There had been a brief hiccup in the run
of success the weekend previous to Prince Aly Khan's
death on the 12th of May, 1960, including the short-head defeat
of Sheshoon by Le Loup Garou in the Prix du Cadran. However,
everything quickly reverted to normal and the wins occurred
with marvellous 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.
who had been bred in County Kildare, was the first French
Derby winner bred outside of France. Capping a marvellous
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. Over the next sixteen years the Aga
Khan trained exclusively in France with François Mathet
taking over control of the stable from Alec Head in 1964.
During this period the numbers of horses in training ranged
from 54 to 94. In those early years, His Highness had a number
of very fast horses including Silver
Shark whose eight Group race victories included (at 2
years) the Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp and the Prix du Petit
Couvert. In both instances he took on and beat older horses
over five furlongs.
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