Harzand became the fifth winner of the Derby for the Aga Khan after the victories of Shergar (1981), Shahrastani (1986), Kahyasi (1988) and Sinndar (2000). He thus matched the record of his grandfather whose winners were Blenheim (1930), Bahram (1935), Mahmoud (1936), My Love (1948) and Tulyar (1952). More of the Aga Khan, and Harzand’s family below, but first a few notes on Harzand’s sire Sea The Stars who stands at the Aga Khan’s Gilltown Stud.
Galileo (2001) and Sea The Stars (2009) were the most recent pair of half-brothers to win the Derby and now they have both sired Derby winners of their own. Galileo has had three Derby winners to date (New Approach in 2008, Ruler of The World in 2013 and Australia in 2014) and between them the sons of Urban Sea were responsible for half of the latest Derby field. Harzand was one of three sons of Sea The Stars in the line-up, while placed horses US Army Ranger and Idaho were among five sired by Galileo. The same weekend, another son of Urban Sea, first-season sire Born To Sea, sired his first winner in Denmark.
The last pair of half-brothers before Galileo and Sea The Stars to sire Derby winners were Fairy King and Galileo’s own sire Sadler’s Wells. Fairy King struck first in 1999 with Oath, while Sadler’s Wells had some near misses before Galileo and then High Chaparral (2002) won in consecutive years.
Broodmare Allegretta (who featured in this post), besides being grandam of Galileo and Sea The Stars, is also the dam of King’s Best who was responsible for the 2010 Derby winner Workforce.
Another joint achievement from the two half-brothers is that for the second time in three years Galileo and Sea The Stars were responsible for both Epsom classic winners. In 2014, Sea The Stars’ first crop daughter Taghrooda won the Oaks on the eve of Australia’s Derby victory for Galileo, while this year it was Galileo who had the Oaks winner when Minding was successful the day before Harzand won the Derby.
Television coverage of the Derby stressed the generations of Aga Khan breeding that had gone into producing His Highness’s latest Derby winner. That might be true of much of the Aga Khan’s stock but less so in Harzand’s case; in the bottom of line of his pedigree, only his dam and grandam were Aga Khan-bred broodmares. Harzand’s dam Hazariya won the Athasi Stakes at The Curragh and finished second in the Blue Wind Stakes at Naas, a race named after Harzand’s trainer Dermot Weld’s 1981 Oaks winner. Hazariya made her final start in the Irish Oaks in which she was pulled up with a fracture to a cannon bone, though her owner still won the race with his French-trained filly Shawanda. Hazariya’s year-older half-sister Hazarista (by Barathea) won the Blue Wind and finished third in the Irish Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks.
Ironically, the Aga Khan Studs’ influence runs deeper in the pedigree of the Prix du Jockey Club winner Almanzor who won the ‘French Derby’ twenty-fours after Harzand’s success at Epsom. Even more ironically, Almanzor beat the Aga Khan’s Zarak, the first foal of his unbeaten Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Zarkava to race. Almanzor comes from the family of the Aga Khan’s Prix du Jockey Club winner Darsi and Prix de Diane winner Daryaba, and Dariyan, winner of this year’s Prix Ganay.
Unexpectedly perhaps, a common denominator in the immediate pedigrees of both Harzand and Almanzor is the 2000 Guineas winner Zafonic. He’s the grandsire of both Harzand’s dam (who’s by the Dewhurst Stakes winner Xaar) and Almanzor’s sire Wootton Bassett.
The Aga Khan sold Almanzor’s unraced dam Darkova (actually owned by his daughter Princess Zara) for €16,000 at Arqana in December 2011. Harzand’s dam is no longer in the Aga Khan’s studbook either, having been sold for rather more – €480,000 – at Goffs in November 2014 when Harzand was a yearling.
Regular culling maintains the vitality of the Aga Khan’s broodmare band, as does, on the other side of the coin, occasional integration of stock from other breeding operations. This was how Harzand’s great grandam Hazy Idea became part of the Aga Khan empire when the Hollidays’ Cleaboy Stud mares were sold. Six mares tracing back to Hazy Idea remain in the latest edition of the Aga Khan studbook, including Hazarista.
The Cleaboy Stud was the subject of this post last year as champion sprinter Muhaarar traces back to the Cleaboy mare Pugnacity. Studmate Hazy Idea produced the speedy two-year-old Hittite Glory (by Habitat) who is best remembered for his 100/1 win in the Flying Childers Stakes, though went on to win the Middle Park Stakes as well. That was at odds with Hazy Idea’s own career as she was principally a stayer. Her wins included Goodwood’s March Stakes over a mile and three quarters, while she was also fourth in the Prix Royal-Oak won by that year’s French champion three-year-old (Jockey Club and Arc winner) Sassafras.
Hazy Idea was a great grandaughter of Netherton Maid, runner-up in the 1947 Oaks and a sister to Neasham Belle who went one better for Major Holliday in the same race four years later. Netherton Maid proved an influential broodmare for her owners as her daughter Bride Elect, a Queen Mary winner, bred the Major’s 1962 St Leger winner Hethersett. He had far less luck at Epsom, starting favourite for the Derby, but ending up as one of several casualties in a pile-up after halfway (he had the Derby winner Larkspur back in sixth at Doncaster).
Hethersett suffered ill fortune at stud too as he died aged just seven, though his foals included the 1969 Derby winner Blakeney…and Hazy Idea. A product, therefore, of both a grandson and granddaughter of Netherton Maid, Hazy Idea is, coincidentally, another example then of exactly the same pattern of 3×3 inbreeding which was discussed in the recent post referred to above on Allegretta’s great granddaughter Armande, she too by Sea The Stars.
Incidentally, Armande was also in action at Chantilly on the Prix du Jockey Club card, enduring a nightmare run in the straight before finishing third in the Prix de Royaumont. She should gain compensation at pattern level in due course.