Horse racing-Sendawar in Guineas triumph for Aga Khan

12:38 p.m. May 16, 1999 Eastern

By Daniel Lahalle

PARIS, May 16 (Reuters) - Sendawar, owned by the Aga Khan and ridden by Gerald Mosse, stamped his authority on the French 2,000 Guineas with a high class performance at Longchamp on Sunday.

On a day of top action, the 1,000 Guineas was won by English raider Valentine Waltz, while the Prix Lupin, a noted Derby trial, went to Sheikh Mohammed's Gracioso.

A false start in the 2,000 Guineas when one of the stalls failed to open delayed the race by 15 minutes, but as the field was sent off a second time Sendawar settled beautifully.

After racing in fourth as Way of Light took the runners along, Sendawar dominated proceedings from 400 metres out and came home a length and a half clear of Dansili, the mount of Thierry Jarnet.

Kingsalsa ran on to take third from Way of Light three lengths further back as the home team dominated the first classic of the French season.

Sendawar's win was the third in four years in this race for the Aga Khan and trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre.

The Aga Khan said: ``The victory was all the more sweet as Sendawar is descended from one of our old bloodlines. In principle, Sendawar will now be aimed at the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.''

The winner started at just under 4-1 on the Pari Mutuel.

Mujahid, the English 2,000 Guineas third, did best of the foreign contingent by dead-heating for fifth in the 15-runner race. ``He was a bit flat-footed,'' said trainer John Dunlop.

However, the 1,000 Guineas, the fillies' classic over the same 1.6 kms, provided some compensation for the English when Valentine Waltz, ridden by Ray Cochrane, won by two lengths from outsider Karmifira, the mount of Davy Bonilla.

Trained by John Gosden at Newmarket, Valentine Waltz paid odds of just over 4-1.

The filly had been a creditable third in the English 1,000 Guineas behind Wince two weeks ago at Newmarket and this was ample compensation.

Gosden said: ``She is a tough customer and she had come out of the Newmarket race really well.''

The four-runner Prix Lupin saw the one length defeat of hot favourite Montjeu by Gracioso. When the pair met last month Montjeu had Gracioso five lengths in arrears but the latter readily turned the tables on Sunday.

Montjeu's part-owner Michael Tabor said: ``That wasn't him and one has to look to the future with confidence. Nothing has been decided yet as regards the Epsom Derby or the French version.''

John Ferguson, representing winning owner Sheikh Mohammed, said: ``Gracioso likes firm ground and we have yet to decide whether to tackle the English Derby or the French.''

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