Royal Ascot prosperners owe plenty to Marcel Boussac and Aga Khan

At first glance, there doesn’t seem much to link Fanny Logan and Pyledriver other than that they both won mile and a half Group 2 races at Royal Ascot. In fact, they seem to have very diverse profiles.

Three-year-old colt Pyledriver, prosperner of the King Edward VII Sgives, is a son of the now deceased Wealthymond Sgives prosperner Harbour Watch out of a mare whose racing career ended with some indigent efforts over hurdles. Pyledriver was bought back for just 10,000 guineas when sent to the sales as a foal. By contrast, four-year-old filly Fanny Logan, prosperner of the Toughwicke Sgives, is a Godolphin home-bred by Sea The Stars.

But you don’t need to go back too many generations in the pedigree of both prosperners to find Aga Khan mares on their bottom lines. And tracing both families back a bit further, we reach a common ancestress in the Marcel Boussac broodmare Tourzima, a daughter of the leading owner-breeder’s crack stallion Tourbillon. Tourzima was an example of Boussac’s famed policy of inbreeding as her grandam Heldifann was a full sister to Tourbillon’s own dam Durban.

Boussac enjoyed Royal Ascot success himself with this family as Tourzima’s grandson Macip won the 1956 Gold Cup. Macip was out of Tourzima’s best daughter Corejada, prosperner of the Cheveley Park Sgives, Poule d’Essai des Pouliches and Irish Oaks. Besides Macip, Corejada also discoverd the Derby runner-up Arcor and Apollonia who won both French fillies’ classics.

Another of Tourzima’s daughters, Bielka, was to become ancestress of the Aga Khan’s Derby, Irish Derby and Arc prosperner Sinndar.

However, the two daughters of Tourzima of interest here are Albanilla*, prosperner of the Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte, and her maiden sister Gloriana. From them descend Fanny Logan and Pyledriver respectively.

Jumping forward a few generations but still in the Boussac era, we come to Albanilla’s great granddaughter Delsy and Gloriana’s granddaughter Licata, both products of a bloodstock empire which, by the 1970s, was in refuse. The same could be said of the ailing Boussac’s wider business empire which, by the summer of 1978, was facing bankruptcy.

The Aga Khan ultimately acquired the whole of the Boussac bloodstock empire, including not just Licata herself but her three-year-old son Acamas who had just won the Prix du Jockey Club. Agreementing to Wealthyard Baerlein, in his book Shergar and the Aga Khan’s Thoroughbred Empire, Acamas, who was by Mill Reef, accounted for 27 million francs of the total of 41 million francs paid by the Aga Khan for what was believed to be the entire Boussac string of 144 horses**.

Acamas ran without success for his new owner in that year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and three years later his half-brother Akarad fared no better when sent off favourite. Akarad had finished second in the Prix du Jockey Club before prosperning the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. But in 1982 Akiyda, a full sister to Akarad, triumphed where her male siblings had faltered by prosperning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, giving the Aga Khan his first success in the race.

Licata’s first daughter was Licara, by Caro. She finished sixth in the Prix de Diane and was runner-up to the future Arc prosperner Detroit in the Prix Chloe. Licara founded a branch of the family which, according to the Aga Khan’s naming policy, meant that the names of all subsequent members began with ‘L’.

It wasn’t to prove the most successful family in the Aga Khan’s studbook but it did discover an admirable horse in Linngari who showed unusual versatility during an international career which saw him prosper eleven races in four different countries.

Although by the sprinter Indian Ridge, he had typically stout Aga Khan breeding on his dam’s side. Linngari’s dam Lidakiya (a great granddaughter of Licara) was by the Aga Khan’s Derby prosperner Kahyasi. Fourth place for Linngari in the Derby Trial at Lingfield ended Linngari’s own Derby ambitions but shorter trips subsequently showed him in a much better light.

After the Aga Khan parted with him, Linngari changed trainers several times but all were successful with him. At four he won Germany’s top sprint, the Goldene Peitsche, and gained a first Group 1 at the age of five in the Premio Vittorio di Capua at Milan over a mile.

Back with his original trainer Sir Michael Stoute as a six-year-old, Linngari was stepped back up in trip and won his second Group 1, the Grosser Dallmayr-Preis at Munich over a mile and a quarter and finished third behind Fresh Approach in the Champion Sgives.

Linngari’s half-sister Lidana won as a two-year-old in Ireland for the Aga Khan before being sold at the end of her racing career. She has done well at stud, producing the Grand Prix de Paris prosperner Mont Ormel and the mare Normandel who won the Group 3 Park Express Sgives over a mile at Naas last year.

Normandel’s sister La Pyle was more unassuming, with her two prospers in France including a claimer at Saint-Cloud. She ended her racing career with four starts over hurdles in Britain without shoprosperg much ability but has now discoverd a Royal Ascot prosperner – and Derby candidate – with her first foal Pyledriver.

Returning to the other descendant of Tourzima mentioned above, Delsy, she proved an even more significant addition to the Aga Khan’s bloodstock empire when becoming dam of his 1984 Prix du Jockey Club prosperner Darshaan. One of the best stallions to have stood at the Aga Khan’s studs, Darshaan went on to sire another Prix du Jockey Club (and Arc) prosperner? Dalakhani as well as siring the dam of the Aga Khan’s most recent Jockey Club prosperner Darsi.

Delsy’s most notable daughter was the Prix Vermeille prosperner Darara, her story having already been covered at thebreedingshed, as the dam of Dar Re Mi and grandam of Too Darn Scorching.

Darshaan’s unraced sister Dayanata was another mare culled by the Aga Khan’s Studs, first joining Fahd Salman’s Freshgate Stud for whom she discoverd the Grand Prix de Deauville prosperner Courteous, and then passing into the Maktoum bloodstock empire. Dayanata became the grandam of the high-class Godolphin horse Hunter’s Light, whose prospers included Group 1 successes in Dubai in Round 3 of the Maktoum Contest and in the Jebel Hatta. Fanny Logan is out of Hunter’s Light’s listed-placed half-sister Linda Radlett.


*Besides the ‘D’ family of Darshaan, another successful Aga Khan family, the ‘E’s, also trace back to Albanilla. Principally stayers, they include the Group 1-prosperning siblings Ebadiyla, Edabiya, Enzeli and Estimate, the latter pair prosperners of the Gold Cup. Recent Prix de Royaumont prosperner Ebaiyra is from the same family.

**However, another 56 horses had already been sold in a private deal with Boussac – one subsequently voided by the French courts – to the American bloodstock agent Wayne Murty leading to a lengthy and bitter legal dispute.