Wednesday 18 February 2009
Aga Khan graduates look set to be particularly well-represented at next month’s Cheltenham Festival, with more leading hopes demonstrating their talents in England and Ireland last weekend.
The three AK winners in England were headed by the highly-esteemed ASHKAZAR. The runner-up in the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle at last year’s Festival booked his ticket for the Champion Hurdle with victory in the Gr 2 Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton. On the same card, Sinndar’s son SHAMARI lifted the Salisbury Novices’ Hurdle, his second win since travelling to England last autumn. Serabad is on course for the Coral Cup at Cheltenham after taking a handicap hurdle at Ascot from the useful Lough Derg.
Kasbah Bliss, a son of the late Bonneval sire Kahyasi, confirmed his place as favourite for the Gr 1 World Hurdle when winning Haydock’s Gr 2 Rendlesham Hurdle in good style. This was the first outing over jumps for Kasbah Bliss since his win in the Gr 3 Prix Gladiateur and fourth in the Gr 1 Prix du Cadran at Longchamp last autumn.
Meanwhile at Leopardstown a trio of ex-AK horses performed with great credit in Graded events over timber. Ebadiyan and Mourad finished a close second and third in the Gr 2 Spring Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle and could both now be Triumph Hurdle bound. Zarinava took third place in the Gr 1 Deloitte Novices’ Hurdle and she carries an entry in the Gr 1 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
The Aga Khan stable has made a pleasing start to the flat season in France with three winners from three runners. Three-year-old Sagarian made a winning debut at Bordeaux on Sunday and stablemate Vayla, who was second on her only previous appearance, opened her account at Salon de Provence on Friday. NIZAMABAD also opened nicely his account on his second start at Cagnes sur Mer.
Updated on 18/02/2009