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Dual Group One winner Araafa died last week

Bloodstock Bites

Tue, 19 June 2012
  • Sad news emerged early in the week when it was announced the outstanding broodmare Darara had died at the age of 29. The daughter of Top Ville, who was herself a top-class racehorse and Prix Vermaille winner, produced no less than four Group 1 winners amongst seven black-type performers.

Dariyoun (Shahrastani) provided the mare with the first of these when winning the Gran Premio de Madrid. Her 1999 foal Diaghilev (Sadler’s Wells) triumphed in the Group 3 Prix la Force, but it was after relocating to Hong Kong the gelding, renamed River Dancer, really hit his stride, running in Group races for four straight seasons, during which he added the Queen Elizabeth II Cup to Darara’s tally.

After Diaghilev’s arrival Darara was barren for four seasons, until a cutting-edge veterinary procedure enabled the 2004 arrival of Evita (Selkirk). Dar Re Mi (Singspiel), foaled in 2005, proved her most successful produce to date, winning the Curragh’s Pretty Polly Stakes and Yorkshire Oaks at four before travelling to Dubai the following spring to post a career-capping win in the Dubai Sheema Classic. The following year her half-brother Rewilding (Tiger Hill) provided their dam with a double in the race, before later in the season beating Aussie sensation So You Think at Royal Ascot.

Darara’s talent as a dam is not confined to the flat however; Dardjini (Nijinsky) found his forte in the winter code, placing in a Grade 1 hurdle at Leopardstown before going on to win the Grade 1 Denny Gold Medal Novice Chase at the course.

Bred and raced by the Aga Khan, Darara was purchased by Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber as a foundation mare prospect, a role which she has filled with as yet immeasurable success, given that two of her daughters, Dar Re Mi and Evita have been retired to Watership Down Stud in the hope they will continue in their dam’s footsteps.

  • Salisbury’s Tuesday card turned into something of a family affair after Pasaka Boy’s (Haafhd) 50/1 win in the opener was followed later with an outing by his dam Shesha Bear. The Tobougg mare, winner of five races to date, foaled Pasaka Boy in 2010 before returning to training the following season. The pair are both trained by Jonathan Portman, who had hoped for a mother/son double, but only just missed out when Shesha Bear was unable to peg back Statue Of Liberty gelding Achalas by just a length.
  • French Guineas winner Beauty Parlour (Deep Impact) lost her unbeaten record on Sunday when beaten three quarters of a length by 28/1 shot Valyra in the Prix de Diane at Chantilly. The daughter of Azamour also went to post with her race record intact, but with just two outings under her belt, and never in black-type company, it looked a stiff ask for the Aga Khan’s filly. Evidently this wasn’t the case however, as under Johnny Murtagh, the pair running on well to score comfortably. The win is a first Group 1 title for her sire, who stands alongside Sea The Stars at Gilltown Stud. During his own career on the track Azamour claimed four races at top-flight, a record one step closer to being beaten thanks to his daughter’s Classic feat.
  • Woodlands Stud suffered a blow after the latest addition to their roster, top-class miler Araafa, died last week. By Mull Of Kintyre, Araafa was one of the best milers of his generation, exacting revenge on his English Guineas conqueror George Washington when turning the tables at the Curragh in the Irish Classic before adding the St James’s Palace Stakes to his tally a month later. To date the stallion has sired 16 individual winners from three crops to date, and had made the move to fill a new dual-purpose role.