Dominance Runs Deep In Japan's Championship

Deep Impact | Kelsey Riley


Five months after his death at the age of 17, Deep Impact (Jpn) lodged his ninth consecutive sires' championship in Japan in 2019, with his 244 winners contributing to progeny earnings of ¥7,773,484,000 (£54.5m/€64.3m). It will be no surprise to see his name in the top spot for a number of years to come, closing in on the record of his sire Sunday Silence, who was champion sire in Japan 14 times, from 1995 to 2008.

Deep Impact's similar dominance is all the more profound considering that his position in the general sires' list has been maintained ever since his first crop turned four. In 2011, in only his second year with runners, he finished third in the table.

He was of course always graced with big books of high-class partners. In all bar one of his full covering seasons he covered in excess of 200 mares, reaching 262 in 2013, while his third year at stud in 2009 was a low for him at 171 but still a figure owners of most other stallions would dream of achieving. In what would prove to be his final season at the Yoshida family's Shadai Stallion Station, before his neck condition ruled him out of covering and ultimately led to his woefully early demise at the end of July, he served 24 mares.

The highlight on the racecourse in 2019 was his Japanese Derby winner Roger Barows (Jpn), from the same family as Deep Impact's champion daughter Gentildonna (Jpn). Unusually for a Japanese Classic winner, Roger Barows was retired in August with a career-ending injury and he is a new recruit to Arrow Stud this season.

He was one of nine individual Grade 1 winners for Deep Impact last year and his fifth home Derby winner. Two of those prior to Roger Barows are already at stud: Deep Brillante (Jpn) is at the Breeders' Stallion Station, while the winner the following year (2010) was Kizuna (Jpn), who retired to stand alongside his father at Shadai and has just been crowned champion first-season sire of 2019 as well as finishing runner-up to Deep Impact on the table for leading sires of 2-year-olds. We'll hear more about him later on in this review.

Heart's Cry (Jpn), another son of Sunday Silence and a year older than Deep Impact, may have amassed earnings some way short of the leader at ¥ 4,181,089,000 (£29.3m/€34.6m) but he was clear second from Lord Kanaloa (Jpn) and was represented on the international stage by his daughter Lys Gracieux (Jpn), Japan's Horse of the Year for 2019 following her victories in the Cox Plate and Arima Kinen, the latter won by her sire 14 years earlier. The 19-year-old Shadai stallion also supplied the Japan Cup winner Suave Richard (Jpn) and the Grade 1-winning juvenile Salios (Jpn).

Heart's Cry wasn't the only one with a top-class daughter advertising his growing profile worldwide as the former top-class sprinter Lord Kanaloa (Jpn) is the sire of the much admired Almond Eye (Jpn), from his first crop, who added the G1 Dubai Turf and G1 Autumn Sho to her 2018 triumph in the Japan Cup. But it was his second-crop star, the champion 3-year-old colt Saturnalia (Jpn), who was the biggest earner for the 12-year-old, whose sire King Kamehameha (Jpn) died a fortnight after Deep Impact during a sad spell for the Shadai. The dual champion sire in 2010 and 2011 before the reign of Deep Impact began, King Kamehameha had been pensioned after the 2018 covering season and ended the 2019 season in fifth place on the table having finished runner-up for seven years prior to that.

Splitting father and son in fourth was another son of Sunday Silence, the G1 Hong Kong Vase and G1 Dubai Sheema Classic winner Stay Gold (Jpn), who died in 2015. He has been consistently in the top five stallions in Japan in the last five seasons and had the G1 Hasuda Kinen winner Indy Champ (Jpn), a member of his final full-sized crop, as his leading light in 2019.

Rulership (Jpn) is another emerging son of King Kamehameha who worked his way into sixth place in the year that his largest crop of 185 foals were juveniles. The 4-year-old Mer De Glace (Jpn) stole the show with victory in the G1 Caulfield Cup, while the Gai Waterhouse-trained Hush Writer (Jpn) was another Australian stakes winner for Rulership in the G3 Newcastle Gold Cup.

Another two of the five sons of Sunday Silence in the top ten were Daiwa Major (Jpn) and the late Gold Allure (Jpn), while hitting that top ten for the first time was his grandson Kinshasa No Kiseki (Aus), by Fuji Kiseki (Jpn). With the ninth-placed South Vigorous no longer covering, it leaves Yushun Stallion Station's Henny Hughes, in 14th place, as the first non-Shadai resident on the table among the active sires.


Kizuna Fast Out Of The Gate

Deep Impact famously took up the baton from his own hugely successful sire and, just as with Galileo (Ire) in Europe, the search is on for his successor. Six of his sons stand at Shadai Stallion Station and they include two of the top three first-season sires in Japan in 2019, Kizuna (Jpn) and Real Impact (Jpn).

Kizuna topped the table but he also had the highest number of runners—127 in total—for 27 individual winners including his top earner, the North Hills-bred G3 Hakodate Nisai S. winner Bien Fait (Jpn). Now 10, Kizuna's own race record was highlighted by his Derby win but he landed another four stakes races, including his victory over Ruler Of The World (Ire) in the G2 Prix Niel before running fourth in the Arc.

A half-brother to the former American- and French-based sire Sunday Break (Jpn) (Forty Niner) as well as treble Grade 1-winning filly Phalaenopsis (Jpn) (Brian's Time), Kizuna, who had 184 foals in his first crop, posted progeny earnings of ¥491,538,000 (£3.4m/€4.1m). As previously mentioned, he was the second leading sire of 2-year-olds after Deep Impact.

Japan Cup winner Epiphaneia (Jpn), a son of Symboli Kris S, had the highest number of winners among the freshman, with 37 from 105 starters and ¥344,640,000 (£2.4m/€2.8m) in earnings.

Real Impact (Jpn), who has also shuttled to Arrowfield Stud and presently has first-crop runners in Australia, sired 15 winners from his debutants in his native country to finish third.

The dual Classic winner Gold Ship (Jpn), a grandson of Sunday Silence through Stay Gold, stands at Big Red Farm and finished fourth with the G3 Sapporo Nisai S. first and second Black Hole (Jpn) and Satono Gold (Jpn) among his representatives. Though covering books of around 100 mares in his first three years, this is way behind the numbers covered by many of his competitors at Shadai.

Arrow Stud's World Ace (Jpn) was the third son of Deep Impact to finish in the top five. Out of an Acetanango (Ger) half-sister to Manduro (Ger) (Monsun {Ger}), the 11-year-old won the G2 Milers Cup and was runner-up in the Satsuki Sho (2000 Guineas). He had 18 first-crop winners to his name from just 59 starters.

Posting a similarly decent strike-rate was Yushun Stallion Station's To The World (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}), who was represented by 21 winners from 63 runners. Though not technically a freshman, the former Ashford Stud stallion Majestic Warrior (A. P. Indy), now age 15 and at East Stud, can boast a first Japanese crop which yielded 21 winners from 62 starters.


Broodmare sires

TDN will not be handing out any prizes to those who guessed that Sunday Silence was the leading broodmare sire in Japan last year. It is a title which has been bestowed on him posthumously every year since 2007, five years after he died.

With the offspring of his daughters amassing ¥4,404,923,500 (£30.9m/€36.4m) in earnings, his aforementioned grand-daughter Almond Eye, out of Fusaichi Pandora (Jpn), was the star performer in 2019, while bred on the same cross was Grade 2 winner Diatonic (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}).

Of results outside the Japanese tables, another of King Kamehameha's sons, Rulership, is the sire of Caulfield Cup winner Mer De Glace, who is out of the Sunday Silence mare Blue Glacier, while fellow Australian Group 1 winner Avilius (GB) (Pivotal {GB}), is out of Sunday Silence's Gainsborough Stud-bred Alessandria (GB).

Deep Impact will surely creep up the broodmare sires' table in time—in 2019 he finished 11th—but Kingmambo's son King Kamehameha, who has demonstrated an affinity with the Sunday Silence line, will surely have his turn as champion in this sphere and has been third and second in the last two seasons.

The grey Shadai veteran Kurofune (Jpn) took his highest place in the table to date in third with his key representatives being the half-sisters Chrono Genesis (Jpn) (Bago {Fr}) and Normcore (Jpn) (Harbinger {GB}), winners respectively of the G1 Shuka Sho and G1 Victoria Mile. Meanwhile his sire French Deputy, runner-up in the three previous seasons, was fifth, narrowly behind Sunday Silence's son Agnes Tachyon (Jpn), who was Japan's champion sire in 2008, the year before he died.

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