Record Results At JRHA Yearling Sale


Sale-topping Deep Impact colt | Kelsey Riley



As could have been reasonably predicted, the JRHA Select yearling sale on Monday was dominated by the progeny of Japan's perennial leading sire Deep Impact, who was responsible for the top six lots and eight of the top 10, including the three to surpass the ¥200,000,000 (US$2-million) mark. Deep Impact sired 10 of the 14 to breach the ¥1,000,000 mark–the others belonged to Heart's Cry (Jpn) (two), King Kamehameha (Jpn) and Henny Hughes.

The top-priced lot of the day was a ¥260,000,000 ($2.6-million) Deep Impact colt out of American champion filly Awesome Feather (Awesome Of Course), who was bought by local racing stable KT Racing. Another highlight was the participation for the first time of Canadian diamond magnate Charles Fipke, who bought two, including a ¥125,000,000 ($1.25-million) Deep Impact filly out of Grade I-producer Topliner (Thunder Gulch).

While it was the Deep Impacts that made the headlines, the true story of the session was the strength throughout the market. The yearling session normally plays second-fiddle to the following day's foal sale, but Monday's session well and truly stood on its own, posting records for gross (¥8,130,600,000 up 14%) and average (¥37,470,000, up 10.8%). A total of 217 were sold on the day from 247 offered for a buyback rate of 12.1% (it was 11.8%) last year. Three were sold for $2-million-plus.

Young Owner Buys Sale Topper…

Tetsumi Kurokawa of KT Racing has not been in the racing game for long, but the owner has great ambitions, as evidenced by his ¥260,000,000 ($2.6-million) purchase of a Deep Impact colt out American champion Awesome Feather (Awesome Of Course) (lot 107) to top the JRHA's Select Sale of yearlings on Monday.

“The price was a little higher than expected, but my racing manager has been inspecting the horse and he think the horse is a wonderful horse at his first glance,” Kurokawa explained, adding that he wants to win the G1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) with his new acquisition.

Awesome Feather was the dominant American 2-year-old filly of 2010, winning all six juvenile starts culminating in a victory in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies that earned her divisional championship honours at the Eclipse awards. She made just two starts as a 3-year-old, winning both, including the GI Gazelle S., and won her first two outings at four. She looked to have a chance to retire as an undefeated dual Breeders' Cup champion, but found Royal Delta (Empire Maker) too tough in the 2012 GI Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic, fading to sixth. Awesome Feather was put in foal to Medaglia d'Oro the following year and bought by Northern Farm's Katsumi Yoshida for $1.9-million at Fasig-Tipton November and that resulting foal, a now-2-year-old filly named Guillem (Jpn), is in training in Japan. Northern Farm, which consigned Awesome Feather's colt on Monday, sold all 79 yearlings offered.

Kurokawa later in the session signed for lot 182, a colt by Rulership (Jpn), for ¥72,000,000 ($720,000). Rulership is impressing with his first-crop 2-year-olds and was the co-busiest sire at Shadai this year, covering 250 mares.

Arc Hopes For Champagne d'Oro Colt…

Kyoto-based car dealer Masaaki Matsushima has a dream to at last break the Japanese hex and win the G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. In lot 99, a colt by Deep Impact out of GI Acorn S. and GI Test S. winner Champagne d'Oro, he said he thinks he has found a horse to get him there. Matsushima, therefore, was not fazed when going to ¥235,000,000 ($2.35-million) for the bay from Shadai Farm.

“My dream is to win the Arc de Triomphe, so I'd like to go to the Arc with this horse and my favourite jockey, Yutaka Take,” said Matsushima, who does his trading under the Kieffers Co. Ltd. banner. “When I saw him at Shadai Farm, in one second I thought, 'this horse will bring me to France.'”

The colt's purchase price was slightly less than the $2.7-million Teruya Yoshida paid for Champagne d'Oro at Fasig-Tipton's November Sale in 2013. The Tapit foal she was carrying at the time, now named Foggy Night (Jpn), was sold for ¥230,000,000 ($1.9-million) at this sale last year, and thus she is proving a worthwhile investment for Yoshida. Champagne d'Oro is out of the listed winner and GI Frizette S.-second Champagne Glow (Saratoga Six), and is a half-sister to GI Belmont S. winner Ruler On Ice (Roman Ruler). Her third dam, Champagne Ginny (L'Enjoleur), produced Grade/Group 1 winners Jurado and Grand Canyon.

Another Diamond For Satomi…

Gaming executive Hajime Satomi has enjoyed good, if frustrating, fortunes with this year's G1 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas)-third and G1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) runner-up Satono Diamond (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), a $2.3-million purchase from this sale from the Northern Farm consignment, and Satomi was visibly thrilled on Monday after going to ¥170,000,000 ($1.7-million) for lot 19, a colt he rated higher than his current stable star at the inspections. The strapping bay, also by Deep Impact (Jpn), is the second foal out of the G1 Australian Derby and G1 Australian Guineas winner Shamrocker (NZ) (O'Reilly {NZ}), whose third foal, an Orfevre (Jpn) colt, is slated to sell in the foal sale on Tuesday.

“This was my pick of the day,” Satomi said. “When I went to inspect him at Northern farm with my trainer, Yasutoshi Ikee and my advisor, Yasuo Ikee, all of us had the same opinion: this is the very best yearling in the catalogue. According to Yasuo, the current assessment on this yearling is better than the assessment of Satono Diamond. I was ready to pay the same sort of amount I paid for Satono Diamond, so this was a very good buy.”

Satomi noted with a laugh that as he rated this colt higher than Satono Diamond, he would have to come up with something more valuable than the diamond to name him after.

“Satono Diamond is a name I was saving for a good horse, so now I need to find a jewel with a better value than the diamond to name him,” he quipped.

Yasuo was formerly a trainer and handled Triple Crown winner and now-legendary sire Deep Impact. He has since retired and now serves as Satomi's advisor, and his son Yasutoshi has taken over as trainer.

“This is a wonderful individual, I liked him the best in the catalogue today, so I'm very happy,” Yasutoshi Ikee said.

Satomi was the leading buyer at last year's yearling sale, spending ¥763,000,000 on seven youngsters, including the session-topping Deep Impact colt out of Jioconda (Ire) for ¥235,000,000.

Satomi later went to ¥70,000,000 for lot 47, a full-sister to his triple group-winner and Classic-placed Satono Noblesse (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) from the Lake Villa Farm consignment. His purchases on the day also included an ¥80,000,000 King Kamehameha (Jpn) colt (lot 180).

Deep Impact's Magic Cross…

Deep Impact has a proven ability to sire top-class runners from a myriad of different families, but the Shadai flagbearer has displayed a particular affinity for Storm Cat mares, and thus buyer Masahiro Noda of Danox Ltd. knew he would have to dig deep in his pockets to secure a colt from that magic cross, lot 116, on Monday. The final price tag on the son of Zealous Cat (Storm Cat) was ¥160,000,000 ($1.6-million)

“This is a Storm Cat mare and Deep Impact, a very successful nick, so from the pedigree point of view when I read through the catalogue this was one of my shortlist,” Noda explained of the half-brother to GIII Florida Oaks winner Tapicat (Tapit). “Then, I found his sister was successfully running in America on turf, so I believe this one will work on turf well,” Noda added. “Those are the two factors why I chose this horse. The price was a bit higher than I thought but to have some dreams it was a necessary investment.”

Shadai Farm bought Zealous Cat for $1.3-million at Keeneland November in 2013 in foal to Bernardini. Zealous Cat is a half-sister to GI Triple Bend H. winner Pohave (Holy Bull), and their second dam is the triple Group 1 winner Track Robbery (No Robbery).

Deep Impact has sired Group 1 winners Kizuna (Jpn), Lachesis (Jpn), A Shin Hikari (Jpn) and Real Steel (Jpn) out of Storm Cat mares, and his G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches winner Beauty Parlour (GB) is by Storm Cat's son Giant's Causeway.

Noda later in the session went to ¥220,000,000 ($2.2-million) for another Deep Impact colt, this one out of Eclipse champion female sprinter Dubai Majesty (Essence Of Dubai) (lot 156), who was herself a $1.1-million buy from Fasig November in 2010.

Group 1 Express Ticket?

Big spenders are always likely to be paying attention when a full-sibling to a champion enters the sale ring, and that certainly proved the case for lot 61, a Henny Hughes colt who is a full-brother to the 2013 G1 Asahi Hai Futurity S. winner and 2-year-old champion Asia Express. The winning bidder at ¥140,000,000 was Japanese businessman Makoto Kaneko, best known in racing circles for campaigning Deep Impact and King Kamehameha. His stable has also in the past included the four-time course record-setting Kurofune (French Deputy); G1 QEII Cup winner To The Victory (Jpn) (Sunday Silence) and 2010 Japanese Fillies' Triple Crown winner Apapane (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}).

Lot 61, an Apr. 15-foaled chestnut from Northern Farm, is out of Running Bobcats (Running Stag), a three-time listed winner in the U.S. and a full-sister to stakes-winning Take It Like A Man. Asia Express was a $230,000 OBS March purchase by Narvick International in 2013, and Running Bobcats was bought privately by Northern Farm after her son's championship exploits.

First Japanese Buy For Fipke…

Canadian diamond magnate Charles Fipke has enjoyed plenty of success racing horses in his native country and south of the border in the U.S., and he made his first splash in Japan on Monday with the purchase of a Deep Impact half-sister to GI Matriarch S. winner Star Billing (Dynaformer) (lot 81) for ¥125,000,000 ($1.25-million). Fipke did his bidding alongside Gai Waterhouse representatives Adrian Bott and Su-Ann Khaw, and noted the filly could, in the future, be exported to Waterhouse's stable in Australia.

“She was my first pick before coming to Japan,” Fipke revealed. “This is my first trip to Japan and we just love it here. The people are so courteous and so nice and it's just been a great experience for our first visit to Japan. I'm so lucky to acquire such a beautiful filly.”

Fipke explained he has been building a relationship with Waterhouse over the last few years, and he was able to formulate some plans with the Australian Hall of Famer when she visited Saratoga last summer. He said he has been looking into the process of acquiring a JRA racing license and plans to go forward with that.

“We're really delighted,” Fipke added. “We haven't decided what we'll do with her, we'll just see how it goes. I haven't got any plans for her to go anywhere just yet. We'll do whatever is best for the filly.”

Fipke said the filly's American pedigree added to her global appeal. She is out of Topliner (Thunder Gulch), who is a half-sister to multiple Grade I winners Starrer (Dynaformer) and Stellar Jayne (Wild Rush), and was bought by Northern Farm for $1.4-million at Keeneland January in 2012. Fipke said his plan for the JRHA sale was to buy well-bred fillies, and he was encouraged by both his friend Arthur Hancock, who sold the legendary Sunday Silence to Japan, as well as the exploits of his dual Grade I winner Tale Of Ekati, who is out of Sunday Silence mare Silence Beauty (Jpn).

Fipke also signed for lot 216, a Stay Gold (Jpn) filly for ¥10,000,000 late in the session.

Derby Dreams For 'Golden' Colt…

Sueo Masuzawa, advisor to longtime racehorse owner Keizo Oshiro, was given a straightforward instruction by his client for the JRHA Select Sale: find a Derby winner.

The 94-year-old Oshiro did not attend the sale, and thus Masuzawa bid a winning ¥115,000,000 ($1.15 million) on his behalf for lot 71, a bay son of GI Acorn S. and GI Santa Monica H. winner Gabby's Golden Gal (Medaglia d'Oro) from Shadai Farm. The colt is the third foal out of the mare, who is a half-sister to the dual Grade II winner and Grade I-placed Always A Princess (Leroidesanimaux {Brz}). Shadai's Teruya Yoshida bought Gabby's Golden Gal for $1.25 million at the 2010 Fasig-Tipton November Sale.

“I'm here to buy a Derby winner so this one was definitely on my list to inspect here,” said Masuzawa after signing the ticket. “I thought this was a Derby candidate, so this was the one I wanted.”

Internationals In Action…

Monday's session saw activity by a handful of Chinese visitors, and notably new Chinese investor Yida Zhang got the sale going when spending ¥84,000,000 ($840,000) on the first horse through the ring (lot 1), a son of exciting young sire Rulership (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}). Zhang later added a ¥45,000,000 son of Gold Allure (Jpn).

Robert Anderson, the new Australian-based JRA license holder who was profiled in Monday's TDN (click here) secured a daughter of former Japanese champion sprinter Kinsasha No Kiseki (Jpn) for ¥45,000,000. Lot 89 from Northern Farm is out of a half-sister to another Japanese champion sprinter in Sleepless Night (Jpn) (Kurofune), and the third dam is G1 Irish 1000 Guineas and G2 Coronation S. winner Katies (Ire) (Nonoalco).

“What I liked most about her was her conformation,” Anderson said. “She's a beautiful, athletic filly who has a great body and great legs, and general overall conformation.”

Anderson noted he'd tried on a few others but, due to the strength of the sale, had been unsuccessful. His agent, Satomi Oka, said Monday's session was the strongest-ever JRHA yearling sale.

Hong Kong-based agent Justin Bahen was active yesterday on behalf of Australia's Silvestro Thoroughbreds, buying a pair of Heart's Cry (Jpn) fillies for ¥76,000,000 (lot 100) and ¥41,000,000 (lot 26).

Bahen also worked with Little Hung Kwok King, assistant to Hong Kong trainer Francis Lui, to secure a trio of colts. Bahen explained that all his purchases will remain in Japan for a short time before heading to the UK to get their early education.

“All of the horses at this stage will stay here for the next two or three months while the weather is perfect,” he explained. “We're going to keep them in the same hemisphere with a view that they'll go to the UK. We'll put them through the system there and assess them with the view to either racing them in the UK or going to Hong Kong for the colts. The fillies will definitely be put through the system there, broken in and pre-trained and assessed whether they race in the UK or we send them back to Australia.”

Bahen, who has been coming to the JRHA Select Sale for six years, had praise for not only the strength of trade on Monday, but across the industry as of late.

“It's globally strong,” he said. “I don't think there's any downturn across any part of the Thoroughbred industry. Broodmare sales, yearling sales–the foal sale tomorrow will be as strong as ever. It's on a continuing rise. It's great for business.”

New York-based agent John McCormack bought one yesterday: an ¥8,000,000 Empire Maker filly (lot 181). Australian owner Ricky Surace spent ¥18,000,000 on a Symboli Kris S. filly in the name of his B2B Bloodstock.

On the selling end, Kentucky's Runnymede Farm sold a first-crop son of Novellist (Ger) (lot 205) for ¥10,000,000 through Shadai Farm. The dark bay is out of Hunter's Mark (Titus Livius {Fr}), a half-sister to G1 Tokyo Yushun winner and prolific sire King Kamehameha (Jpn) and GI Santa Anita Derby winner The Deputy (Ire) (Petardia {GB}).

Sheikh Fahad al Thani, who bought the sale-topping yearling for $2.5-million on this day two years ago, was also in the seller's seat on Monday when Mishima Farm sold his Deep Impact (Jpn) colt out of Ripples Maid (GB) (Dansili {GB}) (lot 129) for ¥70,000,000.

The lone Dansili (GB) colt in the catalogue (lot 44), a son of French Group 3 winner Via Medici (Ire) (Medicean {GB}) and therefore a half-brother to French stakes winner Via Pisa (Fr) (Pivotal {GB}), sold for ¥62,000,000 to Hashiguch Co. Ltd. The mare was a €480,000 purchase from Arqana December in 2014 carrying this colt.

First-season sires Orfevre (Jpn) and Lord Kanaloa (Jpn) enjoyed some strong results on Monday. Japanese Triple Crown winner Orfevre had a high-price of ¥84,000,000 and also had yearlings sell for ¥65,000,000 and ¥56,000,000, while champion sprinter Lord Kanaloa (Jpn) had a high price of ¥55,000,000.


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