shunsuke yoshida and mick gossShunsuke Yoshida and Mick Goss
(Photo : Tarryn Liebenberg)

About a fortnight ago we posted a piece on the anticipated visit of a delegation from Japan’s Champion breeders, Northern Farm, which is part of the Japanese thoroughbred legend. Summerhill has taken great pride in its four consecutive Breeders Championships in an era when competition for the title has never been greater. Katsumi Yoshida’s Northern Farm has managed this on six consecutive occasions, each time at the expense of the fabled Shadai Farm, property of Katsumi’s older brother Teruya. On the face of it, this sibling rivalry has all the tenets of an internecine struggle, and while the battle for the championship is contested as stoutly as any, it’s all done in a spirit of considerable mutual admiration.

Both sons of the father of Japanese breeding’s international renaissance, Zenya Yoshida, the premiership is always a tightly contested affair between the brothers, best illustrated in the past season’s results when Northern Farm’s total earnings eclipsed those of Shadai by a mere $1 million and a touch, an aggregate of $75 million being Northern Farms championship winning total. Imagine that, $75 million US dollars (R750 million) in a single season!.

In a recent interview in America’s most famous weekly, The Blood Horse, Teruya proclaimed Katsumi’s exploits as “legend”, adding that Katsumi was the man he admired most in the breeding business. The fact is, the three brothers (there’s a third, Heruya) have it in them to co-operate on a broad scale, notwithstanding the rivalry for the Breeder’s crown, and collectively they preside over an assembly of Japan’s most formidable stallions at Shadai Stallion Station, where nine of the nation’s top ten stallions reside. We’ve always been in awe of Coolmore’s dominance of the European stallion logs, but Shadai brings a new dimension to our understanding.

The delegation this week included Katsumi’s son, Shunsuke Yoshida, resident veterinarian, Dr Kiyosumi Suygaya, and Yuku Matsmura. You can imagine the banter passing between us during the course of the weekend, and the exchange of ideas between representatives of a nation which leads the world technologically, and one which has to be as innovative as creativity allows, in order to maintain a semblance of competiveness in the international racing world.

Who knows, this could lead to the advent of Africa’s first son of Sunday Silence at stud.