First printed in the May edition of Owner Breeder magazine 

Several factors will always come into play when evaluating the potential of emerging broodmare sires. There are the champion sires who naturally progress to the role of leading damsire because they are such good all-rounders. Galileo obviously falls into that bracket and Frankel, given his early results in this department, already looks to be following suit. Others might be more effective because they’re outcrosses. For that, perhaps take the example of Dream Ahead, already the damsire of Group 1 winner Poptronic alongside Classic hopeful Romantic Style and smart sprinter Cold Case. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that he is one of the last representatives of the Warning and Known Fact sire line and out of a mare by Cadeaux Genereux; either way, it can’t hurt that his daughters are easy to cross in a world that has become increasingly saturated with Northern Dancer.

Then there are those who owe success through their daughters to the early opportunities afforded to them. The likes of Henrythenavigator and Duke Of Marmalade, both of whom covered numerous high-performing and well-connected mares in their first seasons at stud, aren’t far off from falling into this category.

Such horses aren’t always easy to identify but in light of Dalakhani’s profile, it would have been surprising if he hadn’t developed into a desirable broodmare sire. Firstly, he was a brilliant performer under the care of Alain de Royer-Dupre, a Group 1 winner at two who won the Prix du Jockey Club and Arc in a championship campaign three. The only blemish on a near perfect record was a narrow second to Alamshar in the Irish Derby.

Both colts were owned and bred by the Aga Khan. But while Alamshar was by far the best sired by Key Of Luck, presumably a factor that played a key role in the decision to sell him to stand in Japan (where he failed to cut much ice), Dalakhani was the last major runner by the Aga Khan Studs’ flagship sire Darshaan and out of its excellent producer Daltawa, also the dam of Daylami. Dalakhani was duly retired to the Aga Khan’s Gilltown Stud in Ireland for the 2004 season and having been well supported by his owner and an array of successful high-profile breeders, got off to a quick start as the sire of St Leger and King George winner Conduit, Irish Oaks heroine Moonstone and fellow Group 1 winners Chinese White and Duncan out of his first crop.

It was at that point that Dalakhani looked like he might be the one to push the Darshaan sire line forward. Unfortunately, that didn’t turn out to be the case, for all that his Prix du Jockey Club-winning son Reliable Man has had his moments in the sun at stud, particularly in Australasia. But daughters belonging to the sire line have long been coveted by successful breeders and given his other attributes, notably his own ability and the access granted to good female families at stud, there was always going to be a good chance that Dalakhani would exert a major influence through his daughters.

So it has proven. Champion two-year-old Pinatubo (by Shamardal) was an early example as was Tower Of London (by Raven’s Pass), another Godolphin flag-bearer who was a top sprinter in Japan. In fact, Godolphin have reason to look fondly upon Dalakhani mares as it also campaigns last year’s Group 1 Futurity Trophy winner Ancient Wisdom, a 16/1 shot for the 2,000 Guineas at the time of writing. Out of the high-class Dalakhani mare Golden Valentine, he was one of two Group 1 winners bred on the Dubawi – Dalakhani cross to ply their trade last season alongside the Nassau Stakes heroine Al Husn.

Dalakhani: brilliant in his pomp on the track, the son of Darshaan is now forging a legacy as a broodmare sire of note. Photo – George Selwyn

Overall Dalakhani’s daughters are responsible for five Group 1 winners and 58 stakes scorers, a total that was enhanced during the Classic trials in mid-April.

French Guineas trial day at Longchamp provided a particularly fine advert as the three-year-olds Candala and Ramadan took the Group 3 Prix de la Grotte and Group 3 Prix de Fontainebleau within an hour of each other.

Aga Khan-homebred Candala was making her return following a wide-margin score in a Chantilly maiden in September last year. She is out of one of Dalakhani’s most accomplished daughters in Candarliya, who was trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre to win a pair of Group 2 races, the Prix de Royallieu and Prix Maurice de Nieuil, and by Frankel, meaning that she is bred on a loose variation of the famed Sadler’s Wells – Darshaan cross.

Ramadan’s victory in the Prix de Fontainebleau, meanwhile, continued a real purple patch for his owner-breeder Nurlan Bizakov, whose Sumbe operation also campaigns the Group 3 Prix Djebel winner Lazzat and well-regarded Cashanda, who went some way to justifying her big-race entries for Andre Fabre with an impressive debut win at Saint-Cloud. The trio are just some of the rewards emanating from a series of high-profile investments made by Bizakov early on in well-related yearling fillies. The unbeaten Lazzat is a grandson of Lashyn, a Mr Greeley daughter of the 1,000 Guineas winner Sleepytime from Charlie Wacker’s Alidiva family who was bought for $625,000 as a yearling in 2010. Cashanda is out of €600,000 yearling purchase Caskelena, a Galileo half-sister to the Group 1 winner Turtle Bow, while Saint-Cloud conditions winner Narkez is out of Nazym, the 1,700,000gns Tattersalls October Book 1 sale-topper of 2011.

As for Ramadan, he is out of 400,000gns yearling purchase Raushan. She descends from the illustrious Eljazzi family – also source of the aforementioned Pinatubo – via Group 3 winner Chiang Mai, and had previously served Sumbe well as the dam of Lingfield Listed winner Rasima.

Ramadan could well end up being an important horse for Sumbe. The winner of his first two starts this year for Christopher Head, he later ran a good fifth in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains. Should he continue  to run well at the top level, then a place on the Sumbe stallion roster may well beckon; as a son of the late and much-missed Le Havre, one of the last significant members of the once powerful Blushing Groom sire line, he would surely be a very welcome addition.

Just days after Longchamp’s trial action, Dalakhani’s influence was felt yet again, this time at Newmarket through the Feilden Stakes winner Jayarebe. Oliver Pawle bred the Zoffany colt out of Dalakhani’s Listed-winning daughter Alakhana, a relation to the German Group winners Davidoff and Denaro. Zoffany is invariably an influence for speed but Dalakhani’s influence should stand Jayrebe in good stead should connections decide to go a Derby route.

With the likes of Candala, Ramadan and Jayrebe working for him among others, the chances are that Dalakhani will be represented to good effect through his daughters on this year’s European Classic scene. So while there’s little hope of his sire line maintaining a foothold, at least his daughters are ensuring that the popular grey will remain a force in bloodlines for some years to come.