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Three years after the great sire Deep Impact’s death, a rising crop of stallions is emerging from his shadow.
Katsumi Yoshida believes the rising generation of Japanese stallions is well-placed to fill the void left by the untimely deaths of the great Deep Impact and his potent peer King Kamehameha.
The Northern Farm boss cut an angular figure of cool confidence as he entered the almost vacant auction arena after Monday’s record-breaking yearling session of the JRHA Select Sale had concluded, pulled up a foldable chair and gave his post-auction assessment to a group of about 30 waiting media. Yoshida was entirely at ease as he answered questions with assured geniality: the audience hung on his words.
“This is the first JRHA sale without any crop by Deep Impact but we’ve seen sires here today that could be Deep Impact’s replacement. I’m very happy to see the depth of the stallions we have now,” he said.
“The quality of the yearlings we offered today was very good and I’m very satisfied with the result.”
Earlier, the eight-hour session delivered impressive numbers: 222 yearlings sold for a record aggregate of ¥12,870,000,000 (AU$139 million), a record average of ¥57,972,973 (AU$625,000) and a median price of ¥42,000,000 (AU$450,000). Yoshida was matter-of-fact as he spoke of the booming prices, which topped the high marks set in 2021.
“This is a very expensive market but from my experience when I go to sales all over the world, good horses are expensive, I need to pay a million dollars; this is an expensive market but the market is the market and good horses here must be expensive,” Yoshida said.
“It’s stronger than I expected. Last year was a record-breaking market and I thought it might be difficult to establish another record but it was a record and that was a pleasant surprise for me.”
The 450 million yen colt by Maurice out of Mosheen. (Photo: JRHA).
The rising brigade was in hot demand, led by Shadai’s 11-year-old Arrowfield Stud shuttler Maurice whose 11 yearlings sold for a total of ¥1,155,000,000 (AU$12.4 million) – an average of ¥105,000,000 (AU$1.1 million) – including the Northern Farm-consigned ¥450,000,000 (AU$4.8 million) session-topper out of the Australian Group One winner Mosheen, knocked down to Masahiro Noda of Danox Co Ltd.
“This one, the Mosheen yearling, was the very best one from the Northern Farm consignment, so this is the reason why it had the highest reserve price, 100 million, around one million dollars. I expected it to be very expensive but AU$4.8 million is more than I expected,” Yoshida admitted.
The Mosheen yearling, was the very best one from the Northern Farm consignment, so this is the reason why it had the highest reserve price.
And he made it plain that he would return to Australia should he identify the right mares there for Northern Farm in the future. Mosheen is one of several broodmares imported from that market to have made a mark at Japanese sales, with colts out of the Australian Group One winners Yankee Rose and She Will Reign having sold for eye-catching sums last year.
“Northern Farm was happy to get that result (with Mosheen’s yearling) and it was good to receive the support from those buyers, so we’re happy to reinvest and go back to that market for more,” he said.
“We go to any sale we can, we go anywhere in the world and we try and buy the best in the world, the best in the catalogue, that is my strategy.”
Katsumi Yoshida speaks to the press after the yearling session of the 2022 JRHA Select Sale. (Photo: Asian Racing Report)
Maurice was the standout among the emerging big-hitters of the stallion ranks but the year older Epiphaneia also fared well and returned an average of ¥78,052,632 (AU$842,000) for his 19 to sell; fellow 12-year-old Kizuna had 19 bought for an average of ¥59,736,842 (AU$645,000); and Satono Diamond’s six yearlings through the ring from his first crop returned an average of ¥65,333,333 (AU$705,000). The more established 14-year-old Lord Kanaloa brought an average of ¥64,900,000 (AU$700,000) for his 10 lots that sold.
The great Deep Impact passed away three years ago this month, at the age of 17, while King Kamehameha died at age 18 less than three weeks later. The latter’s son Duramente looked set to carry on his sire’s legacy when he was crowned Japan’s champion first season sire in 2020 but the heir-apparent died last year at age eight.
The scale of Duramente’s loss struck home when his three-year-old daughter Stars On Earth won the Oka Sho and the Yushun Himba this spring and his year older son Titleholder emerged as the standout four-year-old with victories in the Tenno Sho Spring and Takarazuka Kinen.
Duramente’s nine offerings sold for a combined ¥1,111,000,000 (AU$11.9 million) and an average of ¥123,444,444 (AU$1.3 million).
|Sire||No. sold||Average (yen)||Average ($AU)|
|Heart's Cry||6||¥106,833,333||$1.15 million|
All told, only 11 of the 233 lots offered at the session did not sell and Yoshida connected this to the number of new buyers on the sale ground this year.
“The buy-back rate was most amazing, it was less than five per cent, so I think this was the most important factor of the market,” he said. “It shows we have the depth of buyers, including many new buyers supporting the market. I’m very happy to see new buyers coming into our game.”
The strong auction market comes on the back of a virile racing product, emphasised by JRA turnover reaching a 20-year high in 2021, prize money hitting a 24-year high, and attendances poised to boom again post-Covid.
The stallion ranks have taken three significant hits in the past three years but this year’s JRHA Sale suggests that Yoshida’s confidence in the current stallion crop is likely well-placed.
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