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Aga Khan blend behind Laurens

THE story of the Karl Burke-trained Laurens, the brave winner of the Prix de Diane, is one that should give hope to smaller owners and breeders.

Bred in France by the Bloodstock Agency Ltd, Laurens was produced when her sire Siyouni stood for just €7,000. However, like so many of this season’s good winners, she is supported by a highly successful Aga Khan family. Indeed, as a daughter of Siyouni, her background represents a combination of two potent Aga Khan families; Siyouni was bred by the Aga Khan out of a family incorporated into his stud with the purchase of the Lagardere stock while Laurens herself is a direct descendant of the Marcel Boussac-bred Rilasa, who goes back to Astana, the dam of one of Boussac’s final champions in Crepellana.

Boussac was a great advocate of inbreeding, particularly to his own stallions, and in that respect Astana was a typical product of his stud, being inbred 3×2 to Tourbillon. A five-time winner herself, her greatest contribution as a broodmare was as the dam of Crepellana, winner of the 1969 Prix de Diane, although in Rose Ness and Valdavia, she also left behind two daughters who would go on to forge dynasties of their own.

For her past, Valdavia became the granddam of the Aga Khan’s 1989 Prix Saint-Alary heroine Behera, in turn the granddam of his Grand Prix de Paris winner Behkabad.

As for Rose Ness, she foaled Raykour, second in the 1988 St James’s Palace Stakes, and Denia, whose line went on to gift the Aga Khan with Daylami and Dalakhani.

Laurens descends from the branch belonging to Rose Ness’ Listed-placed daughter Sarila, by Snob. Sarila foaled four winners, including the Prix du Cadran runner-up Hereas, and Rilasa, a daughter of St Paddy who was foaled in 1975 and therefore from one of the last crops bred by Boussac.

Rilasa ran third in the 1978 Prix Vanteaux before becomnig the basis of a highly productive family for the Aga Khan, one that has been responsible in recent weeks for the Listed winners Riyazan and Rubilinda. The 1994 Irish St Leger runner-up Rayseka was the best of her of her six winners and in time became a noted producer herself as the dam of Group 3 winner Rafayda and granddam of 2009 Irish 2,000 Guineas runner-up Rayeni. Rayseka’s branch is also responsible for this year’s smart filly Rehana, winner of the Athasi Stakes for Michael Halford back in May.

Meanwhile, another daughter of Rilasa, the Listed winner Riyda, became the third dam of Prix de Royallieu winner Ridasiyna and is the ancestress of the classy Frankel filly Rubilinda, winner of the Pebbles Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday for Chad Brown, and Star Appeal Stakes winner Riyazan.

Raysisa, Rilasa’s 1987-foaled daughter of Cure The Blues, wasn’t in the same league as either Rayseka or Riyda on the track but she did win three times at up to 1m4f for John Oxx before selling out of the Aga Khan Studs for Ir£15,500 at Goffs in February 1992. The Kahyasi filly she was carrying at the time turned out to be Razana, who was Listed-placed twice over 1m4f in France before carving out her own successful stud career. Five years later, Raysisa also foaled the subsequent Italian Listed winner and stakes producer Raysiza to Alzao.

Today, this is a family that is in particularly rude health thanks to a clutch of daughters who are in the hands of a varied group of breeders.

For instance, her second foal, Ribot’s Guest, showed little in Italy but later bred Chester Vase winner Mickdaam as well as Prix de l’Opera heroine Kinnaird, in turn the dam of Royal Lodge Stakes winner Berkshire for Newsells Park Stud and granddam of that quick two-year-old Ivawood.

Her minor-winning half-sister Profit Alert foaled the 2014 Irish 2,000 Guineas runner-up Shifting Power.

As for Razana, she hit the heights for Gillian McCalmont as the dam of Salford Mill, who won the 2007 Feilden Stakes for David Elsworth before heading to Hong Kong, where he captured the Hong Kong Derby and Classic Mile.

Salford Mill had yet to enhance the page when his Cape Cross half-sister, Recambe, came up for sale at Book 1 of the 2006 Tattersalls October Sale. It took a bid of only 20,000gns for the filly to change hands to Robert Collet, for whom she won twice in minor company at up to an extended 1m6f. Laurens is her fourth foal and second winner following Autignac, a winner over jumps in France.

Laurens is a second Group 1 winner for Siyouni – a horse in possession of ample speed and precocity – after Ervedya, the star of his first crop who won the Coronation Stakes, Poule d’Essai des Pouliches and Prix du Moulin for the Aga Khan. Several other representatives have also come close to success at the highest level, notably Le Brivido, who was nosed out of victory in this year’s Poule d’Essai des Poulains, the ill-fated Volta, who ran second in the Prix Rothschild, City Of Light, who fell an agonising nose short of Merchant Navy in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, and the Group 1-placed miler Spectre.

With 24 stakes winners to his credit, seven of whom came out of his first crop, Siyouni’s rise through the European stallion ranks has been stratospheric. Shares in the Pivotal stallion have recently regularly changed hands for in excess of €320,000 and he covered this season at Haras de Bonneval for a high of €75,000.

Sold for £220,000 as a yearling to John Dance, Laurens hails from his final €7,000 crop, as does recent Wonder Again Stakes winner La Signare. He has also hit the ground running in Australia, where he is the sire of Todman Slipper Trial Stakes winner Aylmerton, his only runner down there to date.

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