Tuesday 26 January 2016
The roots of the Aga Khan family’s interest in thoroughbreds are anchored in India, where the ancestors of the current Aga Khan enjoyed racing in the 19th century. Recent statistics, which reveal that the Aga Khan Studs are once again to the fore in India, are therefore particularly rewarding.
Young stallions ARAZAN and VARENAR occupy the first and third places of the first-season sires standings, while the maternal line of foundation mare Mumtaz Mahal tops the leading family table.
ARAZAN hails from a family with proven stallion potential. By top French sire Anabaa, he is a half-brother to Gr. 1 sire Azamour, out of a half-sister to the talented and multiple Gr.1 winner Astarabad. ARAZAN showed huge promise on the track for John Oxx, winning the Gr. 2 Futurity Stakes and taking third in the Gr. 1 National Stakes before his career was plagued by illness as a three-year-old. He was retired in 2010 and joined Poonawalla Stud in India. The sire was responsible for 33 individual winners of 56 races from 72 runners in the 2014/2015 season, for earnings more than double those of the second-placed stallion in the list. ARAZAN’s best progeny to date is Eternal Flame, successful in the Gr. 1 Fillies Championship Stakes at Bangalore in June, and in a pair of Gr. 3 events. He is also sire of Bold Command, a dual Gr. 3 winner and runner-up in the Gr. 1 Mysore Derby, as well as Gr. 1 Pune Derby third Bold Appeal.
Fellow Aga Khan Studs graduate VARENAR takes third place in the first-season sires standings, with 18 successes from his 37 progeny to race. The winner of the Gr. 1 Prix de la Forêt, by Rock of Gibraltar, is a half-brother to five Stakes performers, most notably Gr. 2 Prix Greffulhe scorer and Epsom Derby fifth Visindar (Sinndar), and he stands at Equus Stud.
Purchased in Newmarket in 1922, Mumtaz Mahal has played an influential role in the Aga Khan Studs European operation as head of the line which produced the exceptional Petite Etoile and later on, champion racemare Zarkava. The celebrated foundation mare’s blood also runs strongly in the Indian Studbook, in the veins of talented mares such as Zafayra and To The Manor Born. The family was honoured as the leading maternal line in India for the 2014/2015 season, with 94 successes for the 113 descendants of Mumtaz Mahal to race during the season, and on 23rd January, Angel Dust, who represents the same origin, lifted the Gr. 1 Bangalore Derby.
Updated on 26/01/2016.