Equinox Retires to Shadai Stallion Station

Christophe Lemaire salutes the crowd after Equinox's Japan Cup triumph | Racingfotos

The world's top-rated racehorse Equinox (Jpn) (Kitasan Black {Jpn}) has been retired to Shadai Stallion Station in Hokkaido after winning last weekend's Japan Cup in spectacular fashion.

Last Sunday's Group 1 success was the Japanese superstar's sixth consecutive victory at the highest level. In 10 lifetime starts he was beaten twice when second to Geoglyph (Jpn) in the GI Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2,000 Guineas) and also second in the G1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) to Do Deuce (Jpn).

Bred by Katsumi Yoshida's Northern Farm from the Group 3-winning King Halo (Jpn) mare Chateau Blanche (Jpn), and trained by Tetsuya Kimura for the Silk Racing Company, Equinox won both his starts at two, including the G2 Tokyo Sports Hai S. Following his two near misses in the Classics, he returned last October to begin his Group 1 winning streak in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) before landing the Arima Kinen on Christmas Day.

A sole foray outside his native Japan saw Equinox's popularity extend throughout the wider racing world with his facile victory in the Dubai Sheema Classic. He had Westover (GB), Zagrey (Fr) and Mostahdaf (Ire) behind him that day in March, and all three would go on to land major Group 1 contests in Europe during the summer. 

In his last three runs back on home turf, Equinox was flawless. The Takarazuka Kinen, a second success in the Tenno Sho and finally the Japan Cup were added to his record. His Derby conqueror Do Deuce was fourth in the Japan Cup, and between the two finished Fillies' Triple Crown winner Liberty Island (Jpn) in second and fellow Classic-winning filly Stars on Earth (Jpn) in third.

Equinox will stand alongside his sire Kitasan Black, who was the busiest stallion in Japan in 2023. His stud fee has yet to be made public. Last week Shadai Stallion Station announced the fees for its 31 resident stallions, with Kitasan Black's fee set to be doubled for next season to ¥20 million (approximately £108,000/€124,000).

It is understood that a formal retirement ceremony will be planned for Equinox, most likely to be held on Arima Kinen day, which this year falls on Christmas Eve.

Speaking at Tattersalls on Thursday morning, Naohiro Goda, a leading journalist and commentator in Japan, said, “The ceremony has not yet been confirmed but Equinox's fans will want to say goodbye to him.”

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