July 2, 2003

Aga Khan is Irish Derby's Saviour

Jul 2 2003

By Ron Mcknight

THE Aga Khan proved the saviour of the Irish Derby, the annual showcase of the Irish Racing year at the Curragh last weekend.

A decision to run both his unbeaten Champion, the French trained Dalakhani winner of six races including the French Derby and the John Oxx trained Alamshar, third in the Epsom Derby saw the Aga Khan gain a 1 - 2 in the 1.3million euro contest and equal the record of his grandfather of five victories in the Irish Derby when Alamshar prevailed by half a length.

The Curragh Classic had developed into a match between the Aga Kan runners and six from Ballydoyle best of which proved to be the third placed, 150/1 chance Roosevelt.

A delighted winning jockey, Johnny Murtagh described the success as '' pure magic '' and was winning the event for the second time having scored on Sinndar in the millennium year for the same connections when completing the Irish/English Derby Double.

Alamshar's participation in sunday's race was very much in doubt 24 hours prior to the race and only extensive physiotherapy and chiropractor, Dr Baudoux who flew in from France assured the Aga Khan colt taking his place in the line up.

Previous winners of the Irish Derby for His Highness the Aga Khan were Shergar, Shahrastani, Kahyasi and Sinndar and it was Princess Zahra Aga Khan, the eldest of the Aga Khan three children who collected the breeder's prize on behalf of her father.