Monday 18 June 2012
The Aga Khan Studs demonstrated once again the quality of their breeding and racing system in France’s premier fillies’ Classic on Sunday with the smooth success of VALYRA. She recorded a record seventh victory in the Prix de Diane for the famous green and red silks during the last 20 years, and represents a complete racing and breeding consecration as VALYRA is by Gilltown Stud sire Azamour.
Unbeaten in two outings prior to the Diane, VALYRA was supplemented into the Group 1 contest by trainer Jean-Claude Rouget following a three-length win at Chantilly in May. The handler’s confidence paid off as VALYRA was patiently ridden by Johnny Murtagh who settled the filly towards the rear of the field before an electric burst of acceleration in the straight enabled her to collar favourite Beauty Parlour in the final furlong.
Fellow Aga Khan colour-bearer Dalkala (Giant’s Causeway) finished well to take fifth place while Gr 1 Prix Saint-Alary winner Sagawara (Shamardal) did not perform up to her best level on this occasion.
Following the victory, Jean-Claude Rouget paid tribute to the late Jean-Luc Lagardère, whose breeding operation is the origin of the maternal line of VALYRA. H.H. the Aga Khan echoed these sentiments and evoked the continuity represented by the bloodlines of the Lagardère empire now within the Aga Khan Studs.
The owner added, « I had confidence in VALYRA’s ability as an athlete. She had already won well on this track and it is necessary to have an improving filly for this race, rather than one which has raced often. »
From the family of late Breeders’ Cup hero and sire Val Royal, VALYRA’s dam VALIMA (Linamix) was a Listed winner over 7 furlongs at Maisons-Laffitte. She has proved very effective in the paddocks as all three of her produce to date are black-type, with Valiyr (Alhaarth) a Listed winner and Valasyra (Sinndar) Stakes placed. She has a filly foal by Sea The Stars and is in foal to Acclamation.
Previous Aga Khan Studs winners of the Gr 1 Prix de Diane are:
Sarafina (2010 – Refuse To Bend),
ZARKAVA (2008 – Zamindar),
Daryaba (1999 – Night Shift),
Zainta (1998 – Kahyasi),
Vereva (1997 – Kahyasi),
Shemaka (1993 – Nishapour).
Updated on 18/06/2012.