Kitasan Black Stars Again At Select Sale – Pair Of Flightline Foals Make $1.3m Apiece 

Lot 364: led the way for Kitasan Black in the foal session | JRHA

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HOKKAIDO, Japan-The demand for the progeny of Kitasan Black (Jpn) continued at the JRHA Sale on Tuesday as, just 24 hours after supplying the top lot of the yearling session, a half-brother to G1 NHK Mile Cup winner Schnell Meister (Ger) topped the foal segment for the Shadai Station-based stallion at ¥410 million [roughly $2.59 million].

Lot 364, who was consigned by Northern Farm, is out of the German Oaks winner Serienholde (Ger) (Soldier Hollow {GB}), and was bought by prominent Japanese-based owner Toshihiko Tabata.

Of the 239 foals offered, 231 were sold at a clearance rate of 96.7%. The aggregate for the foal session was ¥14.421 billion [$89,571,429] while the average was ¥62,428,571 [$387,756] and the median ¥42 million [$260,870]. Between the two sessions, there were 64 lots to sell for ¥100 million [$621,645] or more.

Those were the type of stats that left JRHA chairman and Shadai boss Teruya Yoshida describing trade as “incredible” before going on to explain his pleasure at seeing more foreign buyers in attendance. 

Nobody made quite as big a splash as American-based owner Mike Repole, who bought five yearlings here on Monday and added two foals to the haul on Tuesday. That played a massive part in a record number of lots [12] being secured on behalf of foreign buyers. The previous best was eight in 2022 while the figure stood at just four last year. 

Yoshida said, “It was an incredible auction–a very strong market. There were a lot of active buyers who were keen to bid over the past two days. This year's Japanese Derby winner Danon Decile (Jpn) (Epiphaneia {Jpn}) is a graduate from this sale and we also had Forever Young (Jpn) (Real Steel {Jpn}) finish very close in the Kentucky Derby. That was one of the big reasons why buyers were very active in this sale. I am very grateful for, not only the buyers, but all of the vendors associated with the horses sold here. They did a great job in preparing them in excellent condition which brings the success of the auction.”

He added, “I am very pleased that Mike Repole bought a lot of horses during the foal and yearling sessions. He is now applying to become a licensed owner in Japan, so maybe we will see those colours running in this country shortly. Maybe next year we will have more owners buying horses here. We will have foals by Equinox (Jpn) and Titleholder (Jpn) and I am sure that will attract plenty of people. I hope we will have more good horses coming out of this sale and that our graduates can continue to perform on the world stage.”

While proven sires like Kitasan Black and Epiphaneia (Jpn) dominated over the two days, Japanese Triple Crown winner Contrail (Jpn) certainly lived up to market expectations. Of the 25 horses offered by Contrail over the two days, they all found buyers, creating a massive aggregate of $15,503,826. That works out at an average of $620,153. Phenomenal stuff for a young stallion.

Yoshida concluded, “The offspring of Contrail are exceptional. They are not big horses but, because they have such quality, they look bigger than they are. They have good quality and you can see that there is a lot of potential.”

Flightline Foals Prove Popular

Three foals by the unbeaten superstar Flightline sold for a combined  ¥470 million [$2.9 million] as a series of big-name Japanese buyers fought hard for the progeny of the Lane's End stallion. 

Two colts–lots 419 and 436–made  ¥210 million [$1.3 million] apiece, to owners Tetsuhide Kunimoto and Masahiro Noda respectively, while a relatively new owner to the game, Tatsuya Nakagoshi, paid ¥50 million [$310,000] for another [lot 347].  

Kunimoto's red and white silks have been carried by many good horses, including Shonan Nadeshiko (Jpn) (Orfevre {Jpn}), while Noda needs no introduction given he is the man behind this year's Japanese Derby winner and latest poster boy for this sale in Danon Decile.

Yahagi To Train Big-Money Epiphaneia Colt

Japanese St Leger-winning owner Toshihiro Hirosaki is dreaming of Derby glory in his home country with the Epiphaneia foal he purchased from Shadai Farm for ¥370 million. 

Unlike Ask Victor More (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), who was trained by Yasuhito Tamura when landing the St Leger in 2022, the Epiphaneia foal will go into training with Yoshito Yahagi when the time comes. 

“This is the best foal in this catalogue so I am very pleased to be able to buy him,” the owner said afterwards. “Of course, the dream is to win the Japanese Derby with this foal.”

Big things were clearly expected from lot 384, who is out of GI Acorn Stakes winner Carina Mia (Malibu Moon), a $2.6 million purchase by Shadai Farm at Fasig-Tipton in 2021. Carina Mia is reported to be in foal to superstar Equinox (Jpn).

Talking Points

• It's not just the American mares who are big in Japan. Monday's sale-topping yearling by Kitasan Black hailed from the former Aidan O'Brien-trained Galileo (Ire) mare Delphinia (Ire) and the Coolmore crew would have taken plenty of credit by how some of its stallions have been performing here this week as well. A St Mark's Basilica yearling sold for $435,000 on Monday and the only foal (lot 345) by his stud mate Wootton Bassett (GB) was knocked down for ¥52 million [$322,000].

The only foal (lot 398) by Gun Runner in the sale commanded ¥300 million [$1.86 million] to Y's Consignment Sales, another anonymous buyer, who is understood to manage an investment company. He was consigned by Shunsuke Yoshida and is a half-brother to GI Arkansas Derby winner Angel Of Empire (Classic Empire).

Harry Sweeney of Paca Paca Farm offered the first ever foal anywhere in the world by Baaeed (GB). Trained by William Haggas on behalf of Shadwell, the European Horse Of The Year in 2022 won six Group 1s all told. Lot 400 fetched ¥56 million [$348,000] to Cosmo View Farm Ltd. Stephen Collins, Shadwell's European bloodstock manager, said, “Shadwell were very pleased to see the sale of Baaeed's first foal at public auction at the JRA Select Sale. We congratulate the colt's breeder and consigner Paca Paca Farm. As the highest-rated horse in Europe for over a decade, there is huge excitement around Baaeed's first crop of foals. From visiting and speaking to breeders we are delighted with what we have seen and heard. We are looking forward to the foal sales later this year.”

The following lot (401) provided a smattering of stardust with a Kitasan Black filly out of French 1,000 Guineas winner Dream And Do (Ire) (Siyouni {Fr}) selling for ¥200 million [$1.24million].

• While most of the racing on the JRA circuit is on turf, there is still some love for dirt racing in this country and the programme is expanding. Owner Yuji Hasegawa's blue and grey colours have been carried by horses the likes of Perriere (Jpn) (Henny Hughes) and, in lot 333, a colt by Logotype (Jpn), he bought an obvious prospect to go down that route for ¥115 million [$715,000]. The colt is a full-brother to Omega Guinness (Jpn), one of the best dirt performers in Japan.

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