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story posted Tuesday 13th January 2009 20:58

Gone, but not forgotten


The death of Kahyasi (pictured) in 2008 robbed France not only of a successful sire, but also of an increasingly important broodmare sire. Kahyasi, who lead the French broodmare sires’ list in 2008, is a name which will feature in the pedigrees of top-class Thoroughbreds for generations yet thanks to the exploits of his daughters, writes Sarah Whitelaw.

The record-breaking dual Derby-winner, Kahyasi, claimed the 2008 French broodmare sire title ahead of Sadler's Wells, Linamix and Kaldoun respectively. Kendor, another sire who is becoming a major broodmare sire, was fifth, ahead of Highest Honor and Garde Royale. And although Kahyasi heads the list, his pre-eminence is largely due to the earnings of his superlative maternal granddaughter, Zarkava. Indeed, by individual Stakes-winners, the most successful broodmare sires of 2008 were Kendor and Nureyev; with both being the broodmare sires of seven individual Stakes-winners apiece, headed by the Group One winners Marchand D'or and Tamayuz respectively.

Kahyasi, who like Zarkava was bred and owned by His Highness The Aga Khan, had a workmanlike rather than outstanding pedigree. In fact, he is widely considered to be the best horse sired by the 1978 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes-winner, Ile De Bourbon.

However, Kahyasi's dam, Kadissya, was a smart performer whose biggest win came in the Listed Prix de la Theve. The mare was a daughter of the outstanding sire, Blushing Groom, went on to do well at stud, too, producing the Group Three-winning mare, Kaliana, as well as the unraced Kassiyda. The latter added to the family's success by producing two Group-winners including Kassana, dam of Irish St Leger victress, Kastoria.

Kahyasi, who was described by his trainer, Luca Cumani, as "an absolute gentleman and the perfect horse,” was unbeaten in his first five starts. He won the Lingfield Derby Trial before going on to taste success in the Epsom Derby, when beating Glacial Storm and Doyoun by one and a half lengths and the same. Although the 1988 Derby is not regarded as one of the best renewals, the beaten horses included multiple Group One-winner, Sheriff's Star, the St Leger-winner, Minster Son, leading sire, Unfuwain, and the Champion South African sire, Al Mufti.

Then, despite sustaining an injury in the race, Kahyasi won the Irish Derby by a short head from Insan, before ending his career with a second in the Prix Niel and a sixth behind Tony Bin in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp. He retired to the Aga Khan’s Ballymany Stud in Ireland in 1989, having won five out of seven starts, including two Classics.

Despite this fine record, Kahyasi was never regarded as an outstanding commercial prospect. By a generally disappointing sire, Kahyasi himself was a small, unimposing individual, and, despite his owner's loyal support, failed to attract much attention from outside breeders.

While he was never the height of fashion with commercial breeders, Kahyasi nonetheless became a successful stallion. To date, Kahyasi's progeny has earned more than $27 million in prize money. He has sired over 50 Stakes-winners, with his offspring doing well on the flat and over jumps. Towards the end of his career, Kahyasi was transferred to the Aga Khan’s Haras de Bonneval stud in France, where he stood until June last year, when, due to a brain tumour, he had to be put down at the age of 23.

Kahyasi's best runners included the Eclipse Champion Steeplechaser, Hirapour; Ascot Gold Cup victor, Enzeli, Grand Prix de Paris winner, Khalkevi; EP Taylor Stakes-heroine, Choc Ice; plus the fillies Vereva and Zainta who won the Prix de Diane in 1997 and 1998 respectively.

However, for all his success as a stallion, Kahyasi will primarily be known as an outstanding broodmare sire in the years to come. To date, Kahyasi's daughters have produced more than 30 Stakes-winners, with his most famous daughter, the great Stakes-winning broodmare Hasili, contributing a staggering five Group/Grade One winners to his tally. What’s more, Hasili is by no means Kahyasi's sole Gr1-producer; not only is Kahyasi the broodmare sire of the unbeaten superstar Zarkava, winner of five Group One races in 2008, but he is also dam sire of the 2008 Group One-winners Linngari (Grosser Dallmayr Bayerisches Zuchtrennen), Promising Lead (Pretty Polly Stakes) and Again (Moyglare Stud Stakes). And although Linngari and Promising Lead have both been retired, much is expected of Again in 2009. Visit, yet another classy performer produced by a Kahyasi mare (Arrive), was a Group Three winner last year and third in the Grade One Matriarch Stakes.

Hasili's five Group One winners include the champion fillies, Banks Hill and Intercontinental, however her son, Dansili — and arguably her most important offspring — failed to win at the highest level. Nevertheless, Dansili, an unlucky loser of the Breeders’ Cup Mile, headed the French general sires’ list in 2007 and is currently one of the best sires standing in Britain.

It is interesting to note how well Kahyasi mares have done when mated to Danzig-line stallions: the Group One-winners All Of Again, Cacique, Promising Lead, Intercontinental, Banks Hill and Champs Elysees were all sired either by the late Coolmore sire or his son, Danehill Dancer. In addition, the Group One-winning filly, Shamdala, is by Danzig's grandson, Grand Lodge.

Few stallions' daughters have made as much impact as Kahyasi’s did in 2008. The little Derby winner of 1988 might be gone, but he will not be forgotten anytime soon.



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