Bren O’Brien



Turning it up to 11: Deep Impact to add yet another chapter

Three and a half years since his shock death, Deep Impact looks destined to add an 11th Japanese sires’ title to his resume when the season ends on December 31.

Deep Impact’s legacy is a topic that has been discussed countless times since it was announced on July 30, 2019 that the champion racehorse and stallion had died after complications due to neck surgery, aged 17.

A horse of a lifetime on the racetrack, Deep Impact incredibly emulated that impact from the breeding barn at Shadai Stallion Stallion, producing champion after champion and giving an unprecedented global profile to the Japanese thoroughbred industry.

On pure race results at least, his influence has diminished as his final crops have come through. 2022 represents his final, very select crop of two-year-olds after what was to prove his final season at stud was curtailed by that neck injury.

Six of the current Deep Impact two-year-olds are trained in Japan, two of which, the stakes-placed Open Fire and Mesmerizing, are already winners, while there are five trained in Europe, a list headed by Aidan O’Brien’s G1 Futurity Trophy Stakes winner Auguste Rodin.


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

What is already clear from that very small final crop is that while the quantity diminished towards the end, the quality has certainly not and that select crop are set to make their mark in the major three-year-old races in Japan and Europe in 2023.

Where quantity does help is in winning General Sires Championships and on the verge of his 11th successive title as Japan’s top stallion, the numbers are started to work against Deep Impact making it a dozen in 2023.

This season he has had 403 Japanese runners, still the fourth most of any Japanese stallion, but the fewest he has had since 2013 and over 100 fewer than he had in 2021. Of those runners, he has had 157 winners, his lowest total since 2011, when he had just two crops at the track, and a long way shy of his seasonal record of 244, achieved in 2019.

While those topline numbers have dropped off, his progeny have still earned more in Japan this year than any other stallion, north of 4.5 billion yen, nearly 400 million yen more than the next-placed Lord Kanaloa, who has had 168 more runners and 108 more winners.

It means that short of an almighty final two weeks from Lord Kanaloa’s progeny, including a win in the Arima Kinen, Deep Impact should comfortably claim the Sires championship yet again.

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

An 11th Sires’ title had only been achieved by one other Japanese stallion, Deep Impact’s own sire, Sunday Silence, who won 13 consecutive from 1995 until 2007. It means that of the past 28 sires titles in Japan, an incredible 24 have been won by the father-son combination.

His best horse in Japan in 2022 has been Ask Victor More, the winner of the G1 Kikuka Sho (and contender for the Arima Kinen), while another son, Potager, won the G1 Osaka Hai in April. They are two of the 12 stakes winners he has had in Japan in 2022, more than any other sire.  


What is also highly notable is that beyond what he has achieved in Japan in 2022, Deep Impact has also had winners in seven other countries, among them Group 1 winners in England, Australia and the UAE.

That global influence has been written about a lot over recent years, but it is what stands him out against his own sire, whose enormous success was largely achieved in Japan or indeed any other Japanese-based stallion.

And it positions Deep Impact very well in terms of his global legacy. Not only does he have 32 sons at stud in Japan (with more to come in 2023), he also has sire sons in Ireland, Great Britain, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, Sweden, the United States, Italy and France.

Notably this year, his Coolmore Ireland-based son Saxon Warrior has made a tremendous impact with his first Northern Hemisphere crop. The dual Group 1 winner on the track, himself out of a Group 1 winning Galileo mare, Maybe, has 22 winners to date already, three at stakes level, including G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Victoria Road.

In Japan, Deep Impact’s best-performed son at stud this season has been Kizuna, currently fourth on the Sires’ table, while a great measure of his depth as an upcoming sire of sires is that there are three of his sons in the top eight, Real Steel, Satono Diamond and Greater London, of first-season sires and five in the top 20 of the second-season sire rankings.

Kizuna, a son of Deep Impact, winning the The Qatar Prix Niel at Longchamp in 2013. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst)

Similarly Deep Impact’s daughters are making a considerable mark from the breeding barn. He sits third on the Japanese Broodmare Sires ranking and among the star progeny from his daughters this year are recent G1 QEII Cup winner Geraldina and Sunday’s G1 Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes winner Dolce More.

Both those horses are out of Group 1-winning Deep Impact mares, Gentildonna and Ayusan, and with so many more of his champion daughters with progeny coming through across the world, it is a pattern almost certain to be repeated many times over the coming years.

So while 2022 may end up being the final chapter of Deep Impact’s reign as a champion stallion, the book on his long-term influence of global bloodlines has barely begun to be written.



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