Monday 27 May 2019
The weekend was a memorable one in both France and Ireland as the blue-blooded SIYARAFINA and ZARKALLANI shone at Longchamp and The Curragh opened its new grandstand, named in honour of H.H. the Aga Khan.
SIYARAFINA, who had been so impressive in winning her first two outings this spring, confirmed all of her promise with a comfortable success in the Group 1 Prix Saint Alary on Sunday. The filly becomes a record eighth winner of this Group 1 contest for the Aga Khan Studs and she will now attempt to follow in the footsteps of her forebears ZAINTA (1998) and SARAFINA (2010) who both completed the Prix Saint Alary / Prix de Diane double. Now unbeaten in three races, SIYARAFINA is a three-quarter sister to leading French sire SIYOUNI, as she is by Pivotal and out of SIYENICA (AZAMOUR), a Listed-winning half-sister to the Haras de Bonneval stallion.
The fabulous bloodline of ZARKAVA was in the limelight in the opening contest at Longchamp as ZARKALLANI, a son of Invincible Spirit and the exceptional Arc heroine, opened his account in fine style on his first attempt over ten furlongs. ZARKALLANI is a half-brother to young Haras de Bonneval sire ZARAK, winner of the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.
At The Curragh on Sunday, the new racecourse grandstand was officially opened by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and H.H. the Aga Khan, whose name it carries. Indeed, the redevelopment project was initiated by His Highness who stated in his speech at the Moyglare dinner in 2000: "The Curragh racecourse [...] deserves to be resuscitated not by the implementation of unavoidable improvements only, but a dramatic new grand plan.
"Irish racing should mark the beginning of this new century by honouring the Curragh with the best in environmental respect, the most forward-looking response to the needs of modern racing, and the creation of a new economic resource for the benefit of all within its catchment area."
The €81 million development has been widely praised as an excellent facility, and it was fitting that SONAIYLA, a daughter of Dark Angel from the family of dual Derby and Arc hero SINNDAR, opened her account on the Saturday card at The Curragh.
Updated on 27/05/2019.