Eleventh Japanese Title for Deep Impact

Can Auguste Rodin provide Deep Impact with a Classic winner from his final crop? | Racingfotos.com


To a degree, when it comes to the Japanese sires' championship of 2022, one could resort to that old saying 'the more things change, the more they stay the same'. It holds good for now, as in the last three years the names filling the top three spots in the list have remained the same, in an unchanged order: Deep Impact (Jpn), Lord Kanaloa (Jpn), and Heart's Cry (Jpn).

But all things change eventually and, as we know, two of those stallions are no longer active, with Deep Impact gaining his last three championships posthumously. With his legend now fully appreciated worldwide, he was quick to make his mark in his home country after his retirement to the Shadai Stallion Station in 2007. The son of the hugely dominant Sunday Silence was Japan's champion first-season sire of 2010. He made his debut in the top 10 of the country's general sires' list the following year by finishing in fourth position when King Kamehameha (Jpn) was champion, but Deep Impact then wrested that title from his stud-mate in 2012 and has held it on an annual basis ever since.

The members of his final small crop of 14, conceived after covering 24 mares before his premature demise at the age of 17  in August 2019, are 3-year-olds this year. In Japan, where it is still considered desirable for the elite gallopers to race on as older horses, Deep Impact could maintain his supremacy for another year, but sooner or later his reign will come to an end. His stars of 2022 in Japan were the G1 Osaka Hai winner Potager (Jpn) and Ask Victor More (Jpn), who won the G1 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St Leger). He also featured as the broodmare sire of G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup victrix Geraldina (Jpn), a daughter of Maurice (Jpn) and perhaps Deep Impact's crowning glory, Gentildonna (Jpn), the Fillies' Triple Crown, Japan Cup and Arima Kinen winner who was Japan's Horse of the Year in 2012 and 2014.

Farther afield, he was represented by G1 Australasian Oaks winner Glint Of Hope (Jpn), while the G1 Vertem Futurity Trophy winner Auguste Rodin (Ire) gives Deep Impact a great chance of further European Classic success this year.

The top-class sprinter/miler Lord Kanaloa, a son of the late King Kamehameha, looks a champion sire in the making with a growing international reputation. He was the approximate equivalent of only £163,000 shy of Deep Impact in progeny earnings from 276 winners last year, the best of them being G1 NHK Mile Cup winner Danon Scorpion (Jpn) and G1 Dubai Turf dead-heater Panthalassa (Jpn). Not too many of his offspring have made it to Europe yet, but a notable winner in Ireland last season was 'TDN Rising Star' Beginnings, a daughter of dual Guineas heroine Winter (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) who now has Classic aspirations of her own.

Heart's Cry was absent from the covering shed in 2022, having been pensioned at Shadai the previous June at the age of 20. A contemporary of Deep Impact, he finished runner-up to him in the freshman championship of 2010 and, despite always being in his shadow, has enjoyed a sterling career of his own.

Heart's Cry sired the 2022 Japanese Derby winner Do Deuce (Jpn) and his previous best performers around the world include Japan Cup winner Suave Richard (Jpn), Cox Plate winner Lys Gracieux (Jpn) and dual Grade 1 winner Yoshida (Jpn), who is now at WinStar Farm in Kentucky. In France this year, he was represented by the Aidan O'Brien-trained G3 Prix Thomas Bryon winner Continuous (Jpn), who is out of a full-sister to Maybe (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and thus bred on similar lines to Saxon Warrior (Jpn).

For the second year running Deep Impact's son Kizuna (Jpn), the second of his sire's Derby winners in 2013, was fourth in the general sires' table having been the leading first-season sire of 2019.

His highlight of the year came when Songline (Jpn) won the G1 Yasuda Kinen, having started 2022 with victory in the G3 1351 Turf Sprint at a Saudi Cup meeting which was dominated by Japanese runners. Kizuna's son Bathrat Leon (Jpn) won the G2 Godolphin Mile at Meydan the following month.

Duramente (Jpn), who sadly died after a bout of colitis in August 2021 at the age of just nine, looks an increasingly big loss to the Japanese ranks, having finished fifth in the table for 2022. Another son of King Kamehameha, and out of the dual Group 1 winner Admire Groove (Jpn) (Sunday Silence, Duramente was represented by the G1 Hopeful S. winner Dura Erede (Jpn) between Christmas and New Year, and his son Titleholder (Jpn) took last season's G1 Takarazuka Kinen having become a Classic winner the previous year in the Kikuka Sho. Another Classic winner came his way in 2022 in the form of the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) winner Stars On Earth (Jpn).

Having covered for just five seasons, Duramente leaves 725 registered offspring. His sire King Kamehameha was just behind him in sixth, and the influence of the former champion, who died in 2019, will start to wane in this table, though he will likely remain dominant through his daughters for a good while, and he was champion broodmare sire for 2022, ahead of Deep Impact, Kurofune (Jpn), and Sunday Silence.

The brilliant Triple Crown and dual Arima Kinen winner Orfevre (Jpn) managed a top-10 finish for the third year running from a personal best of fourth in 2020. On the international stage, he is best known for his 2021 GI Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Marche Lorraine (Jpn), one of his four Group/Grade 1 winners, including recent Tokyo Daishoten winner Ushba Tesoro (Jpn). That latest top-level winner came a day after he had notched a first Group I winner as a broodmare sire through the aforementioned Dura Ede.

Rulership (Jpn), too, is a perennial top-10 dweller and is the third of King Kamehameha's sons towards the top of the list. He appears to work well with mares by Sunday Silence and his sons–though they are not exactly in short supply–with all three of his Group 1 winners and 12 of his 16 group stakes winners having been bred on variations of this cross.

Maurice (Jpn), who spilt his six Group 1 wins equally between Japan and Hong Kong, has a similar record with his best runners. Having shuttled to Australia, he had two Group 1 winners there in 2022–Australian Derby winner Hitotsu (Aus) and Doomben 10,000 winner Mazu (Aus), along with two Group 1 winners in Japan. Arguably the most significant of these is Geraldina, the aforementioned daughter of Gentildonna.

Completing the top 10 is the veteran Daiwa Major (Jpn). The big success of 2022 for the 22-year-old son of Sunday Silence came through G1 Mile Championship winner Serifos (Jpn), giving Le Havre (Ire) a second top-level victory as broodmare sire, following his European strike in that category via Pyledriver (GB) (Harbour Watch {Ire}).


Biscuits Best Of The Youngsters

Three of the four leading first-season sires in Japan in 2022 were bred in America, though two of them, Shanghai Bobby in third and Declaration Of War in fourth, are only freshmen in Japanese terms, having started their careers in the US and Ireland before being exported.

Leading the group was Mind Your Biscuits, the dual G1 Golden Shaheen winner who also landed the GI Malibu S. and joined the Shadai Stallion Station upon retirement. From 76 runners last year, the son of Posse was represented by 28 winners, including the listed scorer Dermo Sotogake (Jpn) and the Group 2-placed Shomon (Jpn). Mind Your Biscuits is a great grandson of Deputy Minister, whose line has been ably represented in Japan, particularly by his son French Deputy and grandson Kurofune.

Of the homegrown young stallions in Japan, the G1 Dubai Turf winner Real Steel (Jpn) was best, finishing second behind Mind Your Biscuits with 21 winners from 67 starters but with an important Group 2 winner to his credit in All Parfait (Jpn). By Deep Impact, Real Steel owns a pedigree that will be all too familiar to breeders beyond Japan: his Niarchos-bred dam Loves Only Me (Storm Cat) has also produced Real Steel's treble Group/Grade 1-winning full-sister Loves Only You (Jpn). Their dam was unraced, but as a granddaughter of Miesque and half-sister to Group 1 winner Rumpelstiltskin (Ire) (Danehill), she was always going to be a valuable broodmare prospect and has already more than proved her worth at stud. Though the Niarchos family sold her for $900,000 to Katsumi Yoshida, their own support of Deep Impact through the same brilliant equine family was rewarded with a Classic winner in Study Of Man (Ire), who is out of Miesque's Storm Cat daughter Second Happiness and has his first-crop runners in Europe this year.

With this family also boasting Kingmambo, whose international influence stretches to Japan, largely through King Kamehameha, it is fair to expect to hear more of Real Steel and Study Of Man as the years progress.

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