Group 1 treble for Enzeli's dam; Gold Cup hero gives owner-breeder his third major prize in space of five days.
But, make no mistake, there is plenty of life in this supposed quaint anachronism, which the heretics (who call themselves purists) characterise as a contest for misfits, a kind of consolation prize for those who were not in the queue when Mother Nature distributed the speed.
The institution that was founded in 1807, that has in its time produced one walkover, six matches and 17 three-horse races, has featured record-sized fields in the last two renewals - 16 last year, 17 this.
It is not just the spectators who love to witness a test of old-fashioned stamina. The top owners and breeders, sportsmen who acknowledge that this is one Group 1 event that provides no passport to stud riches, are keener than ever to challenge for the kudos and prize-money, despite the fact that the latter nowadays lags behind the rewards for the St James's Palace and the Coronation.
This year, shades of yore, there was even a Classic winner in Nedawi, plus three other previous Group 1 heroes in Celeric, Invermark and Kayf Tara. And they, like all the rest, were comprehensively beaten by Enzeli, who this time a year ago was still waiting to notch his first wins at Down Royal and Roscommon.
Enzeli crowned a wonderful week for the Aga Khan, who was collecting his third Group 1 triumph in the space of five days, after Daryaba in the Prix de Diane and Sendawar in the St James's Palace Stakes. The two Ascot scorers were both out of mares by Darshaan, now more firmly established than ever as Europe's foremost active broodmare sire.
Enzeli completed another treble by becoming the third produce of his dam, Ebaziya, to win at Group 1 level. In the history of the Pattern (dating from 1971) only 11 other mares have bred three individual Group 1 winners. Ebaziya emulates Alidiva (dam of Taipan, Ali-Royal and Sleepytime), previously the only one to have achieved the feat with her first three foals, and she is unique in having done so with the progeny of three different sires.
Ebaziya went to stud in 1993, when her first mate was Sadler's Wells; the produce was Ebadiyla, winner of the Irish Oaks and the Prix Royal-Oak. Her next mate was her owner's dual Derby winner Kahyasi, with Enzeli as the late-developing result. The outcome of her third mating, with Rainbow Quest, was Edabiya, who took the Moyglare Stud Stakes last season.
There is a Suave Dancer colt, Ezbek, who will have the task of extending the sequence, and two Sadler's Wells products - a yearling son and a weanling daughter, to follow.
Ebaziya descends on both sides of her pedigree from Tourzima, a mare bred by Marcel Boussac on his favourite Tourbillon-Asterus cross, and at the time of the Aga's purchase of the bankrupt textile tycoon's stock, the family was numerously represented in the stud.
The branch from Tourzima's daughter Albanilla via the Marsyas mare Marilla prospered swiftly and famously, delivering such as Darshaan (Prix du Jockey-Club) and his half-sister Darara (Prix Vermeille).
Another offshoot from Albanilla, through the unraced Dan Cupid mare Evisa, fared less well, and the Ela-Mana-Mou filly Ezana was no great advertisement for it, having to make a trip to Rouen to score her only success.
The Aga sold Ezana after he had bred five fillies from her; he also sold four of those daughters. The one left with responsibility for reviving the family fortunes was Ebaziya, and who could have imagined that she would do so in quite such spectacular fashion?
In fact, Ebaziya was a pretty smart racemare. Whether it was the line-breeding to Albanilla, the impact of Darshaan, or just a fortuitous blend of genes, her form far surpassed that of her siblings.
She won her maiden and finished second at Group 3 level as a juvenile, and at three she collected three Listed wins from 10-12 furlongs, including the Oyster Stakes at Galway, the race in which Enzeli finished only third last year. She also featured in the frame after two Group 3 events, and gave her best display when third in the Blandford Stakes.
There are 15 three-year-olds or older sired by Kahyasi out of Darshaan mares; Enzeli and Zainta are both Group 1 winners, Shamadara won a Group 2 and nearly a Group 1. That looks like fair recommendation for the plan.
Kahyasi also has Group 1 and Group 3 winners out of mares by Darshaan's grandsire Mill Reef, so breeders should know what to do, but they are only just beginning to appreciate the stallion's merits.
To date, all eight of his Pattern winners have been bred by the Aga Khan, and according to the relevant Returns of Mares, his recent crops number only 14 three-year-olds, 20 two-year-olds and 30 yearlings. No fertility problem here - just sad neglect.
However, his latest two books have been larger and they will get larger still.
Don't be surprised if Enzeli proves he can excel over middle distances before too long.
Bred by H H Aga Khan. Won 5 (8-12f) of 7 starts, viz. 1 out of 1 at 2 years, 4 (inc. Derby Trial S.-Gr3, Derby S.-Gr1, Irish Derby-Gr1) out of 6 at 3 years. Also 2nd in Prix Niel, 6th (beaten 2 lengths) in Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Timeform 97p at 2, 130 at 3. Earned pounds 648,772.
Smallish (15.3hh), quite well-made, if not exactly imposing individual. Top-class performer, well suited by 12f, would have stayed further, acted on any ground. Admirably honest, with good - if not scintillating - powers of acceleration.
Well-bred. By a King George winner and effective (stamina-based) sire, out of a Listed winner from a solid, middle-distance, long-established Aga Khan family.
Stands at Gilltown Stud, Kilcullen, Co. Kildare, at a fee of Irpounds 5,000 (Oct 1). Sire of 8 crops of racing age, inc. notable winners: Massyar (Gr2), Shaiybara (Gr3), Bayrika (Gr3), Shemaran (Gr2), Shamadara (Gr2), Vereva (Prix de Diane-Gr1), Enzeli (Gold Cup-Gr1), Zainta (Prix Saint-Alary-Gr1, Prix de Diane-Gr1).
Bred by H H Aga Khan. Won 4 (7-12f) of 9 races, viz. 1 (7f Fairyhouse maiden) out of 3 at 2 years, 3 (all Listed, 10-12f) out of 6 at 3 years. Also 2nd in Killavullan S.-Gr3, 3rd (best form) in Blandford S.-Gr2. Earned pounds 39,976. Timeform 97 at 2, 111 at 3.
Robust-looking, smart performer. Well suited by 12f, presumably needed softish ground and never raced on fast.
By a top-class runner, very good sire and outstanding broodmare sire. Dam minor middle-distance winner in France, half-sister to Gr3 winner Demia, from a noted (formerly Boussac) family. Interestingly bred, sire's fourth dam being also dam's 3rd dam.
To stud at 4 and dam of: Ebadiyla (1994 f by Sadler's Wells; dual Gr1 winner), Enzeli (1995 c by Kahyasi; Gr1 winner), Edabiya (1996 f by Rainbow Quest; Gr1 winner), Ezbek (1997 c by Suave Dancer; unraced, will resume training with John Oxx). Her yearling is a colt by Sadler's Wells, her foal a filly by Sadler's Wells, and she is in foal to Rainbow Quest.
A high-class pedigree, by a dual Derby winner (under-rated as a sire) out of a good racemare with an impeccable breeding record from an excellent family. Capable of good acceleration, and may not need extreme distances.
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|Publication:||The Racing Post (London, England)|
|Date:||Jun 22, 1999|
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