japan globeJapan Grand Slam
(Photo : Emanuele Vezzaro)

There are several outstanding features of a visit to any of the Yoshida farms. Firstly, each of the brothers operates an independent breeding entity, all fiercely competitive. At the same time, Shadai Stallion Station is a co-operative venture between the three brothers, and amazingly every one of the top ten slots on the Japanese sires log is occupied by a Shadai stallion. Now that beats both Coolmore and Summerhill for national stallion dominance!

Just as remarkable in my opinion though, is the fact that very few of the 48 resident stallions at Shadai, are imported (in stark contrast to a decade ago) and they’re unsurprisingly strongly represented by descendants of the phenomenal SUNDAY SILENCE.

But what absolutely fascinated me was the size of these beasts. There’s a new “size” in vogue in Australia these days, where just about every stallion somehow measures 16.1hh, but they’re “midget” by comparison. I must’ve seen twenty of Shadai’s most fashionable horses, and the bulk of them are tending more in the direction of 17hh, which tells us this is more of a trend than a coincidence, considering that they represent many of Japanese racing’s Champions of the recent past.

Now SUNDAY SILENCE was a good sized horse, but he was nowhere near 17hh, so it seems in their attempt to compliment his rather light frame and his own lack of skeletal bulk, the super-sire was bred to some seriously big mares. This point is born out by the fact that the only two mares I inspected, both Champion race fillies by SUNDAY SILENCE, were big strong-boned individuals.

And if the success of this pattern of breeding has now manifested itself into an irreversible fashion, it seems to me that in the same way as cattle breeders have had to find cows capable of producing ever larger calves, horse breeders (in Japan at least) will need to develop a sort of super-mare with the capacity to carry foals exceeding 70kgs at birth. Otherwise their reproductive organs are likely to be seriously compromised, with a corresponding reduction in breeding longevity.

900 hectares 1300 hectares
1200 horses 800 horses
400 broodmares 340 broodmares
80 daughters of SUNDAY SILENCE 32 daughters of NORTHERN GUEST
48 stallions 16 stallions under management
300 horses in pre-training 170 horses in pre-training
Three 8-900 metre covered tracks and three all-weather tracks Two 14- 2500 metre grass and two 1600 metre sand tracks, all uncovered
400 staff members 360 staff
Purchase/imports all feed requirements Manufactures/grows the bulk of its own through Vuma Horse Feeds
Insures certain of its bloodstock abroad Insures all horses through in-house brokerage, Goss & Co
50,000 visitors annually 30,000 visitors to Summerhill, Hartford, Vuma
Northern Horse Park (theme park) featuring horses of many kinds, tours etc including three restaurants Hartford House featuring 15-suite boutique hotel and leading national restaurant.
Hall of Fame shrine commemorating the achievement of the late Zenya Yoshida and Shadai Champions. Al Maktoum School of Management Excellence in planning stages, incorporating commemorative theatre with Hall of Fame and schooling facilities.