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Cumani pays tribute to 'a great horse' after Kahyasi dies aged 23.

Byline: By Lee Mottershead

KAHYASI, described yesterday as "a great horse and great friend" by Luca Cumani, the trainer who 20 years ago guided him to Derby victories at Epsom and the Curragh, has died aged 23.

The Aga Khan's third Derby winner, who was still undertaking stallion duties last week, was put down at his ownerbreeder's French stud after being diagnosed with a debilitating tumour.

Georges Rimaud, spokesman for the Aga Khan in France, said: "We were obliged to put an end to his pain."

As well as siring five Group 1 winners, Kahyasi achieved huge success as a dam-sire, principally this year through the outstanding Zarkava, who emulated him by completing a Classic double of her own in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches and Prix de Diane.

However, it is as a racehorse that Kahyasi will be best remembered.

At Epsom, where he famously sported the green and brown hooped silks of the Aga Khan's grandfather and predecessor, Kahyasi led inside the final furlong and was driven out by Ray Cochrane for a length-and-a-half defeat of Glacial Storm.

From Epsom he went to the Curragh and followed up in the Irish Derby, where he sustained an injury during the race but still dug deep to beat Insan by a short head.

In so doing, Kahyasi became the Aga Khan's second dual Derby winner in three years, following the example of Shahrastani in 1986.

Kahyasi never won again, finishing second in the Prix Niel and sixth, beaten only two lengths, to Tony Bin in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

"It's the end of an era," said Cumani yesterday. "I owe the horse a lot. He was a great horse and a great friend, and the easiest horse in the world to train. He was so relaxed and so professional as a racehorse, and as a sire he has been very underrated; as a broodmare sire he was excellent."

Cumani added: "It was amazing to win my first Derby with him and very much the fulfilment of a dream, especially as I was still relatively young.

"He was brave enough to follow up in the Irish Derby despite getting struck into during the race. Because of that, he had to be given a heavy dose of antibiotics, and for a month he was very poorly. He never really recovered from that."

In similar vein, Cochrane said: "He was an absolute gentleman and a perfect little horse. He never put a foot wrong and carried me round beautifully in the Derby.

"If he hadn't been injured in the Irish Derby, we would have seen a better horse in the autumn, as we really fancied him for the Arc."

As well as being a fine sire of Flat horses - his offspring included the 1999 Ascot Gold Cup winner Enzeli - Kahyasi achieved success with jumpers, most notably triple Nakayama Grand Jump winner Karasi and this year's World Hurdle runner-up Kasbah Bliss


Kahyasi with Luca Cumani in the Epsom winner's enclosure after the colt's victory in the Derby
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Jun 15, 2008
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