ROUHIYA, a homebred for His Highness the Aga Khan, was given a patient ride by Maxime Guyon to triumph in the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches-French 1000 Guineas on Sunday.

Showing great acceleration, the three-year-old surged ahead of Kathmandu and Romantic Style a furlong from home, to claim a fifth win in this classic for His Highness the Aga Khan. Combined with the triumphs of Princess Zahra Aga Khan and Prince Aly Khan, it represented an eighth success for the Aga Khan family, equalling the record of Marcel Boussac and the Rothschild family.

Trainer Francis-Henri Graffard said after the race: “It took a long time to get her out this season, because she’s a real good-ground filly. However, she came on a bundle for [her seasonal debut] run. I really hesitated before committing to this race, but Princess Zahra said to me that there’s only one Poule d’Essai and that we should try our luck. It’s my first Group 1 for the Aga Khan and it’s a classic, with a filly I’ve always loved.”

Princess Zahra added: “Our breeding operation is currently enjoying great success with the likes of the stallions Zarak and Siyouni. This success is not a coincidence, it’s a long-term effort. It’s a game of chess with nature as my father likes to say, but this is what we are trying to do. On a personal level, seeing this family reborn is wonderful. The strain has been quiet for several generations, and seeing it come back is a very special feeling. It’s the reward for decades of work.”

By Lope De Vega (Shamardal), Rouhiya is the second foal out of the listed-placed Rondonia (Raven’s Pass). That mare won over a mile and 10 furlongs for Alain de Royer-Dupré, and is a half-sister to Group 2 Debutante Stakes winner Raydara (Rock Of Gibraltar). The origins of this family date back to the lines of Marcel Boussac, and it has also produced the Group 1 winners Ridasiyna (Motivator), Laurens (Siyouni) and Kinnaird (Dr Devious).

A bargain

Rondonia foaled a colt by Siyouni (Pivotal) this season and visited Sea The Stars (Cape Cross). She also has a two-year-old filly by Camelot (Montjeu) and a yearling filly by Sea The Moon (Sea The Stars). Last December, in a private transaction at Arqana for €130,000, Horizon Bloodstock acquired the first foal out of Rondonia, the dual winner Rodainah (Le Havre). What a bargain she looks to be.

With great respect to Princess Zahra, her definition of a quiet female line would be another breeder’s story of success. Rondonia and Raydara are two of just three winners from the listed winner Raydiya (Marju), and she is one of five winners, including the Group 1-placed Roseburg (Tamayuz), from Raydaniya (In The Wings).

Roseburg’s Group 1 placing came about when he was pacemaker in the Coronation Cup at Epsom, on what proved to be his final start, but he surprised everyone when beaten only by his stablemate Postponed and the great Found.

Rondonia’s third dam Rayseka (Dancing Brave) won the Group 3 Royal Whip Stakes and was runner-up in the Group 1 Irish St Leger. She bred the Group 3 Park Stakes winner Rafayda (Doyoun) and is grandam of Group 3 winner and Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas second Rayeni (Indian Ridge).

Rouhiya is the 21st Group or Grade 1 winner for Ballylinch Stud’s Lope De Vega, who commands €125,000 at stud this season, his fourth year at this fee.

Zarak shines

In the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains-French 2000 Guineas, it was Zarak’s turn to shine, thanks to the victory of his son Metropolitan.

The undefeated winner of two races over a mile at two, and fifth in the Group 3 Prix de Fontainebleau on his first start at three, Metropolitan accelerated decisively at the entrance to the straight to give a first classic success to his sire and to his trainer, Mario Baratti.

Bred by Stuart McPhee at Haras de Clairefontaine, after he purchased the colt’s dam for just 800gns, Metropolitan is owned by Scuderia Solari and Peter Bradley, the latter having previously enjoyed success with another by Zarak (Dubawi), La Parisienne, who was placed in both the Groip 1 Prix de Diane-French Oaks and the Group 1 Prix Vermeille.

Metropolitan is Zarak’s second Group 1 winner in a fortnight, following on from Haya Zark’s win in the Prix Ganay, and is his third in all. Sold for €78,000 as a yearling to Allesandro Marconi, the classic winner is the second successful offspring of the unraced Alianza (Halling), the first being Mister Charlie (Myboycharlie), who won four times.

Success story

Zarak’s ability to upgrade his mares is a feature of his success story to date, but now standing at a fee of €60,000, he will be expected to significantly increase his tally of Group 1 winners into the future. Alianza has four winning siblings, the best of which was the stakes-placed Boater (Helmet). Their dam, the unraced Cercle D’Amour (Storm Cat), made headlines in her day. She sold for $1.7m as a yearling to John Ferguson, the highest price paid for a filly at the 2004 Keeneland September Sale.

At the time of her sale, Cercle D’Amour was a sibling to four runners and four winners. All but one were stakes winners, and they were led by Warm Heart (Diesis). He won the Group 3 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot for Sheikh Mohammed and John Gosden, had to settle for second-best to Fasliyev in the Group 1 Prix Morny, and was not seen again after finishing fourth in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes. He died at three. The other two stakes winners were successful for Aidan O’Brien. Miguel Cervantes (Danzig) was a listed winner at two, while Cercle D’Amour’s full-sister Royal Tigress (Storm Cat) gained her sole victory in a listed classic trial at Leopardstown. Royal Tigress is the dam of two stakes winners, her daughter Tiger Ride (Candy Ride) winning at Grade 3 level and running second in the Grade 1 Beldame Stakes.

Champion sprinter

Cercle D’Amour is out of Summer Mood, Canada’s champion sprinter of 1985 as a homebred for Kinghaven Farms. She died at the age of 22 from haemorrhaging, about a month before she was due to foal. The daughter of Raja Baba (Bold Ruler) was in foal to Alydeed (Shadeed) and ended up losing that offspring in the process.

Summer Mood won eight races her championship season for the late D.G. ‘Bud’ Willmot and his son, David, in the Kinghaven colours. A stakes winner all four years she raced, Summer Mood captured 17 races and earned $542,446. Six of her wins were in blacktype races, and she was runner-up in the Grade 2 My Dear Stakes and third in the Grade 1 Princess Elizabeth Stakes.

Produced from the Viceregal (Northern Dancer) mare Fairly Regal, Summer Mood foaled 10 offspring, only three of whom won. The trio included the Japanese stakes winner Sugino Cutie (Majestic Light), and this year she is the third dam of Garonne (Maurice), a stakes winner at three in Japan.