|Breeder||HH Aga Khan IV|
|Owner||HH Aga Khan IV|
|Trainer||Alain de Royer-Dupre|
|Zarkava is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Zarkasha by Zamindar. She was born around 2005 in Ireland, and was bred by HH Aga Khan IV.|
French Classic Race wins:|
Prix de Diane (2008)
Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (2008)
European Horse of the Year (2008)|
European Champion 3-Y-O Filly (2008)
|Horse (Equus ferus caballus)|
|Last updated on November 18, 2008|
Zarkava (foaled March 31, 2005 in Ireland) is a French Thoroughbred racehorse. Bred and raced by HH Aga Khan IV, she was sired by Group II winner Zamindar who also sired the multiple Group One winner, Darjina. Out of the mare, Zarkasha, her damsire is Kahyasi, winner of the 1988 Epsom and Irish Derbys.
Zarkava made two starts at age two at Longchamp Racecourse, her home base in Paris for trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre. She won both the 2007 Prix de la Cascade for maiden fillies, and the Group One Prix Marcel Boussac. As a three-year-old, she made her 2008 debut in April at Longchamp with a win in the G-3 Prix de la Grotte followed by the G-1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches in which she set a new race record time. She then won the Classic G-1 Prix de Diane at Chantilly Racecourse in June and back at Longchamp, September's 2,400 metres (1½ mile) Prix Vermeille. After stumbling out of the starting gate and losing at least a dozen lengths to the leaders, she came back from dead last to equal the race record time in winning the Prix Vermeille by two lengths.
Ridden by Christophe Soumillon in all her starts to date, Zarkava was the betting favorite leading up to the October 5th Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. In what was her first race against colts, Zarkava won the 2008 Arc with a powerful stretch drive to become the first filly in fifteen years to win the race. Zarkava was retired on October 13, 2008, with an undefeated record.
As of November 2008, Zarkava was the world's #2 ranked horse by the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities (www.IFHAonline.org) and #1 in the world by RaceHorseOwner.com The UK's Daily Mail reported that in addition to being the first filly to win the Arc in 15 years, she was the first 3 year old filly to win since 1982 and the first of either sex to win the great race from her post position since 1964.
Many began to question her ability to win the Arc after her tardy start in the Prix Vermeille. However, on November 17, 2008, when she was named Cartier Horse of the Year for Europe, His Highness the Aga Khan, her owner and breeder, noted in a video interview posted on the website of the UK's Daily Telegraph that they had been working to get this quirky filly to leave from a state of relaxation in the gate and run in a more relaxed mode at the start of her races instead of getting "all tied up". He also said Zarkava had matured at 3 and did not get into her pace as quickly as she did at 2. The Aga Khan went on to say she was an exceptional racehorse in a year of exceptional horses; and that her quality was identified very early, resulting in being placed in Group 1 races after her maiden win. The interview also stated that his daughter, Princess Zahra, was deeply involved in the breeding of Zarkava, as well as the Aga Khan's other horses. His Highness has been quoted in story after story as saying Zarkava represents "the apogee" of his family's 90+ years of breeding champion thoroughbreds.
The Timeform announced that they rated Zarkava at 133 after the Arc, making her the joint-best filly or mare in the last 20 years and joint-seventh in the last 40 years. This was significantly higher than the official rating, but Phil Smith, the senior British Horseracing Authority Handicapper, explained that it was like comparing apples and oranges.
"We look at the facts and make our assessment in an historical context," he said. "We're not trying to speculate. We think Zarkava is exceptionally good, and we think our figure reflects that. We're also constantly updating our list of the 50 top horses, and she is joint-second [with Duke Of Marmalade] on 127, only 3lb behind the top-rated, Curlin. Many forget she was receiving a 3lb sex allowance, which if applied to our list, would bring her out as the same horse as Curlin [as the #1 rated horse in the world].
Zarkava won the horseraceinsider.com award Most Under-Appreciated Significant Victory of 2008 Insider Award: To three-year-old filly Zarkava for her defeat of older males in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The first foal for Zarkava was a filly by Dalakhani born on February 6, 2010 at Gilltown Stud in Kilcullen, County Kildare, Ireland.
|Gone West||Mr. Prospector||Raise a Native|
|Zaizafon||The Minstrel||Northern Dancer|
|Kahyasi||Ile de Bourbon||Nijinsky|
- List of Undefeated horses
- ↑ Arc star Zarkava retired to stud
- ↑ http://www.horseraceinsider.com/blog.php/The-Insiders-Awards/category/2008-insiders-awards/01222009-form-holds-in-2008-insider-awards
- ↑ Notable 2010 Foals | Thoroughbred Times 
- Video at YouTube of Zarkava's win in the Prix Vermeille (French language)
- Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/othersports/article-1069351/Zarkava-proves-shes-lady-equals-France-romps-Arc-triumph.html)
- Daily Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/horseracing/3479586/Aga-Khan-hails-brilliant-filly-Zarkava-Horse-Racing.html)