Item(s) for July, 2008

Jul 9,2008

Queen and Aga Khan
The splendid occasion marked the Aga Khan’s succession to his grandfather’s title as the leader of 15 million Ismaili Muslims in 1957. Photo: © PA

Both are ardent fans of horse racing and share an understanding of what it’s like to hold an important ceremonial role. So the Queen was particularly glad to be hosting a glittering banquet for the Aga Khan’s Golden Jubilee, which he celebrated last year.

Her guest at Monday’s dinner in Buckingham Palace is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad and the leader of the world’s 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims. They’ve met up on several occasions since the Aga Khan succeeded his grandfather to the title in 1957.

To honour the milestone anniversary, the Queen wore an elegant gown adorned with golden sequins, as well as jewellery in gold and silver.

The golden theme was also picked up by the Aga Khan’s sister Yasmina, the daughter of his father Prince Aly and Hollywood actress Rita Hayworth. She was resplendent in a shimmering metallic floor-length creation, accessorised with a matching clutch.

Completing the family group at the gala was the Muslim leader’s son Prince Hussain, with his American-born wife Kristin, who took the name Princess Khaliya on their marriage two years ago.


Jul 7,2008

The Queen is hosting a dinner for the Aga Khan

The Queen is hosting a dinner party in honour of billionaire racehorse owner the Aga Khan.

Senior members of the Royal Family will attend the Buckingham Palace dinner on Monday for the long-term friend of the Queen.

The Queen, 82, and the Aga Khan, 71, are both ardent fans of horse racing and in the past they have watched the sport together at Royal Ascot.

The Aga Khan was the owner of Shergar, the Derby-winning racehorse who was kidnapped from his Irish stud farm in 1983 and never seen again.

He is also the Imam of the world’s 15 million Shia Ismaili Muslims and a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.

Last year he celebrated the 50th anniversary of his succession to the title held by his grandfather.

The Aga Khan is coming to the end of a seven-day visit to the UK held to mark the milestone.

In 2005 he became one of six people given the Andrew Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy for his efforts improving living conditions in the developed world.

His Aga Khan Development Network is a group of agencies working in health, education, culture and rural and economic development, in 30 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, south and central Asia, and the Middle East.


Jul 7,2008

Tony Arrold | July 07, 2008

HIS Highness the Aga Khan, arguably the world’s most successful thoroughbred breeder-owner of the past 50 years, is to join Australia’s breeders in the new season.

A joint venture has been struck between the Aga Khan Studs and Arrowfield Group, which runs the major Hunter Valley operation the Arrowfield Stud at Scone, NSW.

The venture is already under way with six mares from the Aga’s European farms currently in quarantine after arriving in Australia one week ago.

The six mares include a half-sister to Zarkava, a three-year-old filly some sound judges rank as potentially the best filly to carry the Aga’s familiar green and red colours.

The unbeaten winner of the French Oaks at her most recent start, Zarkava is the current favourite for the Group I Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (2400m), Europe’s weight-for-age championship, in France in early October.

From September 1, the six mares will be mated with selected stallions on Arrowfield Stud with the resultant progeny to be offered at select yearling sales in Australia.

Arrowfield’s varied selection of stallions includes the nation’s most expensive, Redoute’s Choice, the reigning champion Flying Spur and the Chilean sensation Hussonet, sire of Weekend Hussler, officially the world’s best sprinting three-year-old.

An agreement signed last week by the Aga Khan Studs and Arrowfield has been two years in the making, according to Arrowfield chief John Messara.

“In agreeing to this joint venture, His Highness has left a clear message that Australia is well and truly on the world stage in the thoroughbred business,” Messara said.

“There was a time not all that long ago that Australia would not have rated a second thought.

“But now look at the melting pot we have here – Sheik Mohammed and his vast Darley operation, Coolmore with the owner’s son (Tom Magnier) at the helm of the Australian operation and now one of the most significant figures of breeding for the past 50 years.”

Not for the first time is Arrowfield mounting an international venture.

In its infancy, in the 1980s, it had a partnership with the late Robert Sangster which yielded no less an industry dividend than the multiple champion sire Zabeel.

In the early 1990s, it joined Coolmore to secure and stand Danehill – and the world will never see another dual hemisphere champion like him.

More recently, Arrowfield has had joint ventures with the late Sheik Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum, senior brother of the ruling family of Dubai. Together, Arrowfield and Sheik Maktoum’s Gainsborough Stud bred, raised and put to public auction the multiple Group I winning, multi-millionairess Miss Finland (by Redoute’s Choice). Arrowfield bought her back to race and now to breed from.

At the same time, an ongoing business relationship with Japan’s premier stud, the Yoshida family’s Shadai Farms, led to a breeding joint venture with Katsumi Yoshida.

Arrowfield-Yoshida bred and sold Weekend Hussler, multiple Group I winner of nine of his 11 starts and almost $2.4 million in stakes.

Arrowfield will continue to deal with Georges Rimaud and Pat Downes, managers of the Aga’s vast French and Irish farm operations, in relation to the service and maintenance of the trail-blazing sextet of mares.

“Arrowfield will put the stallion recommendations for the mares, but Georges and Pat will also have a big input because they know these families so well,” Messara said.

“The joint venture will be reviewed every year but we hope the numbers will increase by the years.”

At this point, the venture embraces only a southern season with no discussion raised yet on serving mares to northern time.

The Aga Khan, 71, on Friday celebrates his golden jubilee as the spiritual head of the world’s 15 million Ismaili Muslims.

Shergar, the 10-length winner of the English Derby, is the Aga’s best known runner – but one of only a list of classic and major winners that would run the length of the home straight at Longchamp, the premier track in France where the Aga has his racing headquarters.

Another of the Aga’s English Derby winners was the recently deceased Kahyasi. Australian racing acknowledges Kahyasi as the sire of the Aga-bred Karasi, who found his way to Australia to continue racing and to then gain international fame as a three-times winner of the world’s richest jumps race, the Nakayama Grand Jump in Japan.