Michael Cox



Foreign buyers back in Japan … but try buying a horse

Frenzied bidding at Japan’s premier yearling sale forced the foreign contingent to watch as all but one lot was sold to local buyers on Day 1 of the JRHA Select Sale in Hokkaido.

No Covid restrictions, the success of Japanese horses on foreign shores and a weakened Yen brought the international buyers back to the Select Sale but actually buying horses was another matter entirely.

Some big international names including the pan-Asian bloodstock force, Yulong’s Zhang Yuesheng, representatives for some of Australia’s premier trainers and the usual role call of Middle Eastern power houses descended on Northern Horse Park for Day 1 of the sale. 

Spirited bidding brought an extraordinary clearance rate of 97.3% but the strong local contingent squeezed out the foreign competition and the only yearling sold to an overseas visitor was a half-sister to Australian Group 1 winner Tosen Stardom, by Suave Richard, knocked down to Qatar Racing manager David Redvers for 50,000,000 yen.

Probably it will be difficult for them to buy,” Northern Farm boss Katsumi Yoshida said of the overseas contingent on Day 1. “Practically, there was bidding between buyers for every horse. I think there wasn’t a horse that ended bidding with just one bid. It was very good. Maybe that the reserve prices were correctly set.”


A total of 13,365,000,000 yen on the first day, which features yearlings ahead of foals on Day 2, represented a 3.8% raise from last year’s opening day, but the average rose 6.73% to 61,875,000 yen. 

The sale featured the final generation on offer for Duramente – a sire whose career at stud was cut short when he died aged just nine – and buyers were keen to secure progeny by the sire of superstars like Titleholder, Stars On Earth and Liberty Island. 

“There were many Duramente horses for sale this year, these horses also had good form and pedigree,” Yoshida said. 

Duramente has proven a significant loss to the Japanese breeding industry. (Photo by Getty Images)

Katsumi Yoshida addresses the media on Day One of the Select Sale. (Photo by Asian Racing Report)

Seven of the 28 lots that reached ¥100,000,000 or more were by Duramente but Yoshida was also pleased at the strength of the middle and lower market. 

“Probably the middle-priced horses have also more support this year, that the average went a little bit upwards,” he said. “Even the lower priced sires have active bidding.” 




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