Monday 5 July 2021
SIYOUNI’s son St Mark’s Basilica eclipsed the high-class opposition to score a fourth consecutive Group 1 title in Saturday’s Eclipse Stakes, the highlight of a successful weekend for the Aga Khan Studs which also saw EBAIYRA take second place in the Grand Prix de Saint Cloud.
A top-level winner as a juvenile in the Dewhurst Stakes, St Mark’s Basilica is proving to be a sensation at three. Following his impressive French Classic double in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains and Prix du Jockey Club, the colt brushed aside his elders to lift the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown by three and a half lengths from multiple international Group 1 scorers Addeybb and Mishriff, and earned superlative comments from trainer Aidan O’Brien. “Ryan Moore couldn’t believe how well he quickened. He is just a lovely horse and lovely natured. He does everything right. He relaxes, quickens and puts his head down. For me and all the years I’ve trained horses I can’t remember having one like that. He is progressing all the time.”
Aidan O’Brien cited the International and Irish Champion Stakes as possible targets for the exceptional son of Bonneval sire SIYOUNI.
The Aga Khan Studs had a successful Sunday at Saint-Cloud, where four-time Group scorer EBAIYRA (Distorted Humor) was an excellent runner up in the Gr.1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud against the colts. The beautifully-bred daughter of Group 2 winner Ebiyza has demonstrated great versatility over various distances and her trainer Alain de Royer Dupré now intends to race over ten furlongs with the Gr.1 Prix Jean Romanet and Opéra likely objectives before a possible international campaign.
In the opening contest at Saint-Cloud, the progressive DARZAN (Le Havre) recorded his second win in as many outings with a stylish performance in the Class 1 Prix Quinette over a mile and a half. Trained by Mikel Delzangles, this gelding is out of a half-sister to Darkova, dam of Almanzor, and he will now step up to Stakes company.
Blue-blooded Vazir, by SIYOUNI and out of Group 1 winner Vazira (Sea The Stars), finished a promising second in the Prix du Val d’Enfer maiden and should soon open his account, as should the lightly-raced four-year-old Varkesha (Pivotal), runner-up in the Prix Carteret conditions contest. Two Aga Khan Studs graduates, Shannkiyr and Tashkhan, also respectively won at Saint-Cloud and Haydock over the weekend for their new connections.
Updated on 5 July 2021.