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16 January 2021

Dalakhani, an outstanding racehorse and sire for the Aga Khan, has died at the age of 21. 

The son of G1 Prix du Jockey Club (2400m) winner Darshaan (Shirley Heights) enjoyed an unbeaten juvenile campaign including success in the G1 Criterium International (1600m). A superb three-year-old season followed which included victories in three Group 1s – the Prix Lupin (2100m) and including two Classics – the Prix du Jockey Club (2400m) and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (2400m) - cementing himself as one the leading lights of French racing in the process. 

Following incredible success in 2003, the striking grey was crowned European Horse of the Year and Champion three-year-old. Following Dalakhani’s final race in the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (2400m)H.H. the Aga Khan paid tribute, saying: “He’s outstanding on the basis of what we've seen as a two-year-old, three-year-old, over all distances and on all going. It's very difficult to make comparisons, but this horse has a concentration of unusual talents, and that's what gives him the ability to accelerate when he needs to accelerate, to follow a pace when he needs to follow a pace, and to handle all goings." 

Dalakhani won eight of nine career starts for trainer Alain de Royer-Dupré (Pictured) and retired to Gilltown Stud (IRE) in 2004. During the second chapter of his career, he enjoyed notable success as a classic sire and damsire. He has produced 55 stakes winners worldwide, and ten Group 1 winners, which included classic winners such as Reliable Man (G1 Prix du Jockey Club 2100m) and Moonstone (Irish Oaks 2400m). He was also responsible for Chinese White (Pretty Polly Stakes 2000m), Integral (Falmouth and Sun Chariot Stakes, both 1600m), dual Breeders’ Cup Turf (2400m) and G1 St Leger (2900m) winner Conduit, Duncan (Irish St Leger (2800m)) and more recently Defoe (G1 Coronation Cup (2400m)). 

Interestingly, Dalakhani is now stamping his quality as a broodmare sire. Pinatubo, European champion two-year-old, triumphed in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat (1400m) at three. Derby runner-up US Army Ranger (to Aga Khan-owned Harzand), Japanese Grade 1 winner Tower Of London as well as eight-time Grade 1 jumps winner Nichols Canyon are notable examples. 

He shuttled to Cornerstone Stud in Australia during his later covering years, notably producing A$2.2 million earner Dalasan, who finished second in last year’s Australian Derby (2400m). Reliable Man also notched a Group 1 success down under before retiring to stud himself. 

Dalakhani retired from covering duties in 2016 and enjoyed a peaceful retirement at Haras d’Ouilly in Normandy. He leaves an indelible mark on the racing landscape, not only as a champion racehorse but as a decorated, versatile sire.