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Japan Racing

THE BATTLE OF THE YOSHIDA FAMILY

yoshida fammily battle

Waging battles on two fronts that took them down to the proverbial finish line last year, brothers Teruya and Katsumi Yoshida continued to dominate racing in Japan unlike any other familial dynasty in the world.

Thoroughbred Owner & Breeder reports that for the fifth consecutive year, Katsumi Yoshida’s Northern Farm scooped the title of leading breeder with 617 runners garnering 310 wins and earning the equivalent of a mind-boggling £54,088,324. Northern-bred runners included three champions: juvenile filly Buena Vista, sprintermiler Sleepless Night and dirt horse Kane Hekili.

SUNDAY SILENCE : The Undying Legacy

Sunday Silence
(Photo : Jockey Site)

There’s a battle royal on the boil between the respective farms of the Yoshida brothers in Japan, Shadai Farm and Northern Farm for the Breeders’ Championship of the nation.

These two giants of the Japanese domestic breeding scene have been banging it out, hammer and tongs, for years now, with Northern Farm leading the march for five consecutive seasons. However, it seems this year, they have their hands full with brother Teruya Yoshida’s Shadai, who leads the list by a relatively comfortable margin at the time of writing. The last couple of weeks have witnessed something of a turnaround though, and this weekend’s Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) was the best illustration of the saying “it’s never over till the fat lady sings”.

While the hot favourite for the event, the hitherto unbeaten Logi Universe (by Neo Universe, by Sunday Silence) went off a warm favourite, he had no answer for the closing rush of his paternal half-brother Unrivalled (also by Neo Universe) who prevailed by 1,5 lengths from another grandson of Sunday Silence (by Special Week,) Triumph March. Given his interminable dominance, it may have seemed surprising the third horse across the line Selun Wonder, was not descended in male line from the “Emperor” of Japanese stallions, but the “wonder” arises at the revelation: that his dam is by none other than, (you must have guessed it,) Sunday Silence himself. The first two across the line were both bred by Northern Farm, and strung together more than ¥180 million in the process. As a matter of curiosity, both descended from Northern Dancer-line mares, in the one case ex a daughter of Sadler’s Wells, the other a mare by Dancing Brave.

It’s perhaps something of a commentary on how slowly we occasionally react in this country to the obvious, that we have as yet no son of Sunday Silence in our stallion ranks, especially as the youngest of his remaining progeny at the races is now six years old. That’s something we intend to remedy at Summerhill, so we would advise our readers to keep on reading.

Japan Breeding Industry shows dramatic downsizing

Agnes Tachyon
(Photo : Mikiko Ueda)

In tandem with a decline in the economy, the breeding industry shows a 34% drop in the number of mares being bred since the peak of 1992.

 

Michele MacDonald writes in Owner Breeder that in a remarkably parallel arc to the grim economic downturn, breeding in Japan has contracted. With statistics showing that Japan’s economy shrunk at the end of 2008 more than at any time since 1974, the Japan Racing Association reported that the nation’s registered foal crop was only about 6,800, which marks the lowest number since 1974.


Since Japan produced 10,309 foals to hit its peak in 1992, production has plunged 34%. The number of stallions has also fallen by more than half; 603 in 1991, the year the largest foal crop was conceived, to 281 in 2008.

 

Of that group, 104, or 37%, had been imported, with breeders relying on America more than any other country. Perhaps most interestingly, ten of the 281 stallions standing in Japan last year covered about one-fifth of the nation’s 11,360 mares that were bred, and each of those ten, all of whom stood at the Yoshida family’s Shadai Stallion Station, was bred to more than 200 mares.

 

Six of the ten most active stallions are sons of Sunday Silence, including the three leaders, Agnes Tachyon, Daiwa Major and Fuji Kiseki, thus further concentrating the blood of Japan’s all-time most significant sire, whose daughters also remain a big part of the breeding pool.

 

Agnes Tachyon has made a bid to be his sire’s successor after earning his first leading sire title in 2008, with Fuji Kiseki second in last year’s rankings by progeny earnings.

 

However, some challengers are emerging, with Japanese Derby winner King Kamehameha ranking as leading freshman sire last year and Symboli Kris S, the leading first-year sire of 2007, standing atop Japan’s 2009 general sire list up to early March.

SUNDAY SILENCE : The New Buzzword

sunday silence stallionSunday Silence
(Photo : Pagesperso-Orange)

Japan’s greatest sire, Sunday Silence, is making his presence felt more than ever in Europe, with another two sons due to stand there this season. Legolas is headed for France, as is Bourne King, a Grade Two placed maternal grandson of Sun Princess and a half brother to Japanese Derby winner, Fusaichi Concorde. They join Agnes Kamikaze, Great Journey, Millennium Deo, Samson Happy and Rose and Cavalier among other sons of Sunday Silence standing in France, and they follow the departure of Divine Light, sire of last year’s 1000 Guineas heroine, Natagora in his first European-bred crop. Divine Light was prematurely sold to the Turkish Jockey Club, a major coup for that jurisdiction.

What would South Africa give for a son of one of history’s greatest stallions? Watch this space.

LAND OF THE RISING SUN : The dawning of a New Era?

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.

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ASIAN RACING CONFERENCE - Maximizing Racing Value

asian racing conferenceEquine Veterinary Science Session
(Photo : Asian Racing Conference)

Wednesday at the 32nd Asian Racing Conference stimultated varied and thorough discussions on how to maximize the value of racing.

Dr. Isamu Takizawa, the Japan Racing Association’s Presidential Counselor for Foreign Affairs, set the tone for the third plenary session with the opening remarks, in which he stressed the need for racing to reach out to a wider audience.

“We must pay attention to domestic and international audiences in order to appeal to a wider client base,” Dr. Isamu Takizawa said. “The answers are pretty simple: when we look at the pinnacle event of other sports such as the Olympic Games, the FIFA World Cup and the Masters in golf. They are genuinely international competitions, and simply and easy to understand. Indeed, our aim is to build thoroughbred racing into a popular sport that is loved and watched by people around the world.”

The nine presenters - among them trainer and former star jockey Michael Roberts - agreed that regardless of issue, the 22 member nations of the Asian Racing Federation would have to work hand in hand if the sport were to reach another height of popularity.

William Nader, Executive Director of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, pointed out that the ARF needs an ambassador to carry racing around the continent and to the rest of the world like the other sports that have been successful.

“It is interesting, however, that we choose the word Challenge to describe a series of races like the Global Sprint and the Asian Mile format, because these series to come with unique challenges - the biggest of which are related to travel,” William Nader said.

“Participation is a key driver in any major sport where the major stars like Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Lewis Hamilton and others routinely travel as part of building interest and awareness in their own identity and the identity of their respective sport.”

Improving the overall quality of the product is another aspect that must be addressed, and Horse Racing Ireland’s Chief Executive Brian Kavanagh suggested the hugely successful Irish way would be one way of doing it.

“We aim to stage a high quality and competitive race program in Ireland, underpinned by attractive prize money and progressive elimination of opportunities for lower quality horses,” Brian Kavanagh said.

“This is born out of necessity given the number of horses in our country and to encourage owners to reinvest and upgrade the quality of their stock. This leads to much frustration on the part of owners and trainers, but following initial resistance, there has been general acceptance for the principle of less racing, more emphasis on quality and a high minimum prize money level.”

Dominic Beirne, Director of Intelligent Wagering Solutions, said a worldwide standardized ratings, rankings and language must accompany the globalization of racing, and the ARF, given its representation of half the international racing community, is in an excellent position to kickstart the process.

“The ARF is well placed therefore to instigate a ratings and rankings information service on half the world’s racehorses, which should lead to the inclusion of the Americas and Europe, resulting in a Global Free Handicap,” said Dominic Beirne. “There will naturally be opposition to the idea of creating a Global Free Handicap, yet all decent ideas present significant challenges. The globalization of racing demands the standardization of ratings, rankings and language.”

The topic of medication and drugs was also addressed. Dr. Brian Stewart, The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Head of Veterinary Regulation and International Liaison, equine medication ought to be harmonized internationally, to create a level playing field as well as welfare and safety.

“It seems very logical to pursue harmonization of medication testing sensitivity, but this is a controversial topic and there are inevitably heated discussions about the subject when analysts, veterinarians, horsemen and racing administrators discuss the subject,” Dr. Brian Stewart said.

“The ARF racing authorities are in a position to lead the world in achieving some consistency of medication policy and harmonization of the sensitivity of testing for therapeutic medications and should grasp the opportunity to do so.”

James Murdoch QC, Barrister-at-Law, echoed Stewart while calling for a racing program completely free of drugs.

“The solution may lie in adopting an International Anti-horse Doping Rule,” said James Murdoch. “Will it be difficult to achieve? Yes. Will it assist in securing the future of racing? Yes.”

Also speaking were Nigel Gray, Head of Handicapping and Race Planning of The HKJC; Bart Sinclair, Turf Editor of The Courier Mail; Dr. Ed Houghton, Chair of the Advisory Council on Prohibited Substances of the IFHA; and Tsunekazu Takeda, President of the Japan Olympic Committee.

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Tokyo welcomes the World at 32nd ARC

Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges presents “New Strategies for new Global Challenges”
(Photo : Asian Racing Conference)

The 32nd Asian Racing Conference in Tokyo officially got underway with a lavish Opening Ceremony providing the fireworks on Monday evening.

The conference has returned to Japan in style after a 23-year absence, with the ceremony spearheading what should be four days packed with debate and deliberation during six plenary sessions and three selective sessions that will further galvanize thoroughbred racing in Asia - and the rest of the world.

The ARC has grown leaps and bounds, with a delegation of 850 from 33 countries and regions taking part in the highly anticipated meetings this week.

The ceremony was highlighted by a bit of ancient Japanese theatre, a flag-bearing procession of the 22 member nations of the Asian Racing Federation - which spread its wings to two new members earlier on Monday to the Saigon Racing Club from Vietnam and the Jockey Club of Russia - and a speech from the honourable Shigeru Ishiba, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries which oversees the Japan Racing Association.

For daily reports, audio and photos visit :
www.arctokyo2008.com

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THE YOSHIDA FARMS : GRAND SLAM

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.

NORTHERN FARM SUMMERHILL
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.

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Next Visit : KATSUMI YOSHIDA'S NORTHERN FARM

sunday silenceSunday Silence
(Jockeysite/Nippon)

One of the great rewards of an involvement in the art of racehorse breeding is the places it takes you to and the people you meet.

In our travels, Cheryl and I have visited most of the great farms in the major breeding countries of the world, but the one place which had eluded us thus far, was Japan. So the invitation from the Asian Racing Federation to manage one of their Plenary sessions, was a welcome opportunity to complete the cycle.

In August, our son Chris completed a two and a half year stint at the home of Japan’s Champion Breeders, Katsumi Yoshida’s Northern Farm, so that was the obvious target of our initial intentions. The Yoshida family are third generation legends of the Japanese breeding scene, though the man largely credited with propelling the country into the forefront of international competition was the current team’s father, Zenya. His prominence arose from his anticipation of the internationalisation of racing and was based on his intrepid forays into the Keeneland yearling market, where he purchased his famous foundation stallion, NORTHERN TASTE (by Northern Dancer) a French Group One winner of the Prix de la Foret, and eleven times Champion Sire of Japan.

The greatest compliment to their father’s founding achievement, came when the three brothers Teruya, Katsumi and Heruya (in order of age) secured the American Champion SUNDAY SILENCE at a time when the Americans had pretty much spurned him, and if it was possible, SUNDAY SILENCE proceeded to outperform even NORTHERN TASTE, reshaping the affairs of Japanese and international breeding.

I remember a chat I had with “Terry” (Teruya) at this same conference in India in 1995, when he told me that the rise of Japanese breeding (and in particular Shadai Farm, which he’d inherited from his father) revolved around the acquisition of horses which had excelled at 2400m (which suits the local programme), when breeders around the world had largely rejected these horses for being too stamina oriented.

The Japanese don’t forget easily, and history reminded them that British and European breeding had thrived on the back of these very horses, so here was an opportunity which led to the purchase of SUNDAY SILENCE and the two “Arc” heroes, TONY BIN and CARROLL HOUSE, while REAL SHADAI and BRIAN’S TIME represented still more stamina from the ROBERTO line.

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SADLER'S WELLS : Has the world ever known his eclipse?

sadler's wellsSadler’s Wells pictured in 2006 with New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters
(Fethard)

Pedigree Insights by Andrew Caulfield

As last week’s racing represented something of a lull before the storm of major events scheduled for the next few weeks, I hope you’ll forgive me if I look back to September 13. That day’s quartet of Group 1 races provided yet another reminder of the extraordinary talents of Sadler’s Wells, who figured as the sire of one of the Group 1 winners, Septimus, and as the sire of the dams of two others, Music Note and Conduit.

One could be forgiven in the past for wondering whether the unprecedented scale of Sadler’s Wells’ success as a sire would effectively restrict the opportunities available to his broodmare daughters, especially in the rather cramped upper echelons of the Anglo-Irish industry.

After all, he achieved a record 14 Sires’ Championships between 1990 and 2004 and has more than 2,100 foals of racing age, two of which - Galileo and Montjeu - rank among the most successful stallions of recent years.

Any such fears have proved groundless and Sadler’s Wells, the Coolmore giant, appears to be heading for his fourth consecutive championship as a broodmare sire. His daughters already have earnings in excess of GBP3million this year - over GBP1million more than his nearest pursuer, Darshaan - and they have 11 group/graded winners to their credit. As many as six of the 11 have won at the highest level, with Henrythenavigator, Creachadoir, Youmzain and Conduit scoring in Europe and Music Note and Grand Couturier in the U.S.

A noteworthy feature of the 10 mares responsible for these 11 group winners is how few of them made their mark while in training. The exception to the rule is Henrythenavigator’s dam, the Group 1-winning Sequoyah. Of the others, Coastal Path’s dam Coraline gained a minor win from five starts, while Sadima, the dam of Youmzain and Creachadoir, failed to earn black type despite showing fairly useful form.

That leaves us with seven mares. Rather surprisingly, the dams of Music Note, Conduit, Infamous Angel (G2 Lowther Stakes), Patkai (G3 Queen’s Vase) and Campanologist (G2 King Edward VII Stakes) were all unraced. Grand Couturier’s dam Lady Elgar beat only one home on her only appearance and Juno Madonna, dam of dual Group 3 winner Regime, failed to reach the first seven in two small races at Cagnes-sur-Mer.

The clear lesson is that it isn’t safe to ignore any daughter of Sadler’s Wells, largely because their sire always commanded a fee which guaranteed that the vast majority of his mates came from excellent families.

It is the depth of excellence in his daughters’ bloodlines which has often helped convert them from disappointment as a racemare to success story as a broodmare.

Another fine example is Saddler’s Gal, who failed to earn a single penny in nine starts, but who went on to produce the Japanese superstar El Condor Pasa. Several other Group 1 winners, such as American Post, Laverock, Medaaly, Sumati, the Italian Derby winner Morshdi and the Japanese Derby winner Fusaichi Concorde, are also out of unraced or non-winning dams.

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

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One of the World's Greatest Commentators Speaks : A Fascinating Debate with Tony Morris

genes
(S.Vilen)

One of the more successful mating patterns of recent years has been that of putting mares by Sadler’s Wells to Kingmambo. The ploy paid off first with the outstanding Japanese runner El Condor Pasa, who raided France for a victory in the 1999 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and later that year gave Montjeu a tremendous run for his money in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Since then the match has produced a number of other top-class performers, including Virginia Waters, Divine Proportions, Thewayyouare, Queen Cleopatra, Campanologist and this season’s dual Classic-winning miler Henrythenavigator. Between them those celebrities have accounted for 18 European Pattern races – 11 in Group 1, four in Group 2 and three in Group 3.

In addition, Kingmambo’s brother Miesque’s Son clicked with a Sadler’s Wells mare to get Whipper, who won three times at Group 1 level and once in Group 3. And Sadler’s Wells mares have produced high-class winners by sons of Kingmambo, notably Group 2 winner Best Alibi and Creachadoir (one Group 1 and three in Group 3), both by King’s Best, and Ibn Khaldun (one Group 1 and one Group 3), by Dubai Destination.

That impressive array of talent amounts to strong evidence that there is something about the conjunction of those factors that delivers high quality performance, and a cursory glance at the pedigrees offers what might seem a plausible explanation. Kingmambo was produced by Miesque, the most brilliant daughter of Nureyev, and Nureyev is closely related to Sadler’s Wells.

Nureyev was by Northern Dancer out of Special, whereas Sadler’s Wells is by Northern Dancer out of Special’s daughter, Fairy Bridge. Thus we find that when Kingmambo (and Miesque’s Son, of course) is mated with a daughter of Sadler’s Wells, the product has the three parts brothers close up in its pedigree – Nureyev in the third generation on the sire’s side, and Sadler’s Wells in the second on the dam’s side.

The explanation is plausible, but perhaps no more than that. Kingmambo has two parents, and it is not possible to ignore the fact that his sire is Mr Prospector, himself a hugely influential factor in pedigrees, hardly less so than Sadler’s Wells. Both became dominant influences because they crossed successfully with mares from a wide range of backgrounds.

What is more, Sadler’s Wells and Mr Prospector feature together in the pedigrees of numerous major winners, not least those of Group 1 winner Johann Quatz and the full siblings Galileo, Black Sam Bellamy and All Too Beautiful, all products of mares by Mr Prospector’s son, Miswaki.

All the examples of prominent runners with both Nureyev and Sadler’s Wells close up in their pedigrees also feature Mr Prospector, and in the case of Henrythenavigator there is even inbreeding to Raise a Native, the sire of Mr Prospector. It seems that for the three-parts brothers to combine successfully, that other factor needs to be present.

It would be fascinating to know how many times Nureyev and Sadler’s Wells have been coupled in matings involving a closer connection than the 3 x 2 represented by the appearance of Kingmambo. Chances are that there have been few instances of 2 x 2 inbreeding, even allowing for the fact that many breeders, obsessed with the fashionable, might have used the ploy unwittingly. How many would have consciously constructed a pedigree with Nureyev and Sadler’s Wells both in the second remove?

Certainly, there has been no example of a European Pattern winner by a son of Nureyev out of a daughter of Sadler’s Wells. And until Monday there had been no instance of a European Pattern winner by a son of Sadler’s Wells out of a daughter of Nureyev. The ground-breaking individual who may just have initiated a trend is Incanto Dream, the four-year-old colt who turned in an impressive display to win the Group 2 Prix Maurice de Nieuil on Longchamp’s Bastille evening card.

My inference that the union between Galileo and Atlantic Blue did not represent some slavish adherence to fashion, but a very deliberate – and, as it turned out, successful – experiment to involve their closely related sires in the closest possible juxtaposition is reinforced by the knowledge that Atlantic Blue is herself inbred to Rough Shod, the tap-root of their exceptional family.

Rough Shod (Gold Bridge Dalmary, by Blandford), whose only success on the racecourse came in a race of little consequence at now defunct Bogside, became a broodmare of immense importance after her acquisition for 3,500gns at the 1951 Newmarket December Sales and her transfer to Claiborne Farm in Kentucky. Her first foal born at Claiborne was the high-class two-year-old stakes winner Gambetta (My Babu), whose branch of the family became noted for celebrities like daughter Gamely (Bold Ruler), grand-daughter Drumtop and grandsons Cellini and Take Your Place (all by Round Table).

But it was Rough Shod’s four products by Nasrullah’s son Nantallah – a non-stakes-winner – who were to make greater impressions. The colts Ridan and Lt Stevens both became high-class performers, the former winning 13 of his 23 starts and the latter notching nine times from 26 runs, and in due course both earned further measures of fame at stud.

The mare’s two daughters, Moccasin and Thong, contrived more enduring influence, the former after having compiled a formidable racing record (named Horse of the Year as a juvenile in one poll), the latter after a three-season career that brought her five victories from 22 races. Although none came in stakes company, she was placed three times in races that at a later date were designated as Graded events. Moccasin was to produce seven stakes winners from her nine foals, headed by Apalachee (Round Table), the European champion two-year old of 1973, while Thong distinguished herself as the dam of outstanding miler Thatch (Forli) and his sister Lisadell, and their halfbrother King Pellinore (Round Table).

Thong’s branch flourished further through her onceraced (and successful) daughter Special, a sister to Thatch and Lisadell, famously dam of Nureyev, and granddam of the brothers Sadler’s Wells and Fairy King (all by Northern Dancer). As Moccasin was noted more for her sons than her daughters, it was perhaps not surprising that her branch of the family did not assume immediate comparable distinction, but it cannot be ignored now. The best of Moccasin’s daughters at the track was her last foal, Flippers.

Although she was by the disappointing sire Coastal (Majestic Prince), Flippers was a Listed winner, placed twice in Grade 2 company, and earned nearly $250,000. In her long innings at stud Flippers produced just one runner of any note, but that one was Hail Atlantis (Seattle Slew), who won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks in 1990, and she has enhanced the family’s reputation as the dam of highly regarded sire Stormy Atlantic (Storm Cat) and grand-dam of three colts who have lately distinguished themselves on the racecourse. Divine Dixie (Dixieland Band) is the dam of Bandini, the son of Fusaichi Pegasus who won the 2005 Blue Grass Stakes; Helstra (Nureyev) produced Stern Opinion, a son of Mizzen Mast who last week claimed his third place at Pattern level in France; and Helstra’s sister is Atlantic Blue, whose gelded son Atlando (Hernando) is a Grade 2 winner in the States, and whose latest star is our subject, Incanto Dream (Galileo).

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Part 6. The Vodacom Durban July : Africa's Greatest Sporting Event

summerhill_hartford_waterford.jpg
“All that you see in the magnificence of Hartford House and its environs is defined by the indefinable, and this is Cheryl Goss’ God-given talent for creating the unimaginable.”
(Summerhill Stud/Hartford House/Waterford Wine Estate)


Does anyone out there know the thrill and the magnitude of having a “July” winner? People from all over the world are swarming through Summerhill at the moment, and by Sunday evening we’ll have hosted visitors form Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Japan, Dubai and Australia in the East, and the UK, the USA and Germany in the West. And then we have our local guests from Lesotho, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and the whole of South Africa.

What a privilege to see these people, and what a tribute to the horses. That said, visitors don’t come to Summerhill just to see the horses; they can do that anywhere. They come to see their heroes, and in the quality of the “men” in the stallion barn right now, there’s plenty of opportunity to indulge their worship.

At Hartford this evening there’s a gathering of the game’s cognoscenti, here to acknowledge their reverence for this great race. And then there are those who’ve come to pay homage to Cheryl Goss, as she celebrates her 60th birthday. She’s in the best shape of her life, and that’s a signal she’s been well “kept”, or so the boss keeps reminding us!

All that you see in the magnificence of Hartford House and its environs is defined by the indefinable, and this is Cheryl’s God-given talent for creating the unimaginable. The entire Summerhill, Hartford and Vuma teams join us in wishing her “long life”.

With us for the weekend are Kevin and Heather Arnold and Gareth Robertson of the Waterford Wines team, who have acquired the rights to sponsor our pre-July dinner, July Day at the races and our annual Stallion Day. Our association with Waterford goes back many years, and our pride in the relationship revolves around the fact that, like us, they do things properly.

Waterford has for some time been known as one of the world’s great red wine producers, and Kevin has only recently released his “magnum opus”. The Jem. Yet for all the international recognition of their reds, since the 2004 vintage, they’ve released two of the very best Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs the country has known.

What a pleasure to have these guys with us to share their secrets and their expertise.

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Part 3. The Vodacom Durban July : Africa's Greatest Sporting Event

summerhill_gates_nicholas_goss.jpg
Welcome to our Ranch
(Nicholas Goss)


Back at the Summerhill ranch, there is feverish activity. Hartford House is filling to the brim with a collection of people from all over the world, some deeply passionate about horses, others carrying a nagging curiosity that goes back to some connectivity in their early childhoods. Either way, all of them are whipped up in the atmosphere of Saturday’s race, and by raceday, Hartford will be filled with people from around the world.

South Africa’s newest “big buyer”, Dr Jim Hay and his entourage fly in on Friday, Peter Yip, famed for his connection with the Hong Kong Breeders Club gets here Saturday morning, Barry Clements and his wife Liz arrive from Perth on Thursday, and Rupert Plersch is on his way from Germany. His Majesty King Letsie III of Lesotho arrives on Friday mid-morning when he’ll be inspecting his horses on the farm, and the afternoon sees the arrival of Kevin and Heather Arnold, internationally famed for their excellent wines at Waterford Wine Estate.

The Irish are nothing if they’re not great “marketers” and at the command of the likes of her great pal, Coolmore’s John Magnier and the “Margaret Thatcher” of Irish breeding, Eimear Mulhern (yes, daughter of the late Charlie Haughey, ex Prime Minister of Ireland,) we have Ireland’s most recognized industry representative, Elaine Lawler, also arriving Saturday.

Now this girl’s not just Irish racing’s ambassador, but she’s also famous for another feature. And she’s not called “Legs” for nothing!

That’s not the lot though. We also have the Chairman of the Western Australian Breeders, John Andrew and CEO Veronica Jackson-Smith; the Chairman of the Singapore Turf Club Mr. Tan Guong Ching; the Chairman and Committee of the Korean Turf Authority and a Japanese TV crew delegated to film the Stallion Day as part of the promotion of November’s Asian Racing Conference, the biggest of its kind in the world.

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Danehill mare, MILANOVA, sets new Australasian record

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Milanova

Yesterday was an astonishing day’s trading in Sydney at the Inglis Australian Weanling and Breeding Stock Sale. Never before has an Australian sales ring seen so much quality in one session, and when good mares are around so to is the big money. Hence, there was a new Australasian record price set for a thoroughbred at A$5 million, and a quintet of mares who made more than A$1 million.

Thoroughbred Daily News reports that there was one mare that caught the eye when the catalogue came out, and she didn’t disappoint. When Milanova, the Gr3 winning Australian-bred sister to Holy Roman Emperor, entered the ring it seemed everyone who had a farm wanted to take her home. The truth was realistically only Coolmore Australia and Darley Australia had the seemingly unlimited resources to close the deal. In the end it was Coolmore who went the distance, the A$5 million price obliterating the previous record of A$3.4 million set last year in this ring for the out of training filly Virage De Fortune.

If the price was a surprise to the Coolmore team who weren’t letting on after the sale. Michael Kirwan, General Manager of the Jerry’s Plains stud said “Genuine good horses like her that come on the market always attract genuine money. She’s got a world class pedigree and Coolmore has enjoyed a lot of success with the family, with not only Holy Roman Emperor, but Encosta De Lago, who will be Champion Sire this year.”

Milanova is by Danehill out of the Secretariat mare L’On Vite, who has been a small goldmine for her owners. L’On Vite is the dam of four black-type winners, Holy Roman Emperor, Milanova, the Japanese Gr3 winner Big Viking and the German Listed winner Heart Of Oak. Her dam is the great Fanfreluche, whose family has given the world horses such as La Voyageuse, L’Enjoleur, Medaille D’Oro, Flying Spur, Encosta De Lago, French Braids, Musidora and the ill-fated Bint Allayl to name a few.

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HERMAN BROWN ready for Singapore Airlines Cup

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Record-breaking Gr.1 Dubai Duty Free hero Jay Peg heads a maximum field of 16 for Sunday’s Gr.1 Singapore Airlines International Cup at Kranji.

The son of Camden Park arrived from Dubai in fine fettle and will be reunited with jockey Anton Marcus, who rode a masterful race in the Duty Free despite suffering a saddle slip during the race. Herman Brown mounts a two-pronged assault on the S$3 million race, with recent acquisition Mourilyan (Desert Prince) making his debut for the stable under Weichong Marwing.

Formely trained by John Oxx, the Aga Khan-bred colt scored successive victories in Dubai this year before a runner-up effort in the Gr.3 Dubai City of Gold . The four-year-old most recently finished unplaced in the Sheema Classic.

Sunday’s opponents include Japan’s Cosmo Bulk, who finished first and second in the last two runnings of the 2000m race and New Zealand’s multiple Gr.1 winner, Sir Slick.

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