David Morgan

Chief Journalist


Japan’s Grenadier Guards has an Australian mission

An Australian racing campaign beckons for Japan's talented son of Frankel, Grenadier Guards.

Grenadier Guards will be on a mission to showcase his stallion potential to Australian breeders when he contests the Platinum Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot next week but he could also be set for a trip to Australia this spring.

The four-year-old is already a Group One winner in Japan, having landed the 2020 Asahi Hai Futurity in race-record time as a juvenile. But Northern Farm, the massive breeding operation behind the colt’s Sunday Racing ownership syndicate, is hoping Grenadier Guards can follow Maurice’s lead and earn an Australian stud deal.

Shadai Stallion Station’s Maurice, a champion in Japan and a three-time Group One winner in Hong Kong, has made a big impression off his first two shuttle crops sired at Arrowfield Stud. The imposing miler is on the brink of sealing the Champion Second-Season Sire title in Australia, having had 36 winners from 70 starters there this term for earnings of more than AU$7 million.

A Group One win at Royal Ascot for Grenadier Guards – against Australian star and future Coolmore sire Home Affairs – off the back of Maurice’s success would be a sizable step towards the son of the great Frankel taking in a 1400-metre race Down Under, a move that would further enhance his own appeal to Australian breeders.  

“This is a challenge and an experience for him here that we are excited about,” Northern Farm manager Yasuhiro Matsumoto told Asian Racing Report whilst watching Grenadier Guards and Sunday Racing’s Shahryar exercising at Carlburg Stables in Newmarket.

“How well Grenadier Guards performs here will determine which races he goes to after. But what matters more is if Grenadier Guards wins at Royal Ascot, it would be more of a sire-making exercise. He has a good bloodline and if he does succeed here, we would then think about targeting a 1400-metre race in Australia.”

The Mitsumasa Nakauchida-trained Grenadier Guards is out of the North American-bred-and-raced mare Wavell Avenue, winner of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint over 1400 metres on the dirt at Keeneland.   

Northern Farm’s approach in targeting Royal Ascot with Grenadier Guards and Shahryar continues the trend of Japanese horses travelling offshore in greater numbers and achieving a weight of major successes. Last year’s Japanese Derby hero Shahryar was one of five Japanese winners on the Dubai World Cup card at Meydan in March.

But the strategy with Grenadier Guards also speaks to the broader Japanese thoroughbred industry’s growing influence globally: Maurice is just one of a number of Japanese-bred and raced stallions to have stood in Australasia in recent years, along with the likes of his fellow Arrowfield shuttler Admire Mars, Mikki Isle, Real Impact, Satono Aladdin, Neorealism, Tosen Stardom, Staphanos and Brave Smash.

“Maurice has been very successful as a sire in Australia, more than in Japan, and that Australian market is really a good option for Grenadier Guards,” Matsumoto continued.

“If he can show a variety of performances all over the world, we believe his opportunities as a sire in Australia would be greater.”

Grenadier Guards won the Group Two Hanshin Cup over 1400 metres in December but his only attempt at a 1200-metre race came last time out when he finished 12th in the Group One Takamatsunomiya Kinen.




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