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David Morgan

Chief Journalist

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Breeze-ups could be a measure of Hong Kong interest

While unraced two-year-olds take centre stage in Newmarket midweek, across town on Saturday Auguste Rodin will attempt to further enhance Deep Impact’s incredible legacy.

Deep Impact’s long reach – even in death – may be seen in England this weekend when his final crop son Auguste Rodin shoots for a Classic win in the G1 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile, but before that there could be Hong Kong interest across town when untapped two-year-olds pass through the ring at the Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-up Sale.

The Guineas Breeze-up follows on from the more esteemed Craven Breeze-up two weeks ago, and has in recent times produced the odd bargain, notably The Platinum Queen, a 57,000 guineas knock-down that went on to win the G1 Prix de l’Abbaye before selling to Katsumi Yoshida for more than a million guineas. Given the expansion of the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s PPG (Privately Purchased Griffin) permit numbers and the roll-back of Covid travel restrictions earlier this year, it will be interesting to see how many potential if any ‘Hong Kong buyers’ are on the sales ground chasing a suitable unraced bargain to fill their requirement.

Last month, the Hong Kong Jockey Club was among those that bought at the Craven, with the Hong Kong International Sale representative Mick Kinane securing a Siyouni colt, but the HKJC team is set to sit out this week’s lesser sale.

That was the first HKJC purchase at a Tattersalls Breeze-up since the 2018 Craven sale when the Club bought a Scat Daddy colt and a Farrh colt for a combined 550,000 guineas. Any Hong Kong interest at all this week would surely be a clear sign that European PPGs are edging back up the wanted list.

“It was great to see a decent amount of Hong Kong participation at the Craven Breeze-up Sale the other day,” Tattersalls director Jimmy George told Asian Racing Report. “We very much hope that will continue into this sale; I think the success of Northern Hemisphere-bred horses in Hong Kong is plain to see for owners and trainers out there at the moment.”

Last Sunday’s G1 QEII Cup winner Romantic Warrior was not a Breeze-up purchase but having a star racehorse being an Irish-bred bought at Tattersalls – not forgetting G1 Hong Kong Mile winner California Spangle is a Goffs Orby graduate – means the European market appears more desirable, with British sales perhaps helped by a weakened pound.

The European PPG market received a boost early last month when Kaholo Angel, a gelding by Havana Grey, won the Barker Plate for Griffins. In fact, five of the first six home in the seven-runner contest were sourced in Europe, Kaholo Angel being a 57,000 guineas yearling out of Book Two at Tattersalls last October. The third and fourth were sourced at Goffs in Ireland and the runner-up was imported from Japan.

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Kaholo Angel wins the Barker Plate for Vincent Ho. (Photo by Lo Chun Kit)

“That demonstrates that owners and trainers are focusing more and more on Northern Hemisphere PPGs, which is a welcome development from our point of view,” George added.

Among the Hong Kong parties at Tattersalls this time are the usual raft of connected agents, but also expected around Park Paddocks are the likes of G1-winning owner Marc Chan and Gordon Li Wai-yin whose blue and orange quartered silks have been familiar at Sha Tin and Happy Valley for more than 20 years.

Guineas again for Deep Impact?

With only six registered three-year-olds in Japan, it is looking like Japan’s late, great sire Deep Impact will not add to the seven wins his offspring have earned in the G1 Tokyo Yushun, the Japanese Derby, at the end of this month, but he could pick up a second win in the G1 2,000 Guineas on Sunday from his final crop.

The first English Classic features a field of 15 and the market leader is the Aidan O’Brien-trained Auguste Rodin, a son of Deep Impact, as was the same trainer’s Saxon Warrior for a similar line-up of Coolmore partners.

Saxon Warrior took the mile contest in 2018 and since retirement from the track has shuttled between Coolmore Ireland and Coolmore Australia. From his first Northern Hemisphere crop as a stallion, he produced last year’s G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Victoria Road.  

Saxon Warrior takes out the G1 2,000 Guineas of 2018. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Deep Impact colt Auguste Rodin wins The KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes at Leopardstown. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Auguste Rodin has a similar profile to Saxon Warrior, being by Deep Impact out of a highly-performed Galileo mare. Saxon Warrior’s dam was the Group 1-winning juvenile Maybe, while Auguste Rodin is out of Rhododendron, a Group 1 winner in each of her three racing seasons. Both mares have the influential Indian Ridge as sire of their third dam, which is always a nice sight for those interested in any faint spark of positivity around the diminishing Byerley Turk line.

Silver lining

Deep Impact’s tiny final crop means that he has no direct representation in the G1 NHK Mile Cup at Tokyo on Sunday, a race that affords the emerging three-year-old milers an opportunity after the G1 Satuski Sho, the Japanese 2,000 Guineas, which is a 2000m contest.

But the great stallion is grand-sire on the male line to seven of the 20 horses still in the entries, and that includes three by his unexposed son Silver State who has the fancied Carro Veloce, the ride of Damian Lane, as well as another single-figure option Eeyan, and the longshot Session.

Deep Impact wins his farewell race, the 2006 Arima Kinen at Nakayama. (Photo by JRA)

Silver State’s race record is intriguing. Bred by Northern Farm and put into training with Hideaki Fujiwara for G1 Racing, he won two of three starts as a juvenile (setting a mile track record at Chukyo for his maiden win), did not race at three and then won two from two at age four before retiring having never contested a Pattern race.

Being a well-regarded son of Deep Impact out of the Silver Hawk mare Silverskaya, he is a half-brother to Coolmore’s G1 Irish Derby runner-up Seville and that all ensured him a shot at a stallion career, based at Yushun Stallion Station. Things have since gone promisingly: he was second on the first-season sires list in 2021 behind Drefong, ahead of Kitasan Black in fourth.

So far, Silver State has posted a total of 102 winners of 187 races from 191 total starters in 1,825 races. Notably, that tally includes four Group and Listed winners, among them the G1-placed, G3 winner Water Navillera, as well as Eeyan, who warmed up for the NHK Mile Cup with a last-start win in the G2 New Zealand Trophy.

A win for one of Silver State’s trio would be a big breakthrough in just his third season with runners and would sit nicely alongside an Auguste Rodin Classic win from Deep Impact’s last batch.

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