JAPANESE BREEDERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
Time was when the late Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali met in what was dubbed in the “thrilla in Manila” and when George Foreman took on Ali the “rumble in the jungle”, we all thought we’d never see the likes of it again.
Yet, students of the Japanese breeding scene will know that the struggle for local supremacy is a straight-out slugfest between the brothers Yoshida, with Katsumi on our left, and Teruya on our right. Sandwiched in-between is the third umpire, the family-owned Shiraoi Farm, a co-operative venture which suggests that despite their internecine rivalry, the Yoshidas share a mutual admiration, manifested again in their famous Shadai Stallion Station.
The battle for top dog has raged as furiously as ever in 2011, but here it’s not a case of running with the big boys, and having to play dead. The heat is on from the word go, and while there’s some R70 million separating Katsumi’s Northern Farm from Teruya’s Shadai Farm this year, it’s a “mere” R70 million in almost R750 million.
What clinched it for Katsumi’s operation this year was his Northern Farm exacta in Japan’s most celebrated event, the Japan Cup (Gr1), which returned the championship to his operation again after an interlude of a year for Shadai; prior to that there were Summerhill parallels in six consecutive championships for Northern Farm. The extent of the Yoshida domination on Japanese breeding affairs is clear from the table above. Sitting where we are (or anywhere else in the world for that matter) it’s difficult to conceive of the prize money involved, let alone the massive premiums these achievements attract; the second last column expresses the total earnings in Rands; almost three-quarters of a billion to the top farm!
Turning to the sires’ logs, the striking item is the presence of six sons of Sunday Silence in the first ten on the General Sires’ List, while the Juvenile Sires’ Log tells us it’s by no means the end of the story. The first three in that list are all young sons of the greatest stallion Asia has ever known, and arguably one of the best the world has known. All of Daiwa Major, Deep Impact and Agnes Tachyon are by Sunday Silence, and they’ve only just kicked off their careers. It’s entirely conceivable that Japanese breeding can look forward to a rivalry between the top two, of proportions hitherto unwitnessed since the era of Frazier and Ali.