Zarak: the fourth foal but first runner for ace mare ZarkavaPICTURE: Dubai Racing Club/Andrew Watkins)
Blood will out - regally bred Zarak impresses
SEND the best to the best to breed the best, they say, although it does not always work out like that and there have been plenty of products of brilliant sires and racemares who showed precious little of their parents' ability.
One example where the method does seem to be working out is Zarak, a son of Darley flagbearer Dubawi, sire of 27 Group 1 winners, out of unbeaten five-time Group 1 winning mare Zarkava.
Zarak found only Almanzor too good in the Prix du Jockey Club and Prix Guillaume d'Ornano last year, but on Thursday he secured his first stakes success when a comfortable winner of the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes at Meydan over the Medaglia D'Oro gelding Earnshaw.
Zarak is, like his illustrious dam, trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre for owner-breeder the Aga Khan.
He won a mile maiden at Deauville on his debut at two, and did not win again at three after scoring at Maisons-Laffitte on his seasonal bow, but did finish third in the Prix Dollar and fourth in the Prix du Moulin to go with his runner-up efforts behind Almanzor.
Royer-Dupre reported Zarak has done particularly well physically from three to four and expects him to stay further. Targets on Dubai World Cup night could be the Dubai Turf or Sheema Classic.
The Aga Khan would surely take great pleasure in standing a son of his exceptional mare Zarkava - unbeaten in seven races including the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches, Prix de Diane and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe - at either his Gilltown Stud or Haras de Bonneval.
Zarak is the fourth foal out of Zarkava, a 12-year-old daughter of Zamindar.
Zerkaza, the dam's first foal, a filly by Dalakhani, was unraced and has an Exceed And Excel two-year-old filly and an Oasis Dream yearling colt; Zarkash, the second foal, was a Sea The Stars colt but died in training; Zarkar, the third foal, is a Galileo colt who also failed to make the track but has been given a chance at stud in Argentina.
Zarkava has a two-year-old filly by Frankel and a yearling colt by Invincible Spirit. She was covered by Siyouni in 2016 and will return to Sea The Stars this year.