Tuesday 3 May 2011
Aga Khan representatives in Ireland and France enjoyed a busy and positive weekend of Stakes action. In addition to the Curragh victory of lightly-raced EMIYNA, SARAFINA’s excellent second in the Gr 1 Prix Ganay bodes well for the future, as does SHAMANOVA’s runner-up spot in the Gr 3 Prix Allez France and Zabarajad’s fast finishing surge to fill the same position in the Listed EBF Tetrarch Stakes.
EMIYNA (Maria’s Mon) continued her smooth upward curve of progress when maintaining the upper hand to secure the Gr 3 EBF Athasi Stakes (7f) on her first attempt in Group company and against older mares. After a fifth place on her sole outing as a juvenile, EMIYNA has now won both races as a three-year-old and will now be stepped up in grade once again to tackle the Gr 1 Irish 1000 Guineas back at the Curragh on 22nd May. The progressive filly is from a high-class Aga Khan family, being out of Sinndar mare Ebaza who is a half-sister to Group 1 scorers Ebadiyla, Edabiya and Enzeli. She is also entered in the Epsom Oaks.
On the same bank holiday card at the Curragh, fellow John Oxx-trained three-year-old Zabarajad (Invincible Spirit) finished best of all to take second place in the Listed EBF Tetrarch Stakes, also over seven furlongs. Zabarajad was making his seasonal debut and had not been seen on a racecourse since his third place behind subsequent Gr 1 National Stakes hero Pathfork (Distorted Humor) at the Curragh last July. The grandson of Poule d’Essai des Pouliches winner Zalaiyka is certain to have more improvement to come and he holds an engagement in the Irish 2000 Guineas.
2010 Prix de Diane winner and Arc third SARAFINA (Refuse to Bend) made her eagerly awaited return to the track at Longchamp on Saturday, staying on bravely to secure second place behind Planteur (Danehill Dancer) in the 1m 2½ furlong Prix Ganay. Alain de Royer Dupré’s charge appeared as talented as ever at four years old and she should be a force to be reckoned with in mile and a half contests throughout the season.
Still in France, SHAMANOVA (Danehill Dancer) also proved on Monday that she had made the transition from three to four years old with no difficulty. Dropped back to ten furlongs for her seasonal debut, SHAMANOVA took time to engage top gear but then finished strongly in second behind Announce (Selkirk) in the Gr 3 Prix Allez France. SHAMANOVA thoroughly deserves a Group victory, having now filled the runner-up spot on four occasions in Group 2 and Group 3 company.
Updated on 03/05/2011.