If you’ve never been there, the Northern Horse Park on Hokaido’s Northern Farm, is a unique playground dedicated to the horse, the only institution of its kind situated on a stud farm in the world, from whence came our resident stallion, Admire Main.
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Japan Horse Racing
The rise of international racing in all corners of the world, with big money, big media and big stars flashing over new horizons, could lead to the reinvention of a “World Series Of Racing” concept, as well as focused cross promotion of championship events.
South Africa’s multi-million Rand horseracing industry (2012) / CNBC Africa
“In fact De Kock’s Dubai string, not all of whom were South African-bred,
raked in 12,996,200 dirhams in total (close to R37,5 million).”
Gold CircleHorseracing as a sport has flourished in Japan due to the support of government. One of the most significant moments from a South African perspective at Meydan in Dubai two Saturdays ago might well have been when the Klawervlei-bred Vercingetorix, who has uplifted the lives of a co-operative of grooms, chased home the breathtakingly brilliant Japanese horse Just A Way in the US$5 million Dubai Duty Free.
The Japanese government prioritised horseracing as an important industry after World War II and it has been operated under direct government control since 1948. In 1954, the government established the Japan Racing Association, a semi-governmental corporation, to conduct all aspects of horse racing. Just A Way is the latest in a succession of world class Japanese racehorses that descend from the immortal stallion Sunday Silence, who won the first two legs of the US triple crown in 1989 and was imported to Japan in the early 1990s. Gentildonna, who won the US$5 million Dubai Sheema Classic at the same meeting, is also a Japanese-bred that hails from Sunday Silence. The Japanese government has also thrown its weight and financial support behind their thoroughbred breeding industry. This has allowed Japanese horseracing to become a world leader and a source of virulent national pride.
South African breeding continues to make an impact abroad and in this regard a lot is owed to the stud owners that have imported stallions like Silvano, Var, National Assembly, Western Winter, Fort Wood, Oratorio, Black Minnaloushe, Trippi, Mogok, Rakeen and others, often at great expense, as well as some top class broodmares.
However, Vercingetorix’s success might have opened up a whole new ball game as the South African government played a significant role in his early life.
It is well documented that Vercingetorix was bought off Klawervlei Stud as a weanling by a grooms co-operative thanks to a R200,000 grant by Donald Mubusela and Thami Klassen of the Department of Trade and Industry. The co-operative, chaired by Abraham Carelse of Riverton Stud, later sold the Silvano colt for R1,4 million at the National Yearling Sale and with the proceeds they have been able to establish themselves as breeders with significant prospects. It is a fairytale economic empowerment story.
Vercingetorix had won his previous two starts in Dubai, including the Group 1 Jebel Hatta, and his three runs there earned his connections 4,728,800 dirhams (over R13,5 million).
Economic benefits will usually accompany national sporting success, so another significant moment on Dubai World Cup night came when jockey Anton Marcus carried the national flag proudly after winning the Group 2 US$1 million Godolphin Mile on the South African-bred Variety Club. The twice Equus Horse Of The Year was followed home by another South African-bred, Soft Falling Rain.
Variety Club had two wins and a second during his Dubai stint for earnings of 2,796,800 dirhams (over R8 million), while multi-million amounts would have also been earned by other South African-bred Dubai Carnival winners, Shea Shea and Sanshaawes. In fact Mike de Kock’s Dubai string, not all of whom were South African-bred, raked in 12,996,200 dirhams in total (close to R37,5 million).
This success highlighted the potential that the South African horseracing industry has to contribute to the economy. The statistics quoted above would “go through the roof”, as De Kock has often put it, if the stringency of the current export protocols could be lifted. South African horses currently have to endure the stress of an arduous five month journey via Mauritius and the UK just to reach Dubai due to quarantine requirements. This is an area where government support could definitely make an impact. An advancement in the export situation would also help the country’s Olympic bid.
Extract from Gold Circle
OKA SHO (Grade 1)
Hanshin, Turf, 1600m
13 April 2014
Harp Star (Jpn) (Deep Impact) may have been second best in last year’s G1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies, the championship race of that division, but she left no doubt as to her dominance at Hanshin Sunday, making a last-to-first run to claim the G1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas), the first leg of the Japanese Fillies Triple Crown by a neck over Red Reveur (Jpn) (Stay Gold), with Nuovo Record (Jpn) (Heart’s Cry) third.
Taking up her usual position at the rear of the field, Harp Star sat last of 18 through the early stages while Red Reveur and Nuovo Record stalked the pace. Tipping wide to circle the field coming off the turn, Harp Star charged down the middle of the track and hit the lead in the closing stages to win in a mainly hands-and-heels ride.
“It’s as if she knew that this was a big Group 1 race because she gave it her best,” said winning rider Yuga Kawada. “I’ve experienced a lot with her since her 2-year-old races so I’m just glad we were able to win today.”
It was the fourth Oka Sho victory as a trainer for former jockey Hiroyoshi Matsuda. His first came with Harp Star’s second dam, Vega, in 1993, followed by the mighty Buena Vista (Jpn) (Special Week) in 2009 and Marcellina (Jpn) (Deep Impact) in 2011. Harp Star is the fourth Oka Sho winner for her sire, Deep Impact (Sunday Silence), in addition to Marcellina, Gentildonna (Jpn) and last year’s winner, Ayusan (Jpn).
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News
“Britain prides itself with having the best racing in the world, but Japan,
Hong Kong and South Africa are making us all sit up and take notice”
London - The Breeders Cup in the US is a wonderful race meeting, but while the Americans persist with dirt rather than a synthetic surface they will never attract a truly international galaxy of equine stars, and Dubai showed the Yanks just how it can be done last weekend.
Two winners each for Japan and Hong Kong, a home-bred one-two for South Africa, plus victories for Britain, Ireland and Godolphin in the World Cup itself made Meydan a night to remember - and if that was not enough we had Jennifer Lopez topping the bill after racing. It just doesn’t come any better than that.
Ironically, success in the richest race on the globe for Godolphin’s African Story, who has shown himself to be a tapeta specialist and led a clean sweep for the home nation, was met with muted applause - turf stars Military Attack and Ruler of the World clearly failed to fire on the surface - and was hardly the result that Sheikh Mohammed would have liked.
However, we were not short of international fireworks earlier, with Variety Club, South Africa’s Horse of the Year for the last two seasons, enjoying a soft lead out in front in the Godolphin Mile, holding off fellow Springbok Soft Falling Rain to give Joey Ramsden his biggest training triumph.
Mike de Kock will take Soft Falling Rain to Europe, with the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot being the prime target, and, despite having been beaten into third place behind Hong Kong flying machine Amber Sky in the Al Quoz Sprint, stablemate Shea Shea will also be on the plane to Britain, the King’s Stand Stakes at the Royal meeting again being the aim.
Christophe Soumillon asked a huge question of Shea Shea, who did not jump as smartly from the gate as De Kock would have liked, but Amber Sky’s electric early pace had everything on the stretch from a long way out, and it was no surprise to hear that he had shaved Shea Shea’s track record.
The turf sprinters look stronger than their dirt counterparts, though Hong Kong again had plenty to celebrate in the Golden Shaheen, in which the stronger stamina of Sterling City kicked in during the last 150 metres, enabling him to wear down his countryman Rich Tapestry, who is arguably better at 1000m and did well to go so close from his outside draw.
Sterling City, a second winner on the night for Hong Kong-based Brazilian superstar Joao Moreira, who also rode Amber Sky, is a possible for the Golden Jubilee at Royal Ascot, but he will probably take in the KrisFlyer International Sprint in Singapore beforehand.
Dual Japan Cup heroine Gentildonna overcame traffic problems to win the Sheema Classic for the “Land of the Rising Sun”. She is an exceptional mare, and she had to be to come from such an uncompromising position 400 metres from home, having been held in by Christophe Soumillon on the 2012 winner Cirrus Des Aigles.
Ryan Moore, who rode Gentildonna, was lucky to find an escape route in time, and the filly duly got him out of jail, but, while we would love to see her at Royal Ascot, the prize money in Japan is so big that both she and Just A Way, undoubtedly the most impressive winner of the night in the Dubai Duty Free, are likely to stay at home.
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Trev was rated the best horse in the world last year, but she is in danger of being toppled from her pedestal by Just A Way, who remember had hammered Gentildonna by four lengths in the Tenno Shen earlier in the year.
Mike de Kock’s Vercingetorix produced a career-best performance to finish second, but he had no answer to the gear change of Just A Way, who took a phenomenal 2.41sec off the course record. The Ascot executive have been courting Just A Way for several months and still hope to tempt him to Britain, with a mouth-watering clash with Trev in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes being the bait, but the Yasuda Kinen, which is run around the same time, carries an even more valuable purse and is on his doorstep. So unless Just A Way’s connections opt for prestige over the yen it ain’t going to happen.
Not to be outshone by Moreira, former British champion jockey Jamie Spencer also helped himself to two winners on the card, a shock 33-1 celebration on Irish-trained Certerach in the Dubai Gold Cup, in which Godolphin’s Cavalryman was a desperately unlucky runner-up, being stopped more times than a taxi driver on Sheikh Zayed Road, and following up on Jamie Osborne’sToast of the York in the UAE Derby.
Osborne does not have another horse in his Lambourn yard rated above 80, but for weeks he has been telling anybody who would listen that Toast of New York is “the real deal”, and, having blown the opposition away by the time they had reached the home straight, the trainer feels that it is well worth owner Michael Buckley stumping up the £8,000 next week to supplement the colt for the Epsom Derby.
However, having seen Godolphin avoid a whitewash with a seven-year-old gelding and Coolmore, who mounted their strongest raid yet on Dubai, not managing to get a horse in the first three, one left Dubai on Monday morning feeling that racing’s shift of power was edging towards the Far East.
Britain prides itself with having the best racing in the world, but Japan, Hong Kong and South Africa are making us all sit up and take notice - and long may it continue.
Extract from Tab News
Watch Orfevre winning the 2013 Arima Kinen G1
(Image and Footage : Japan Racing Association)
(Stay Gold - Oriental Art)
A crowd of 124,000 braved the wintery weather to witness 2011 Horse of the Year and Triple Crown winner Orfevre (Jpn) (Stay Gold)’s last hurrah in Sunday’s G1 Arima Kinen at Nakayama Racecourse, and the strapping chestnut gave his loyal legion of followers a performance to remember.
Settling near the back of the field off the rail through the early stages of the 2,500-meter event while an honest tempo played out up front, Orfevre switched gears coming off the final turn and, with one devastating move, turned the race into a procession. Sweeping to the lead in a matter of strides while still under a hold from jockey Kenichi Ikezoe, Orfevre swung into the stretch about three wide and three lengths clear, distancing himself with every stride and hitting the wire eight lengths the best.
It was the sixth Group 1 victory - and the second in this prestigious affair - for the 5-year-old, who recorded the second-largest winning margin in the history of the Arima Kinen, second only to Symboli Kris S’ nine-length tour-de-force in 2003.
According to Equineline stats, Orfevre bows out with earnings of $19,005,480, making him the richest racehorse in history. Fellow Japanese runners Buena Vista (Jpn) ($17,018,548) and T. M. Opera O (Jpn) ($16,200,337) sit second and third, respectively.
It took a young Orfevre four tries to break through in group company, but once he accomplished that feat in the G2 Fuji TV Sho Stakes in March of his 3-year-old career he was almost unstoppable, taking down four Group 1s including the Triple Crown Band wrapping up his season with a victory in the Arima Kinen against his elders.
His sophomore exploits earned him Champion 3-Year-Old and Horse of the Year honors, and it was with great anticipation that the horse who lifted the spirits of his country following the devastating earthquake of 2011 returned to the races at four.
Orfevre’s career thereafter was defined as much by his quirkiness as his brilliance, a streak that began to unravel in his seasonal debut in the G2 Hanshin Daishoten last year, when he bolted to the outside rail approaching the final turn, dropping back to last before re-rallying to finish second. A flat 11th in the G1 Tenno Sho Spring thereafter, Orfevre rebounded to take the G1 Takarazuka Kinen in June before setting off on his maiden voyage to France, with an eye to becoming the first Japanese horse to take the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. All appeared to be going to plan with a smooth victory in Longchamp’s local prep, the G2 Prix Foy, and a deep stretch lead in the main event three weeks later, until Orfevre veered sharply, hitting the rail and allowing the 4-year-old filly Solemia (Ire) (Poliglote) to collar him on the line.
Orfevre returned to Japan to close out his campaign with a controversial nose defeat by Triple Tiara winner and subsequent Horse of the Year Gentildonna (Jpn) (Deep Impact) in the G1 Japan Cup, and was nearly retired but for the pleadings of trainer Yasutoshi Ikee. It was decided that Orfevre would race on, with revenge in France the target, and the 5-year-old appeared in good order with a first up victory in the G2 Sankei Osaka Hai March 31. He set his sights on the G1 Takarazuka Kinen June 23, but was withdrawn after bleeding during a work nine days out from the race.
Partnered once again with Soumillon for his French engagements, Orfevre scored an eye-catching repeat victory in the Prix Foy, and appeared poised to put his Arc horrors of last year behind him. A super filly called Treve (Fr) (Motivator), however, had other plans, handing the chestnut a five-length beating and dashing Japan’s hopes for Arc glory for another year.
This year, connections opted to forgo the Japan Cup in favor of a second Arima Kinen bid, a decision that likely paid dividends, as the champion delivered the most devastating performance of his career. A retirement ceremony was held for Orfevre at the conclusion of the racecard, and 60,000 held sway in the cold and darkness to bid farewell to one of Japan’s all-time greats.
Extracts from Thoroughbred Daily News
(Photo : Greig Muir)
…BUT DON’T RUN WITH THE HERD.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Keen bloodstock students were content to wait for his first crop to turn three. All their predictions suddenly turned upside down.
Eleven winners from sixteen runners. Three in Group One and Stakes-class, from 800 to 2000m. But then, they remind us, he’s a son of Sunday Silence.
Watch Kizuna winning the Japanese Derby (Grade 1)
(Image : Japan Times - Footage : Fometter)
JAPANESE DERBY (Grade 1)
Tokyo, Turf, 2400m
26 May 2013
Kizuna emulated the feat of his Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby)-winning sire Deep Impact and gave the stallion his second straight winner of the Classic after Deep Brillante (Jpn) a year ago, while earning his first Grade 1 victory and third consecutive Group win.
After taking the Grade 3 Mainichi Hai in March, Kizuna skipped the first leg of the Triple Crown, the Grade 1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas), and instead stretched out to 2200 meters to win the Grade 2 Kyoto Shimbun Hai last time out.
Kizuna settled near the back of the field as Apollo Sonic (USA) (Big Brown) rushed out to set the early fractions. Meikei Pega Star (Jpn) (Fuji Kiseki) pulled his way to the lead down the backstretch before Apollo Sonic re-engaged that foe turning for home and briefly opened a clear lead in upper stretch. Epiphaneia (Jpn) (Symboli Kris S) was first to overtake the leader, taking over with 100 meters to run, but Kizuna, who had angled to the outside for racing room, unleashed a powerful late rally to surge to the lead late.
Kizuna’s win gave jockey Yutaka Take a record fifth Japanese Derby victory and was the first for trainer Shozo Sasaki.
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News
Ayusan (Deep Impact) - Oka Sho (G1)
(Photo : JRA)
OKA SHO (Grade 1)
Hanshin, Turf, 1600m
7 April 2013
Japanese 2-year-old filly champion Robe Tissage (Jpn) (War Emblem) had to settle for fifth place in the Grade 1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) Sunday at Hanshin as the upstart Ayusan (Jpn) (Deep Impact) sprang the upset in Japan’s first Classic of the year.
Ayusan showed decent speed from the break, but was taken in hand by jockey Cristian Demuro and raced along in a mid-pack position while under cover. Up front, it was the race favorite Kurofune Surprise who overtook pacesetting duties after a half-mile, and that gray filly spearheaded the pack into the stretch as rivals fanned out to either side of her. Ayusan, two paths further out, came with her wide run and took a narrow lead a furlong from the wire. Red Oval looked like the most likely winner soon after, however, as she came flying down the outside and perhaps put a nose in front, but Ayusan gamely fought back and asserted in the dying strides.
Ayusan becomes the third-straight Oka Sho winner for the Triple Crown winner Deep Impact (Jpn), the sire of 2011 winner Marcellina (Jpn) and last year’s heroine - and fellow Triple Crown winner - Gentildonna (Jpn). Deep Impact also sired runner-up Red Oval.
Ayusan has plenty of North American ties in her pedigree. She is a granddaughter of the New York Grade 1 winner Buy the Firm (Affirmed), and was produced by a half to Stake Winner Royal Arrow (Dayjur) and a full to Graded Stakes Winner Storm Arrow. Her winning dam Buy the Cat, a $430,000 FTSAUG yearling way back in 1996, broke her maiden in her second outing at Saratoga for Don Adam and trainer Allen Jerkens, but only made one more start in her career. She passed through the ring twice more after that before selling for a fourth time, at the 2006 Keeneland November Sale, for $60,000. In foal to Tiznow at the time, she was purchased by Heatherway Inc., agent for Shimokobe Farm, and was sent to Japan.
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News
Click above to watch the world’s top rated three-year-old filly, Gentildonna (Deep Impact), winning the 2012 Japan Cup
(Image : Paulick Report - Footage : Toshio Nagata)
“There were a couple of sentimental occurrences
on the international circuit last week”
Summerhill CEOThere were a couple of sentimental occurrences on the international circuit last week. First, Mike de Kock reminded the world of his talent when the last of the National Assemblys, Soft Falling Rain (bred by Highlands), put an international field to the sword in the UAE Guineas Trial, powering home by 2.75 lengths. There’s no knowing the class of the field, but he’s been off the racecourse since his commanding victory in the Gold Medallion (Gr.1) in May last year, and he was going an extra furlong here. It bodes well for his chances in the UAE Guineas, where his trainer thinks he’ll get the mile. Why sentimental? Tarryn Liebenberg, Michael Booysen and their crew gave him his early education right here at Summerhill, and they testify to a quick learner, a lovely, low-raking action and a reliable temperament.
Gulfstream Park in Florida, USA, hosted the annual Eclipse Racing Awards on the weekend, and the Horse of the Year was a horse who’d done most of his racing on the turf (unusually for an American Horse of the Year), but he was equally effective, if you delve into his record, on the dirt. Wise Dan is by little-heralded Wiseman’s Ferry, (and here’s the sentiment,) from a Wolf Power mare. Of course, we all remember Wolf Power as the horse whom the celebrated British racing journalist, Tony Morris, declared the “best miler in the world” of his time, and there’s another personal connection involved. The deal to sell Wolf Power to the United States for an incredible $3.5million in the early 1980s was orchestrated by our law firm, and we attended to the legal documentation as well. There’s an interesting story here, as we initially acted for an American buyer, a Oklahoma gentleman by the name of Dr Orr, who bought the horse initially for $4million. The sellers however, insisted the horse run one last race in the Clairwood Champion Stakes (R60,000 to the winner), and Dr Orr insisted in turn that if the horse were injured in the race, he would have the right to withdraw from the deal. “The Wolf” started at prohibitive odds, and in a remarkable twist of events, for the first time at the distance, Wolf Power was beaten into fourth place. Believe it or not, he pulled up with a deep cut behind his right front fetlock. I attended the vet’s inspection after the race, reported to Dr Orr, who summarily cancelled. The connections couldn’t believe it, but I suspect the determination to squeeze the last R60,000 out of the deal was as much the cause of the crestfallen looks on their faces as it was the fact that the horse had been beaten and the deal was no more.
In any event, a month later, I received a call from the legendary Birch Brothers (who were major shareholders in the horse), insisting that we act for them this time, and the horse was then onsold to Ronnie Rosen’s The Alchemy, forerunner to the present business belonging to the Kahan family in Robertson. The Alchemy at that time was a leading stallion station in Kentucky, USA, and Ronnie was an ex-car salesman in South Africa, married to the renowned cooking authoress, Myrna. “The Wolf” went on to sire a number of quality performers in that part of the world, after being transferred to Graham Beck’s Gainesway Farm, where he stood alongside the legendary likes of Blushing Groom, Lyphard, Riverman and Vaguely Noble.
Finally, while it’s not quite as personal a story, we’re also sentimental about Japanese breeding and racing, since we have among our friends and customers on Summerhill that country’s foremost breeding family. The remoteness of this island country and the uniqueness of their racing programme means that the world at large is somewhat uninformed about what goes on there. The latest determination of the World Thoroughbred Rankings however, should leave no doubt in any of our minds about the quality of the horses the Japs are producing. Those of us who witnessed the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October, will know all about Orfevre, and the ease with which he pulled away from the best in Europe in a matter of a 100m of turning for home, yet he wasn’t the best horse in Japan this past year. That honour belongs to Gentildonna, the world’s top-rated three-year-old filly, while Bodemeister was the world’s second top-rated three-year old colt of 2012. The former is a daughter of Deep Impact, who with his first crop of three-year-olds took top rank by his number of horses (six) in those ratings, ahead of the lofty likes of Galileo. There are more than a few judges who consider him the best sire on the planet.
And while we all knew he would be the top-rated horse in the world, Frankel has now become the horse by which all future thoroughbreds will be measured. He is officially, since the ratings came into being in the 1970s, the highest-rated horse ever, while he also occupies top spot in the history of the Timeform ratings, which go back to the 1950s. Here is the list of Timeform’s best horses:
2012 ECLIPSE CHAMPIONS
2 Year Old Male
SHANGHAI BOBBY (Harlan’s Holiday)
2 Year Old Filly
BEHOLDER (Henny Hughes)
3 Year Old Male
I’LL HAVE ANOTHER (Flower Alley)
3 Year Old Filly
QUESTING (GB) (Hard Spun)
WISE DAN (Wiseman’s Ferry)
ROYAL DELTA (Empire Maker)
GROUPIE DOLL (Bowman’s Band)
Male Turf Horse
WISE DAN (Wiseman’s Ferry)
Female Turf Horse
ZAGORA (FR) (Green Tune)
PIERROT LUNAIRE (War Chant)
GODOLPHIN RACING LLC
Irish trainer Dermot Weld with 1993 Melbourne Cup winner, Vintage Crop
(Photo : Irish National Stud)
“One aspect of Japanese racing which I admire
is the way it still encompasses top-class races for stayers.”
If there’s one horror breeders around the world seem to have, it’s breeding to stallions which have displayed large reserves of stamina. On Tuesday, we penned a piece on the mind-shift adopted by British breeders following the conquests of the likes of Sir Ivor and Nijinsky in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and their abandonment of the use of stallions which had proven themselves over the longer trips. The emphasis turned to speed, preferably horses that had proven themselves at a mile or less. We speak of a universal horror, but at least the Japanese have overcome any concerns in this respect, and they have benefitted substantially by it.
In the immediate aftermath of our article, the pedigree guru, Andrew Caulfied, produced a commentary on Sunday’s winner of the Japan Cup (Gr.1) (Gentildonna), and in the course of it, he commented on this very topic.
“One aspect of Japanese racing which I admire is the way it still encompasses top-class races for stayers. The JRA stage the G2 Sports Nippon Sho Stayers Stakes over 2 1/4 miles, the G3 Diamond Stakes over 2 1/8 miles and the G2 Hanshin Daishoten over 1 7/8 miles, but more importantly it also still runs the spring edition of the G1 Tenno Sho over two miles and the last leg of the Triple Crown, the G1 Kikuka Sho, over 1 7/8 miles. Unlike in Europe, distinguished participation in these races doesn’t confer an automatic ticket to obscurity after retirement. Deep Impact won the Kikuka Sho to become only the sixth horse to win the Japanese Triple Crown. Then, as a 4-year-old, he began his campaign with clear-cut victories in the Hanshin Daishoten and the Tenno Sho (2 miles), so he clearly stayed very well. To be flippant, it appears that Deep Impact’s stamina hasn’t had a negative effect on his value. He was syndicated for Yen 5.1 billion, which at the time equated to around $42.7 million! He went on to run two more races after his syndication, ending his career with decisive wins in the Japan Cup and Arima Kinen, both at around a mile and a half. He has rewarded investors with 22 graded/group winners in his first two crops, which equates to more than 7% graded winners to foals in those two crops. These 22 have 19 different broodmare sires, with the doubly represented Caerleon and Bertolini each owing his double success to a single broodmare.”
Caulfield’s comments on stamina remind us of a story on The Melbourne Cup, which appeared in these columns a few seasons back: “The Melbourne Cup is an Australian institution dating to 1860 (more than thirty years before Durban staged its first Durban July), and for the first 150 years almost, Australians counted the Cup as their own, at least to the degree that they could ever count New Zealanders as family. The Aussies can be quite parochial about these things, so anything they’d have to share with their trans-Tasman neighbours could only occur in harmony if the Kiwis could take it home with a measure of grace. The stature of this race, in the end a handicap contest between a bunch of old stayers in a speed-crazy country, has grown to such a degree that the first Tuesday in November is celebrated as a public holiday in the state of Victoria, and the race has been known not only to “stop the nation”, but also to suspend the Federal parliament. The coziness which had the Cup in the clutches of Australasian horsemen for almost a century and a half, was rocked in recent years by the outreach programme embraced by the Victoria Racing Club (VRC), which subsidised flights, entry fees and accommodation for foreign raiders. In the broader scenario though, nobody foresaw a change in the status quo, so nobody worried.
Along came the Irish-trained Vintage Crop, and along came the end of innocence. Australia’s oldest sporting tradition had finally been opened up to the outside world, and the outside world had won. Some believed this could only enrich the race and the folklore that goes with it. But others were uneasy. Foreigners had plundered their best race: they might grab the money again next year. Outsiders had made their racing heroes look ordinary. If they had not come along, Australians could’ve gone on telling themselves they had the best horses and best jockeys in the world.
The controversy still simmers: it gives a fresh dimension to Geoffrey Blainey’s theory about the tyranny of distance. There is a charm in distance. It allows you to hang onto your myths. When the VRC first invited Irish and English horses to run in the Cup, most locals thought it a fine idea. It was assumed these beasts would have the good grace to lose, and that their connections would fall about saying what super horses the Australians had, and what an honour it was to spend sixty grand on airfares and to be allowed to listen to the Governor General, reading from his prepared notes with all the spontaneity of a dissident at one of Stalin’s show trials.
The trouble was, the Irish trainer Dermot Weld, did a wondrous thing. He brought Vintage Crop 17,000 kms on a 38-hour plane trip. He turned him out beautifully. He had him as fit as a horse could be, and he didn’t just win the Cup: he romped away with it, and set a weight-carrying record for a seven-year-old. Locals said it couldn’t be done, and this infiltrator had done it. The Melbourne Cup, like no other race in the world, is part of a National culture. In less than three-and-a-half minutes, everything had changed, perhaps forever. Now the other hemisphere owned a piece of the race. The Cup would become The Staying Championship of the World. This year Irish accents, next year American accents. Australians’ might have trouble winning their own race. What had they started?”
Manhattan Cafe (JPN)… a good case in point.
(Image : Oumanoshasin/Impereal)
JAPAN CUP (G1)
Tokyo, Turf, 2400m
25 November 2012
Summerhill Stud CEOIf you think that the frequency with which we revisit the achievements of the Sunday Silence-line reflects an obsession, you’re right. But the truth is, it’s because members of the tribe keep thrusting themselves into the international limelight, and it was no different in Asia’s richest horserace, the $5million Japan Cup (Gr.1) on Sunday. Four of the first five home were grandsons of the great stallion, and toiling in their wake was last month’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Gr.1) heroine, Solemia, as well as the second and third in the recent Melbourne Cup (Gr.1).
The emergence of Japanese racing in recent decades owes just about everything to Sunday Silence, as well as to the Yoshida family who stood him at their Shadai Stallion Corporation headquarters, and whose Sunday Racing syndicate owned the first three past the post on the weekend. The winner by just a nose, was the Fillies’ Triple Crown ace, Gentildonna (by the all-conquering Deep Impact), ensuring a second consecutive defeat for the Japanese star, Orfevre, who had “winner” written all over him in the Arc when he was nabbed on the post by Solemia. The extent to which the “Arc” result distorted their merits, was reflected in Sunday’s outcome, when Orfevre was decidedly Solemia’s superior. Himself a Triple Crown hero a year before Gentildonna annexed the fillies’ version, Orfevre looks every inch the world class racehorse, and will doubtless find his way to the Shadai Stallion Station when his time comes.
The signs of Japan’s growing status as a source of genuine international racehorses have been evident for decades now, and it’s an arguable proposition that they are today, pound-for-pound, the bastion of the finest mile and a half performers in the world. I spoke personally with Teruya Yoshida on an aircraft one day between Hyderabad and Mumbai, about the policy behind their acquisition of the best European Derby and “Arc” winners. He explained that it was a formula that had served Europe and Britian so well for centuries, yet they’d reached a stage where they were discarding them in favour of the speedier American types like Sir Ivor and Nijinsky. This presented Japan with an outstanding opportunity to poach the best European horses at those distances for their own purposes, and to rewrite the Japanese racing programme to suit their progeny. These days, the Japanese revere their leading performers at those trips, and they are never short of a willingness to give their St Leger winners (at a mile and three quarters) and even further, a shot at stud. A good case in point is the excellent sire Manhattan Café (by Sunday Silence no less), who ranks perennially in their top five stallions. The Japanese have always been good at spotting a gap, and in this one, they’ve outplayed the world. They gave us Toyota, remember.
Click above to watch Gentildonna and Orfevre fighting out the Japan Cup
(Image : Paulick Report - Footage : Toshio Nagata)
JAPAN CUP (G1)
Tokyo, Turf, 2400m
25 November 2012
Sunday Racing’s2011 Japanese Triple Crown winner Orfevre (Jpn) (Stay Gold) suffered a heart-breaking loss in the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at the hands of a determined filly early last month. Yesterday, he again fell prey to another gutsy lass in the form of Japan’s 2012 Filly Triple Crown heroine Gentildonna (Jpn) (Deep Impact) - also owned by Sunday Racing - in one of their home country’s premier events, the G1 Japan Cup at Tokyo.
A year after winning Japan’s Triple Crown with Orfevre, Sunday Racing was poised to sweep the filly version of the series after Gentildonna won the 1600-meter G1 Oka Sho (Japan 1000 Guineas) at Hanshin in April and the 2400-meter G1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) at Tokyo in May. The Northern Racing-bred filly was rested over the summer, and after prepping with a victory in the 1800-meter G2 Kansai Tele Corp Sho Rose Stakes at Hanshin September 16, completed the Triple Crown with a nose tally over longtime rival Verxina (Jpn) (Deep Impact) in the 2000-meter G1 Shuka Sho at Kyoto October 14.
Making her first start since and sent off the 5-1 third choice, Gentildonna was away alertly from post 15 and raced up to a prominent early position. She secured an ideal tracking position in third as Beat Black (Jpn) (Miscast) took up the running in earnest. Arc heroine Solemia, at 21-1, raced along in fourth, with the even-money Orfevre back another four or five lengths while in the clear on the outside. Beat Black began to extend his advantage on the backstretch, and led by as much as 10 lengths heading into the far turn. He still had a four-length cushion with 400 meters remaining, but the field, fanned out six abreast, was closing in fast. Gentiledonna and Orfevre, swarming past on either side of a tiring rival, soon reeled in Beat Black, with the former pushing out Orfevre a bit to avoid running up on heels of the sputtering pacesetter. From there, she gamely asserted to get her nose down as they flashed under the wire.
The win, the first by a sophomore filly in the Cup, came after a lengthy stewards inquiry, as Gentildonna had muscled her way out in the stretch and bumped with Orfevre before finishing a nose in front on the line. Sunday Racing also campaigns the third-placed finisher Rulership (Jpn) (King Kamehameha), while the operation’s fourth Cup horse, Fenomeno (Jpn) (Stay Gold), ran fifth.
Stewards let the result stand, but announced that winning jockey Yasunari Iwata, collecting his third Cup victory, would serve a two-day suspension for his ride on Gentildonna. Iwata, hardly in a down mood afterward, accepted some blame and talked about how the race unfolded. “I had studied the track condition and thought that the inside would be a good choice,” he explained. “Although the draw was way out, I was able to position nicely, and we had a perfect trip up to the stretch, I am afraid the blame is on me for causing some trouble to Orfevre. But the filly is nonetheless a great filly for out-dueling a monster like Orfevre. I was conscious of facing a very tough field compared to her past races, but decided to just concentrate on bringing out her best performance, which she did. I would certainly love to accompany her in her overseas endeavor for the coming 4-year-old season, and I am confident that she has the potential to win against the best. But she is a very delicate filly, and her chance to mature both physically and mentally comes first. I am just looking forward to feel her progress and grow up in her future races.”
“Although the Japan Cup was a big challenge for a 3-year-old filly, I was confident that she was up to the competition and she proved that today,” said winning trainer Sei Ishizaka. “She had maintained her form and I knew, being a fighter in a duel, that she would pull through and claim her victory.” He went on to confirm that there is a lot of racing left in Gentildonna. “I am thinking long term - not just next year, but even the year after that,” he said. “She still has room for improvement, and I am confident that she will have a bright future ahead. After her battle against tough competition in the Japan Cup, she will be turned out until her 4-year-old season, during which, depending on her condition, I will go on with my plan for overseas challenges, which had been my consideration ever since Gentildonna won the third leg of the Fillies Triple Crown, perhaps in Dubai, France or the U.S.”
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News
(Photo : Greig Muir)
ADMIRE MAIN (JPN)
On Wednesday last, the KZN Breeders website published a story on the auspicious emergence of the first progeny our new stallion, Admire Main in Japan. (Click here to read the article.) If you’re anything of an international race-watcher, you will know just how competitive Japanese racing has become, to the degree that they’ve been scooping some of the big ones across the globe. In other words, if you can make it in Japan these days, you can make it anywhere.
While Admire Main raised hopes of a glittering three-year-old career with a smashing debut over seven furlongs at two, his aptitude for longer distances and his pedigree suggested that anything we gleaned from his own stock at two, would be something of a Christmas gift. And the way he’s going, it looks like Santa Claus’ generosity this year will have few bounds: he may just be the reason why 2012 will not be “Twenty Twelve”, as the Mayan calendar suggests. Thus far, his record reads 11 runners, 4 winners (from 800m to 1700m,) and as many again in the money.
The integrity of the breed in South Africa demands a balanced sprinkling in aptitudes among our stallions. Somehow, our race organisers got the mix upside down, with the bulk of the prize money for those that excel at 2000m and beyond, against a programme for our younger horses which is loaded in favour of the swiftest between 1200m and 1600m. Clearly, if you want to win the big ones, you need to be on a horse that will go every inch of the way, and that calls for a liberal measure of both stamina and class. Admire Main had both in loads, and he has the added advantage of his genetic uniqueness. Australia has its own special brand of the Halo male line in More Than Ready, and while he’s a stallion of great individual brilliance, More Than Ready’s influence on the breed is never likely to match that of Sunday Silence. We’re lucky at Summerhill to have both strains, one through Traffic Guard (More Than Ready’s best-performed European son) and Sunday Silence’s through Admire Main.
If you want to be “something else”, look for something else.
Click above to watch Gentildonna winning the Shuka Sho
(Image : JRA - Footage : YSK)
SHUKA SHO (G1)
Kyoto, Turf, 2000m
14 October 2012
It’s always gratifying when a plan comes together, especially in racing and particularly when you’re trying to get a marketing message across. On Friday, the first youngsters by Sunday Silence’s accomplished son, Admire Main, are strutting their stuff at the Ready To Run Gallops (Summerhill 11am) for the first time, and they couldn’t have got their timing better. Hat Trick (Sunday Silence) has been cooking on both sides of the Atlantic, while his best racing son, Deep Impact, is looking every bit as good (if that’s possible) as good as Sunday Silence himself at this stage of his career.
It took a furious late rally, and a photo to separate her from rival Verxina (Deep Impact) - but Gentildonna (Deep Impact) got the job done and completed the sweep of Japan’s Filly Triple Crown Sunday in Kyoto in a thrilling renewal of the G1 Shuka Sho. She becomes the country’s fourth female Triple Crown winner, following in the hoofsteps of Mejiro Ramonu (Mogami) in 1986, Still in Love (Sunday Silence) in 2003, and Apapane (King Kamehameha) in 2010. The win comes a year after Sunday Racing took the male equivalent with Orfevre (Stay Gold also by Sunday Silence), and maybe helps lessen the sting of that colt’s brutal last gasp loss in last weekend’s G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
“The financial powerhouse over the next 25 years in racing will be the Middle East and Far East”
(Image : PaddyPower/123)
FINANCIAL POWERHOUSE • RACING SUPERPOWER
“You discount them at your peril.”
Frankel, a towering bay stallion that has never lost a race, bestrides the world’s racehorse rankings without ever having travelled outside Britain. His last race will be at Ascot on October 20th. He then turns to life at stud (breeding) where he is worth, on cautious estimates, £100m ($162m). His enviable retirement may mark the end of more than one era in the flat-racing world (only a handful of countries, chiefly Britain, race horses over fences, too).
John Gosden, a top British trainer, says that the “financial powerhouse” over the next 25 years in racing will be the Middle East and Far East. British racing relies on a lucrative bloodstock industry to make up for low prizes. But it is giving way to the Asian model of breathtaking winnings paid for by betting revenues and sponsors.
For now, British racing enjoys many advantages. Its bloodstock is the most prized and links with the Royal Family bring prestige. It is the second most popular spectator sport after football. Racecourse attendances are growing, by 6.6% to 6.15m last year. Foreign investors are still flowing in, most recently the Qatari Royal Family who have bought horses for breeding and racing; QIPCO, a Qatari investment firm, is sponsoring the British Champion Series, the highlight of the racing calendar, for £10m-plus over the next five years. The culmination of the series is Britain’s richest raceday: Champions Day races at Ascot in October, with over £3m in prize money.
Much of Britain’s racing establishment thinks the sun will never set. A race in Britain is the ultimate test; horses that run there become the most valuable. America’s laxer rules on drugs harm the reputation of its horses and races.
Yet ominous changes loom. Deregulation and the rise of offshore betting have cut racing revenues in Britain and Ireland. The prize money that gambling levies pay for has plummeted, sometimes below the levels of the 1980s. Last year’s total pot was only £94m ($150m), down from £104m in 2006. The winner of Britain’s most famous flat race, the Epsom Derby, gained a miserly £751,408 this year. Relative to the cost of owning and training a horse (around £25,000 annually) British prize money is now conspicuously low, despite the new Champions Day bounty.
The recession leaves owners and trainers short of money, too. The number of thoroughbred foals born in the British Isles has dropped from 18,472 in 2007 to 11,392 in 2011, and the average number of horses in training dropped by 3.2% last year. In Britain and America gamblers increasingly prefer other sports and online gaming. Race-betting in America was $11.4 billion in 2010, a drop of 22% from 2007, and counts as a “narrow interest,” says Chris Bell, who used to run Ladbrokes, a big betting firm.
Asia is another matter. With just 37% of the world’s thoroughbred flat races, it provides 60% of the money wagered, says Andrew Harding of the Asian Racing Federation. In Japan and Hong Kong, state gambling monopolies have made racing lucrative, with far bigger prizes. The three richest races in the world are now the Dubai World Cup ($10m), the Melbourne Cup ($6.4m) and the Japan Cup ($6.7m).
Already Western horses are heading east. The four most recent winners of the Dubai World Cup were trained in Dubai, Japan, France and America. The Melbourne Cup winner in 2011 was French-trained and Qatari-owned.
The new powers in world racing all have different models. Japan offers rich prize money as well as top-class breeding. John Ferguson, bloodstock adviser to Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, calls it a “racing superpower”. In Hong Kong gambling is the main draw. Both models look more sustainable than Britain’s, admits Paul Bittar, the Australian boss of the governing British Horseracing Authority.
For now, Britons are cashing in. Harry Herbert, manager of two leading British racing syndicates, says that horses that once sold for a couple of hundred thousand pounds now go for half a million. He sold a horse called Dominant last year for £1m to run in the Hong Kong Derby.
But even Sheikh Mohammed, whose investment has sustained British racing over three decades, clearly sees a future elsewhere. Ten years ago he told Mr Ferguson to “look east”. His breeding operation, Darley, has bought eight farms in Japan, with 160 mares for breeding. Two years ago he was the first foreign owner granted a licence to start competing there.
Now he and the rest of the racing world are watching China, where racing seems to be blossoming into a high-society pursuit. The wealthy Chinese are “turning much more attention to racing,” and regard it as an untapped industry, says Felix Wang, author of the “China Horse Racing Bible”. Though the sport was legalised only in 2008, already five racetrack permits have been awarded. The most ambitious is Tianjin’s Equine Culture City, which at an estimated cost of $2 billion will have two racetracks and be home to 3,000 horses. Racing is due to start in 2014, the Year of the Horse.
Chinese delegations have this year visited breeders and trainers in Ireland to buy horses, and made similar trips to Canada and France to sound out expertise. Irish Racing’s governing body employs a full-time representative in Beijing. Darley has started an equine training school for Chinese university graduates, and had 800 applications for 18 places last year, Mr Ferguson says. Mr Herbert, who manages two partly Chinese-owned horses in Britain, says that if China gets a taste for racing, it will turn the sport “upside down”. Most believe that this is only a matter of time. A decisive issue remains whether the government legalises gambling; if it does not, racing will have to depend on sponsors.
Similarly, the transfer of many great horses from west to east may erode the supremacy of British bloodstock. Mr Ferguson points out that British horses are regularly beaten by locals in Australia, Hong Kong and Japan. “You discount them at your peril,” he warns. One of the world’s top horses in recent years was Japanese-bred Deep Impact, which on retirement in 2006 was sold for ¥.1 billion ($65m).
Many assume Frankel’s breeding career will be in England. But if Asian demand for the best horses continues to soar, his fans may have to go east to see if his offspring are as marvellously fast as their father.
Extract from The Economist
Japan Racing Association Leading Breeder and Sire
(Courtesy of JRA - Correct as at 14 May 2012)
“JAPAN HORSERACING STATISTICS”
Heavens knows, Japan and its economy have had some bumpy rides in recent years. Earthquakes, tsunamis, deflation, you name it, the Japanese have known it, yet they’re an amazing nation. Devastated in the wake of the Second World War, flattened by the tragedy of a nuclear proliferation, they must rank with the most tenacious people on earth. Just a week ago, after all their reverses, Toyota Motor Corporation announced record profits, and were once again elevated to the status of Number One automobile manufacturer in the world.
Yet they’re not the only Japanese entity that’s best in the world: look at the earnings logs of their top breeders and their leading stallions, and you begin to understand why Japanese racing thrives, and thrives better than anywhere else in the world. The Yoshida family’s dominance of Japanese racing’s affairs is immediately apparent: Northern Farm, the guys that sent us Admire Main (let me reword that, the guys who could afford to send us Admire Main), have earnings already approaching R300 million this season, while their brother farm, Shadai ranks second on R264 million. The family conglomerate Shiraoi, with a fraction of the runners, sits on R78 million, and ranks third on the log. In order to put all of this into perspective, Sheikh Mohammed’sDarley Japan Farm ranks ninth on R30million. Imagine that: the year is only four-and-a-half months old, and a single breeder has already totted up close to R300 million in earnings! At the rate we pay them, that would amount to R18 million in premiums!
Now turn to the stallion log, where every one of the top ten stands at the Yoshida family’s Shadai Stallion Station. Nowhere else in the world, not even in Ireland where Coolmore stands alone, is the dominance so complete. Reassuringly, for South African breeders who understand the line and who’ve patronised Admire Main, seven of the top ten sires are sons of Sunday Silence.
Click above to watch Beauty Parlour winning Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (Gr1)…
(Image : Racing Post - Footage : Satos)
SUNDAY SILENCE (USA)
Halo (USA) - Wishing Well (USA)
It’s a genetic tragedy that Japan is so far away. For decades, Sunday Silence’s complete domination of the Japanese Sires’ logs was something of an international secret. Breeders spend their lives searching for strains that can breathe new vigour into the bloodlines at their disposal, and it’s taken more than those decades for the international community to awaken to the value of Sunday Silence and his tribe.
It’s not entirely surprising, as American breeders rejected him as a stallion prospect when he first went to stud, overlooking his phenomenal racing class because of a few engineering flaws. He was off-set in the knees, his hocks trailed a little and he was leggy and up in the air, not your quintessential American racehorse. But there was something he had that few horses of his generation and those around him possessed, and that was his sheer class, his ability to quicken, and the one element without which you cannot do in this game: guts. He had that in the abundance of a lion, and he revealed it time and again at the races.
The consequence of his isolation in Japan has meant just a tentative flirtation on the part of breeders elsewhere with his sons as stallion prospects. America’s Walmac International embraced a single one of his top racing sons, Hat Trick, and Kirsten Rousing’sLanwades Stud provided Vita Rosa with an adoptive home in the United Kingdom, though he had already been despatched to Italy for the 2012 breeding season. The Australians played hooky with a couple of them for a while, notably John Messara’sArrowfield Stud, which took on Fuji Kiseki (sire of the South African champion mare, Sun Classique) but even they have given up on this precious source of classic stamina and battle-ready durability.
Messara was smart enough though, to recognise the opportunity of obtaining the exclusive rights to send ten mares annually on southern time to the super-sire, and yielded from that relationship, an Australian Classic winner in Sunday Joy, dam of the current champion older mare, More Joyous.
It seems like the breeding countries which are less in the international spotlight have seen a gap here, and it’s all credit to the French that the unbeaten champion two-year-old colt of last season, Dabirsim, is a French-foaled, American-conceived son of Hat Trick. While the Wildenstein family is probably more famous for its trade in the art world, in racing circles and especially in France, they’re revered for their racehorses. They too, spotted the opportunity which Messara had embraced a decade earlier, and have been patronising sons of Sunday Silence in Japan. This past weekend’s winner of the French 1000 Guineas, the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (Gr1) was won in emphatic style by the hitherto unbeaten Beauty Parlour, a daughter of Sunday Silence’s masterpiece, the dual Horse Of The Year, Deep Impact. Judged on his early figures, Deep Impact could well be rivalling his own sire’s staggering numbers, with 18 Group winners already including, Gr1 Oka Sho (1000 Guineas) heroines Gentildonna and Marcellina, the Gr1 Yasuda Kinen ace, Real Impact, and the Japanese Champion Juvenile Filly, Joie De Vivre. And now of course, he has his first European Classic winner in Beauty Parlour.
Outside of a handful of people whose understanding and admiration of racehorses extends beyond our local boundaries, like Bridget Oppenheimer, Michael Roberts, Winston Chow, Peter Fenix, the Hong Kong Breeders Club, Ronnie Napier, Rupert Plersch and the boys at Backworth, there are not too many South African breeders beyond the Summerhill family who appreciate that right here on our doorstep, we have an exceptional son of Sunday Silence in Admire Main. Joint second top-rated colt of his Classic generation, and despite the prejudice against those that earn their stripes beyond Europe, rated 120 lbs by Timeform, Admire Main was a vastly talented athlete who pretty much annihilated everything that entered his sights in his first four starts (all of them at Stakes or Group level). It took a tendon injury to stop him in the Japanese Derby, where he was beaten just a neck by the season’s champion three-year-old. There won’t be many of them as a result, but when they get to the races, be sure of one thing: they won’t be stopping when the whips come out down Turffontein’s murderous straight.
World Ace (JPN) - The Kisaragi Sho (G3)
(Photo : Japan Racing Association)
THE KISARAGI SHO (Group 3)
Kyoto, Turf, 1800m
5 February 2012
The naming of racehorses is quite an involved process, because no two horses in the same country, are allowed the same name. It’s further complicated by the fact that the names of previous greats are reserved in perpetuity (including the greats from abroad), so that no horse can aspire to being a “Sea Cottage” again, for example.
It’s an arguable proposition that the most appropriately named horse in the world right now is Deep Impact, multiple Horse Of The Year in Japan, and now looking the likely stallion successor to his own great sire, Sunday Silence. There are parallels in what Deep Impact is doing in emulating his father in the European version of Galileo and Sadler’s Wells, yet it was a brave man who bet on either of Sadler’s Wells or Sunday Silence having anything remotely resembling themselves in any one of their sire sons.
Galileo has already surpassed the achievements at the same stage of Sadler’s Wells (and let’s not forget, Sadler’s Wells won a record 14 premierships in Europe), and while Deep Impact has a long furrow to plough yet before we can call him the “second coming”, he couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. The Champion Sire of Juveniles with his first crop in his native Japan, and threatening his barnmate King Kamehameha, with usurping his mantle at the head of their stallion log as his sophomores turn three, Deep Impact served notice again this weekend that his first runners were no fluke.
At Kyoto on Sunday, the first of the three-year-old classic trials, the Kisaragi Sho (G3) was a warning not only to his colleagues in Japan, but to the world at large, that Deep Impact has arrived, and he is here to stay. The race was “trifected” by his three sons, World Ace, Historical and Veiled Impact, the first two bred by Katsumi Yoshida’sNorthern Farm, and the third by Teruya Yoshida’sShadai Farm. In the case of the winner, World Ace, his victory by 2,5 lengths was a compliment to his breeding. He’s out of a mare called “Mandela”, and he ran like he knew it.
The other Group race on the card was another endorsement of Sunday Silence. First and third past the post were both grandsons, and reminded us again how lucky we are in our international friends. The best son of Sunday Silence of his generation in Japan, Admire Main is here courtesy of the Yoshida family.