By Andrew Caulfield
The decision to bestow the name Deep Impact on a royally-bred colt by the sensational Sunday Silence has proved more than a little prescient. Group 1 events in Japan rarely go by without attracting at least one Deep Impact representative and Sunday’s G1 Tenno Sho (Autumn) saw the Shadai superstar supply seven of the 18 contestants. He also had five runners in June’s G1 Yasuda Kinen, including the winner Satono Aladdin, and four in April’s G1 Satsuki Sho, the 2000 Guineas equivalent which fell to his son Al Ain.
To be honest, 2017 hasn’t so far been a vintage year for Deep Impact in Japan, but there are still eight Group 1 races to come, including the Japan Cup and three juvenile events. As things stand, his brother Black Tide has three Group 1 victories to Deep Impact’s two, thanks to multiple Tenno Sho winner Kitasan Black.
The year has still been good enough, though, to suggest that Deep Impact is on his way to recording his sixth consecutive sires’ championship. His earnings currently stand at ¥4,929,570,000, which gives him a lead of more than ¥1,250,000,000 over his nearest rival, King Kamehameha.
That lengthy sequence of sires’ championships entitles Deep Impact to be mentioned in the same breath as Galileo, as does his achievement of siring first, second and third in Group 1 races. As John Boyce’s interesting piece in Oct. 20’s TDN pointed out, Deep Impact achieved this feat twice last year, in races as important as the Satsuki Sho and Tokyo Yushun–the equivalents to the 2000 Guineas and Derby. He still has some way to go before he matches Galileo’s six clean-sweeps, or Sadler’s Wells’s five, but there are far fewer Group 1 opportunities in Japan than in Europe.
The last few years have seen Deep Impact develop into a global force, starting in 2012 with Beauty Parlour (G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches) and Aquamarine (G3 Prix Allez France). Since then France has seen A Shin Hikari romp away with last year’s G1 Prix d’Ispahan, in addition to group victories by Kizuna and Makahiki (both winners of the G2 Prix Niel) and Akihiro (G3 Prix des Chenes). There has also been a major success by A Shin Hikari in Hong Kong, while Gentildonna, Real Steel and Vivlos have demonstrated Deep Impact’s virtues in the UAE. There have also been Group 1 victories by Real Impact and Tosen Stardom in Australia.
Mention of Australia is a reminder that Australian breeders–unlike their Northern Hemisphere counterparts–are in the fortunate position of being able to lure top-class Japanese horses to the Southern Hemisphere at a time when they are not required in their homeland. Arrowfield is currently standing Deep Impact’s Group 1-winning sons Mikki Isle and Real Impact (as well as Screen Hero’s impressive son Maurice).
In view of Deep Impact’s international success, it is no surprise that European breeders have begun to support him (even though the process of sending mares to Japan can be rather expensive and complicated). In France, the Wertheimer brothers have been leading the way numerically and they have the recent Chantilly 2-year-old winner Tempel among their Deep Impact youngsters. The Niarchos family’s Flaxman Holdings has also enjoyed success, firstly with Akihiro and more recently with the 2017 2-year-old debut winner Study of Man.
The Coolmore partners are also among Deep Impact’s admirers, partly because he is one of the few world-class stallions who represents an outcross for their growing band of Galileo broodmares. We first saw Deep Impact make his mark with a Galileo mare when the Shadai-bred Vanquish Run landed last year’s TV Tokyo Hai Aoba Sho, a Group 2 trial for the Japanese Derby. Presumably Vanquish Run was injured when he finished in the rear in the Derby itself, as he hasn’t raced since.
The Coolmore partners already had several youngsters in the pipeline by then, including two out of Galileo’s champion daughter Maybe and two out of Danehill’s champion daughter Peeping Fawn. It is just as well that they repeated the matings, as Maybe’s first Deep Impact foal, the listed-placed Pavlenko, has won only one of her 11 starts, whereas Peeping Fawn started with Wisconsin, who hasn’t thrived at group level since winning a Tipperary maiden.
Fortunately, these mares’ second visits to Deep Impact have been much more fruitful. Peeping Fawn’s daughter, ‘TDN Rising Star’ September is a leading candidate for the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, having won the Listed Chesham S. and finished a very close second in the G1 Fillies’ Mile.
However, the star of the show is proving to be fellow ‘Rising Star’ Saxon Warrior, the second foal of Maybe. He maintained his unbeaten record in determined style in the influential G1 Racing Post Trophy, despite being intimidated by the hanging Roaring Lion. The first question now is whether he is going to be fast enough to win the G1 2000 Guineas.
The fact that Deep Impact has sired the last two winners of the Japanese equivalent is irrelevant, as the Satsuki Sho is contested over a mile and a quarter. However, Deep Impact sired four consecutive winners (Marcellina, Gentildonna, Ayusan and Harp Star) of the Oka Sho, the 1000 Guineas equivalent which is contested over a mile. His daughter Beauty Parlour also triumphed in the French 1000 Guineas equivalent.
I can’t help thinking, though, that Saxon Warrior is more of a middle-distance colt in the making, even though he is out of a champion 2-year-old. In an unbeaten juvenile campaign Maybe followed up her Chesham S. success with three group wins, culminating in the G1 Moyglare Stud S. She proved less effective at three, although she finished third behind the runaway winner Homecoming Queen in the 1000 Guineas and a respectable fifth behind her 20-1 stablemate Was in the Oaks. Her connections must have decided that she didn’t stay, as her subsequent starts were back at a mile.
Maybe’s sister Promise To Be True ran only once at three after being placed in both the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac and G1 Criterium International at two. Another sister, Fluff, gained her only win at two. Interestingly, Fluff was among the Galileo mares sent to visit Deep Impact in 2017, along with Kissed By Angels, a group-winning sister to the outstanding Minding, and Best In The World, a group-winning sister to Arc winner Found.
The record of Maybe’s dam Sumora provides some excuse for Maybe’s failure to stay a mile and a half. This daughter of Danehill was a hard-pulling 2-year-old who earned a Timeform rating of 105 over five furlongs. She then upped her rating to 109 at three, racing mainly at up to six furlongs.
With Galileo as her sire and a Danehill mare as her dam, Maybe is in illustrious company. Altogether there are 12 Group 1 winners bred this way. Most of them won over a mile and a quarter or more, including Frankel, Intello, Highland Reel, Tapestry, Noble Mission, Golden Lilac, Romantica, Cima de Triomphe and Deauville.
Sumora herself is closely related to Dancing Rain, the Oaks and German Oaks winner who was sired by Danehill Dancer from Sumora’s dam, Saxon Warrior’s third dam, the unraced Indian Ridge mare Rain Flower, who was a three-parts-sister to Ahonoora’s Derby-winning son Dr Devious.
In other words, Saxon Warrior comes from a family which has already produced winners of the Derby and Oaks, and I look forward to seeing him over a mile and a half at Epsom next June.