Chechen President Ramzan A. Kadyrov’s Mourilyan won the Listed Windflower March Stakes at Goodwood today to give the controversial Kremlin-installed head of state his first win in Britain, I believe. If not, it was his first stakes win. Two back, Mourilyan, an ex-Aga Khan horse, ran a good second to Godolphin’s Schiaparelli in the Group 2 Coutts Goodwood Cup at Goodwood, a 2-mile race. Mourilyan raced at 14 furlongs for the Windflower March Stakes and again made a sharp late move to win. The Goodwood Cup winner also came back to win his next start.
Pedigree-wise, Mourilyan’s sire is dual Group 1-winning miler Desert Prince, a son of Green Desert — a sprinter. Green Desert, of course, is the sire of leading sires Cape Cross, Oasis Dream, and Invincible Spirit, all of them in the news lately, especially because they’ve managed to sire horses that stay farther than they did. Cape Cross, for instance, is the sire of the Guineas and Epsom Derby winner, Sea the Stars; Oasis Dream is the sire of Great Voltigeur winner Monitor Closely, who now may go in the St. Leger; and Invincible Spirit is the sire of 2007 French Derby winner Lawman.
On the political front, Mr. Kadyrov has been a controversial figure to say the least. In March, on Dubai World Cup day in Dubai, he crossed the intersection of politics and racing when his name was dragged into the assasination of Chechen rival Sulim Yamadayev (or Yamadaev) at the Jumeirah Beach Residence, prompting outrage at Chechnya from the Dubai chief of police and vice versa from Grozny for the implication. Yamadayev had slipped into Dubai late in 2008 after the assasination of his brother Ruslan in Moscow in September. (Another brother, Isa, survived an assasination attempt in Moscow two days before the Goodwood Cup.)
Between the lines, then, the Goodwood Cup became a grudge match, Dubai vs. Chechnya.
Here’s a recent interview with Ramzan Kadyrov:
News report on the death of Sulim Yamadaev in Dubai on Dubai World Cup day and friction between Dubai and Chechnya:
The assasination of Sulim’s brother, Ruslan Yamadaev, in Moscow in Sept. 2008 and ties to Ramzan Kadyrov: