Deep Impact: Gone But Certainly Not Forgotten

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Contrail was Deep Impact's leading earner for the second year and has now joined the Shadai roster | Japan Racing Association

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The death of Deep Impact (Jpn) in July 2019 may have robbed Japan, and the wider breeding industry, of a phenomenally successful stallion but his dominance persists for now, with a tenth Japanese sires' championship going his way in 2021. 

The most prolific son of Sunday Silence, who was just 17 when he died a few months after covering a final book of 24 mares, has held the title consecutively since 2012, the year in which his eldest runners were 4-year-olds. He had hit the ground running as the champion first-season sire in 2010.

From that final crop, members of which have just turned two, seven foals are listed as having been born in Japan, and another seven in Europe. As would be expected, they belong to some high-end breeders, and include the Aga Khan's half-sister to the five-time Group 1 winner and young stallion The Autumn Sun (Aus) (Redoutes's Choice {Aus}); Godolphin's half-sister to Prix Marcel Boussac and Breeders' Cup winner Wuheida (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}); a full-brother to Saxon Warrior (Jpn), and a filly out of the seven-time Group 1 winner Minding (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), whose first foal born the previous year was a colt by Deep Impact. Also among the Galileo mares sent to Deep Impact in his final year by the Coolmore partners were the multiple Group 1 winners Hydrangea (Ire) and Rhododendron (Ire), both of whom foaled colts.

The Niarchos family, whose early patronage of Deep Impact resulted in his Classic-winning son Study Of Man (Ire), who is now his sole representative at stud in Britain, have a 2-year-old filly out of Malicieuse (Ire), a Galileo half-sister to Bago (Fr) and Maxios (GB). 

With Snowfall (Jpn) having enhanced Deep Impact's record in the European Classics last year with her victories in the Oaks and Irish Oaks, it is not unreasonable, from this select clutch of youngsters, to imagine that his tally in this part of the world could be extended further still by his final two batches of 3-year-olds this year and next.

Deep Impact's progeny earnings for 2021 stood at ¥6,978,499,500 (approximately £44.5m/€53.3m) from 205 winners, led by Contrail (Jpn), who bowed out of his own magnificent racing career with victory in the Japan Cup the year after he completed the Triple Crown. Deep Impact was also represented by his seventh (and fourth consecutive) Japanese Derby winner in Shahryar (Jpn).

At a fee of ¥12 million (approximately £76,300/€91,500), Contrail is now one of six sons of Deep Impact at Shadai Stallion Station, where their sire stood his entire career and was routinely graced with big books of high-class mares. In all bar one of Deep Impact's full covering seasons he was sent in excess of 200 mares, reaching a high of 262 in 2013. Unsurprisingly, he is also an accomplished broodmare sire, a sphere in which his name will loom large for a good while to come, and was runner-up in that division in 2021.

For the second year running, fellow Shadai stallions Lord Kanaloa (Jpn) and Heart's Cry (Jpn) filled the second and third places on the Japanese sires' list.  The former, a 14-year-old son of the late King Kamehameha (Jpn), has five Group 1 winners to his credit, including the outstanding Almond Eye (Jpn), and his leading performer last year was the 6-year-old Danon Smash (Jpn), whose top-flight wins have come in both Japan and Hong Kong. Lord Kanaloa also had a smart juvenile in 2021, the Group 2 winner King Hermes (Jpn), among his 247 winners overall–the highest number recorded by any of the stallions on the list.

Heart's Cry, another son of Sunday Silence and racing contemporary of Deep Impact, had the champion back in second when winning the G1 Arima Kinen in his final season on the track, and he has compiled his own impressive record at stud, albeit always in Deep Impact's shadow. Now 21, Heart's Cry is the sire of the globetrotting Lys Gracieux (Jpn) and Japan Cup winner Suave Richard (Jpn) among his 11 Group I winners.

Recording his highest place on the sires' list to date was Deep Impact's 12-year-old son Kizuna (Jpn), who was the leading first-season sire of 2019 and is looking a proper force to be reckoned with after just three crops of racing age. Kizuna was the second of his sire's Derby winners in 2013 and he ventured to France that same year to win the G2 Prix Niel before finishing fourth behind Treve (Fr) in the Arc.

With 155 winners in 2021, Kizuna was also represented by his first top-level winner in Akai Ito (Jpn), victrix of the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup in November. His first-crop son Deep Bond (Jpn) won the G2 Hanshin Daishoten and G2 Prix Foy at Longchamp as well as finishing runner-up in both the G1 Tenno Sho and G1 Arima Kinen.

King Kamehameha (Jpn) died only a fortnight after a Deep Impact so his is another name who will gradually disappear from the stallion tables, if not from pedigrees. He was fifth overall in 2021, but he got the better of Deep Impact in one regard when finishing at the top of the broodmare sires' list.

Another of King Kamehameha's sons, the 15-year-old Rulership (Jpn), was just below him on the table, while with five crops of racing age under his belt, the former Japanese Triple Crown winner and dual Arc runner-up Orfevre (Jpn) was seventh. 

The handsome Epiphaneia (Jpn), a son of Symboli Kris S and a contemporary of Kizuna, is doing well from his first three crops to be eighth overall. He is ahead of his young rival in one regard, however, as Epiphaneia is already the sire of three Grade I winners, including last year's Arima Kinen winner Efforia (Jpn) and this season's Classic prospect Circle Of Life (Jpn).

Drefong Leads The Japanese Freshman Sires

Gio Ponti's multiple Grade I-winning son Drefong took up residence at the Shadai Stallion Station in 2018 and the Breeders' Cup Sprint hero is already making a mark on his adopted country, having claimed the first-season sires' championship in 2021. 

He covered 207 mares in his first book, and of his 92 starters last year, he notched 31 winners, six clear of his nearest rival in that regard, Copano Rickey (Jpn), by Sunday Silence's son Gold Allure (Jpn), who was sixth overall. Drefong's leading runner was Northern Farm's Geoglyph (Jpn), whose two wins included the G3 Sapporo Nisai S.

Deep Impact's son Silver State (Jpn), who stands at the Yushun Stallion Station, was runner-up in the table with 22 winners, including the Group 3 winner Water Navillera (Jpn). The Japanese 2000 Guineas winner Isla Bonita (Jpn), by Fuji Kiseki (Jpn), also recorded 22 winners to be third.

The hugely talented Kitasan Black (Jpn), the leading son of Deep Impact's full-brother Black Tide (Jpn), was a seven-time Group 1 winner on the track and he is off to a decent start at stud, finishing fourth in the table with 13 winners from 44 starters. 

Darley Japan's Grade 1-winning son of War Front, American Patriot, was fifth, represented by 18 winners, including the Group 3 runner-up Be Astonished (Jpn).

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