Vadeni to Race at 4, With Arc Ultimate Goal


Photo: Zuzanna Lupa Photography
Vadeni wins the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly Racecourse

Qatar Prix du Jockey Club (G1) and Coral-Eclipse (G1) hero Vadeni  will be kept in training next year, with a second crack at the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1) the ultimate aim for the Aga Khan's homebred.

Vadeni shrugged aside concerns as to whether his brilliance could be stretched out over a 1 1/2 miles Oct. 2 when he was second after chasing Alpinista  all the way to the line in the Arc.

In the immediate aftermath at ParisLongchamp, Princess Zahra Aga Khan stressed to the Racing Post the importance of creating stallions—although she said no decision had been made on Vadeni. It appears the internal discussions within the team that followed have led to the conclusion there is still more to come from the son of Churchill  before he begins stud duties.

"He's come out of Sunday very well and he'll have a deserved quiet time over the winter ahead of coming back into training next year," said the Aga Khan's racing and stud manager in France, Georges Rimaud.

All the top 1 1/4-mile races are likely to be up for consideration, with trainer Jean-Claude Rouget perhaps likely to campaign Vadeni less sparingly than can sometimes be the case with the very top middle-distance horses.

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"We are looking for him to build his career further at 4 on the way to running again in the Arc," said Rimaud. "You could see him starting in a race like the Prix Ganay (G1) or the Prince of Wales's Stakes (G1), and then you have races like the Juddmonte International (G1) and the Irish Champion (G1).

"Everything will depend on how he goes early on and what the opposition is. We'll see how he is early in the year, but for now the horse deserves a proper break."

Rimaud shares Rouget's opinion that Vadeni was a little rusty when third behind fellow 3-year-olds Luxembourg  and Onesto  at Leopardstown last month.

"He has progressed very well all through the year, and perhaps the break in the summer was a bit long for him after he won the Eclipse and he may have lacked a race between then and the Irish Champion," said Rimaud.

"He is really a very, very good horse and I have no hesitation in saying he's the best 3-year-old in Europe.

"We thought to retire him to stud off the back of a defeat felt a little bit of a shame, while he is a horse we think can progress again at 4 and win us more top races, with perhaps the chance to win an Arc at the end of it all.

"That's obviously a long way off but he already has a wonderful list of achievements to his name this year without having run all that many times."

The Aga Khan retired champion colts such as Sinndar and Dalakhani at the end of their 3-year-old season—as well as unbeaten filly Zarkava—but more recently has campaigned future stallions such as Zarak   and Dariyan  at 4 before they headed to the Haras de Bonneval in Normandy.

Both Zarak and Dariyan won their group 1 at 4. After a string of top-level performances this season, the prospect of Vadeni developing further next year has to be taken seriously.

With Erevann  also staying in training at 4—the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) was cited as a likely target in the first half of the year after his success in the Qatar Prix Daniel Wildenstein (G2) on Oct. 1—Rouget and the Aga Khan team have an exciting 2023 ahead.