud at Longchamp to take the Poule d’Essai des Poulains on his first run of the year.

Five years later, Kalamoun, who formed part of Zeddaan’s first crop gave the Aga Khan his second win in what is the French equivalent of the 2,000 Guineas.. Kalamoun, a product of the Mumtaz Mahal family, stayed further than his sire, scoring next time out in the Prix Lupin at ten and a half furlongs, an event for which Allez France was the odds-on favourite.

Blushing Groom must be considered the best of the Aga Khan’s seven Poule d’Essai des Poulains winners to date. In 1976 he accomplished something only one two-year-old had ever done before when he won the four juvenile championship races, the Prix Robert Papin, Prix Morny, Prix de la Salamandre and the Grand Critérium. Though J O Tobin was rated 5 lbs superior to any of his English contemporaries in the Free Handicap, he mounted no serious challenge to Blushing Groom who won the Critérium by four lengths.

The Poule d’Essai des Poulains also proved a simple task. A seven race winning sequence was finally broken when Blushing Groom found the distance of the Epsom Derby just beyond him and settled for 3rd place behind The Minstrel. It was still a splendid run for a son of Red God, whose progeny shone over distances up to a mile.