Breeding Season Underway in Japan

Breeding Season Underway in Japan

The foaling and breeding season is always an exciting time of year for those who work closely with the horses, with the stars of tomorrow being born or conceived and the stars of yesterday going to work in the breeding shed. The first few seasons for a stallion are always the most important. Here is a look at the up and coming stallions to look out for in Japan over the coming years who began covering mares last month.

Sophomore Sires of 2018
Last year brought with it an interesting group of stallions debuting on the track with loads of talented ex-racehorses ready to make their mark on the breed. The first crop battle is not quite over yet as these stallion’s first born enters the classic season. Last year’s Leading Freshman Sire, Lord Kanaloa(JPN), managed to land his first graded stakes victory in January with Almond Eye(JPN) in the G3 Shinzan Kinen. Over the coming months, it will be interesting to see if a champion sprinter can produce horses with enough stamina to compete in Japan’s stayer prone classics.

Orfevre(JPN), Eishin Flash(JPN), and Logi Universe(JPN) all won the G1 Japanese Derby during their three-year-old campaigns, so stamina should be a given for these sires. Novellist(GER) also brings a lot of stamina to a pedigree, given his second-place finish in his own country’s Derby. Orfevre(JPN) seems primed for a big season with his fillies, with Champion 2-Year-Old Filly Lucky Lilac(JPN) and G3 winner Rock This Town(JPN) moving onto the classic prep road.

While there are 30 sophomore sires in Japan this year here are a few that seem like ones to watch, beyond the ones mentioned above.

Henny Hughes(USA) has a very promising start as a full-time Japanese stallion, and his first crop proved during the seven-month two-year-old season that he was a great purchase. His son Don Fortis(JPN) won the JPN3 Hokkaido Nisai Yushun and was second in the JPN1 Zen Nihon Nisai Yushun at the end of last year before getting an invite to run in the G2 UAE Derby. He ultimately passed on the trip abroad, but his ability has not been overlooked. Henny Hughes(USA) already had four graded stakes winners, including two G1 winners in Japan before being imported, so hopes are high for this stallion.

Strong Return(JPN) has not had any graded stakes winners, but he has Tsuzumimon(JPN) who ran second in the G3 Shinzan Kinen last month. Peisha Luas(JPN) won the open class Canna Stakes at the end of last year as well. A decent start for a stallion with only 61 foals registered in his first crop. The G1 Yasuda Kinen winner by Symboli Kris S(USA) has been popular in subsequent seasons covering over 100 mares each year, so there is something the breeders like about him.

Freshman Sires of 2018
There are a total of 32 stallions with their first crops set to hit the track this summer in Japan. The highest profile one, however, is 2014’s Longines World’s Best Racehorse Just a Way(JPN) who has about 138 horses registered to his first crop. Next in line is probably Dunkirk(USA), who has had 150 covers his first season in Japan and was Leading Freshman Sire in North America in 2013. An imported three-year-old daughter of his has been running well these past two months, coming in second twice and breaking her maiden on February 17th. Of the four Dunkirk(USA) horses imported before his arrival in Japan, three are winners.

Cape Blanco(IRE) is another sire who had a few offspring imported before his move to Japan, and all three of those have become winners. With 93 foals registered, he will be Galileo’s first high profile attempt to make an impact on the Japanese breed. Other lines hoping to make an impact will be the only son of War Emblem(USA) at stud, Civil War(JPN) who covered 62 mares. He does not seem to have inherited his sire’s distaste for the breeding shed but as a five-time graded stakes winner hopefully he will have inherited War Emblem’s genes to pass on. War Emblem(USA) out of just 111 runners produced in his nine years at stud 82 were winners with nine graded stakes winners, including two G1 winners.

Grand Prix Boss(JPN) will also have large shoes to fill as the main representative of the late Sakura Bakushin O(JPN), a fantastic sprinter who turned into an equally fantastic stallion with 15 consecutive years of JRA graded stakes winners. Grand Prix Boss(JPN) was best over a mile with two G1 wins including a champion two-year-old title. He covered 123 mares in his first season, and his first yearlings sold well including one colt that was the second highest priced yearling at the 2017 Selection Sale.

A few other to look out for on the track this summer will be G1 Tenno Sho Aki winner Tosen Jordan(JPN) picking up for his aging sire Jungle Pocket(JPN) with 74 registered and G1 Mile Championship winner Tosen Ra(JPN) with 27 registered. King Kamehameha(JPN) has several new sons read to make their debut with G1 Japan Cup Dirt winner Belshazzar(JPN) will be heavily represented with 124 registered and three-time G2 winner To the Glory(JPN) hitting the track with 72 registered.

Sires with Yearlings in 2018
New stallions are always popular during the sales season, and there are plenty of well-bred young sires with progeny set to enter the ring for the first time this summer.

Gold Ship(JPN) between his six G1 victories and crazy antics he was one of Japan’s most popular racehorses during his tenure on the track. He has 78 registered offspring that could be going through the ring at the seven different yearling sales held in Japan starting in late June.

G1 Japanese Derby winner Kizuna(JPN) has had a very promising word of mouth after his first 180 foals hit the ground last year, leading to a further 212 covers last spring. If the yearlings look as good as they did as foals, it will be a good year at the sales for this young son of Deep Impact(JPN).

G1 Japan Cup winner Epiphaneia(JPN) was runner-up to Just a Way(JPN) for the Longines World’s Best Racehorse award in 2014. He is a special case as he had two mares covered on Southern Hemisphere time in 2015, showing his international appeal. Back on normal breeding time in 2016, he covered 221 mares in his first season. He is out of G1 Japanese Oaks champion Cesario(JPN) and by dual Horse of the Year Symboli Kris S(USA), so hopes will be high for this young sire.

There were two stallions imported from the United States for the 2016 breeding season G1 Wood Memorial winner Eskendereya(USA) and G1 Hopeful Stakes winner Majestic Warrior(USA). Eskenderya(USA) was second on the 2014 North American Freshman Sire rankings, and his only imported offspring was a three-time winner in Japan. He will have 80 registered progeny to look forward to at the sales. Majestic Warrior(USA) was the leading 2012 North American Freshman Sire, and all three of his imported offspring have been winners, including two time G1 winner Best Warrior(USA). He has 88 Japanese bred offspring looking to improve on that record.

Some others that could be interesting to watch will be dual G1 winner Curren Black Hill(JPN) and G1 winner Copano Richard(JPN) who are by popular sire Daiwa Major(JPN). Then there is G1 Tenno Sho Aki winner Spielberg(JPN), two time G1 Tenno Sho Haru winner Fenomeno(JPN), and royally bred To the World(JPN).

Sires with Foals in 2018
As foals continue to drop on farms all over Japan, there will be 28 young sires who will be well represented this year by little fuzzy bundles of joy and potentially up for sale at Japan’s foal sale in early July.

Maurice(JPN) was a formidable opponent on the turf, winning six G1 races in Japan and Hong Kong, so his first foals will be of great interest over the coming years. He covered a large book of 265 mares in his first season before covering a further 120 mares down at Arrowfield Stud in Australia.

Henny Hughes(USA)’s best son in Japan is 2013 Champion Two-Year-Old Asia Express(USA) will have his first foals born this year from 175 covers. As a G1 winner on turf and a G3 winner on dirt, he could have a lot of range to give, just like his sire.

Deep Impact(JPN) has three sons expecting their first crop this spring including dual international G1 winner A Shin Hikari(JPN) who covered 86 mares, G1 Mile Championship winner Danon Shark(JPN) who covered 49 mares, and G1 NHK Mile winner Mikki Isle(JPN) who covered 147 mares as well as a book down in Australia.

Another top stallion who is filling the stallion barns in Japan is King Kamehameha(JPN) with four sons awaiting the birth of their first crop. The 2015 G1 Japanese Derby & G1 Satsuki Sho winner Duramente(JPN) covered Japan’s largest book in 2016 with 284 mares. Ten-time dirt G1 winner Hokko Tarumae(JPN) covered 164 mares. Lovely Day(JPN) who made a name for himself with two G1 wins in 2015 and a slew of other respectable performances covered 138 mares. Leontes(JPN) is the half-brother to 2014 Japan Cup winner Epiphaneia(JPN), but he was also the 2015 Champion Two-Year-Old for his outstanding victory in the G1 Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes. He covered a solid book of 191 mares in his first season.

Three stallions were imported into Japan in 2016 including English classic winner Makfi(GB), American classic winner Creator(USA), and established American sire Discreet Cat(USA). Makfi(GB) covered 142 mares in his first season and looks to be equally in demand in 2018. The few Dubawi(IRE) sired horses imported into Japan have only seen moderate results in Japan but given his success abroad, mixing with Japanese blood lines could the trick to make this popular sire line work in Japan. Creator(USA) spoiled Japan’s Lani(USA)’s hopes of becoming the first Japanese trained horse to win the G1 Belmont Stakes but given the success of that race’s ability to produce stallions, importing him could be a great boon to the Japanese breeders. He was the first Tapit(USA) line stallion in Japan and covered 85 mares last year. Discreet Cat(USA) has had a well-established career in the United States before being sent to Japan. He had had 11 offspring imported over the past ten years with ten of them becoming winners, including G3 winner Air Khalifa(USA). He covered 137 mares during his first season in Japan.

New Sires for 2018
While 2018 doesn’t have as many new stallions as in previous years, only 19, the quality might be higher than in previous years.

Two time Horse of the Year Kitasan Black(JPN) made his final bow a winning one in the G1 Arima Kinen on December 24th. While he does not have the flashiest pedigree, but his sire is Deep Impact(JPN)’s full brother Black Tide(JPN), who had a promising career before an injury. His dam’s page is not the most impressive, but she has two other winners including a graded stakes-placed runner. Kitasan Black(JPN) will be making his own way just as he did on the racecourse, but it should effect his popularity early in his new career.

Isla Bonita(JPN) will be taking up the mantle of Sunday Silence(USA)’s first champion offspring Fuji Kiseki(JPN) as he takes his place in the breeding shed this spring. The 2014 G1 Satsuki Sho winner was also in the money in five other G1 races including the G1 Japanese Derby. He won five other graded stakes and hit the board in another five instances. With such a colorful resume, he should be a popular stallion.

Big Arthur(JPN) is another new sire taking over for their late sire, this time the champion sprinter Sakura Bakushin O(JPN). Big Authur(JPN) emulated his sire on the turf with brilliant speed and captured the 2016 G1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen in record time. The mix of the speedy Mr. Pospector(USA) line and the Sakura Bakushin O(JPN) line came together well in this stallion and he will hopefully pass it on to the next generation.

Also entering stud this year are two sons by Deep Impact(JPN) including 2016 G1 Satsuki Sho winner Dee Majesty(JPN) and 2017 G1 Yasuda Kinen winner Satono Aladdin(JPN). 2014 G1 Japanese Derby winner One and Only(JPN) and 2013 Champion Two-Year-Old and three-time G1 winner Logotype(JPN) also start their breeding careers this year.

Three stallions were imported into Japan for the 2018 breeding season. 2016 Eclipse Champion Sprinter and G1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Drefong(USA) brings fresh speed into the Japanese breeding industry that will mix well with the large amount of Sunday Silence(JPN) bloodstock. Two sons of the internationally successful United States-based stallion War Front(USA) were brought to Japan to help spread some of his influence here. G1 Maker’s Mile winner American Patriot(USA) and The Factor(USA) who was North America’s Leading Second Crop Sire based on black type winners. Through his sons The Factor(USA) and Declaration of War(USA) both had G1 winners in their first crops, War Front(USA) has already proven to be a sire of sires. The inclusion of this bloodline in Japan via freshly retired American Patriot(USA) and proven sire The Factor(USA) should be of great interest to breeders this spring.

Please contact our representative below for further details:
Satomi Oka (Ms)
Satomi Oka Bloodstock Pty Ltd
E-mail : [email protected]
Tel : +61 414 414 450

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S. Jack Heffernan Ph.D. Funds Manager at HEFFX holds a Ph.D. in Economics and brings with him over 25 years of trading experience in Asia and hands on experience in Venture Capital, he has been involved in several start ups that have seen market capitalization over $500m and 1 that reach a peak market cap of $15b. He has managed and overseen start ups in Mining, Shipping, Technology and Financial Services.

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