THE Group 1 Satsuki Sho-Japanese 2000 Guineas, is the first of the three legs of JRA’s Triple Crown. The others are the Tokyo Yushun-Japanese Derby, and the Kikuka Sho-Japanese St Leger.
Nine of the Satsuki Sho winners since 2005 subsequently received the JRA award for best three-year-old colt, in recognition of their outstanding performances throughout the year. Most are also well-known outside their native country; Deep Impact in 2005, Meisho Samson in 2006, Victoire Pisa in 2010, Orfevre in 2011, Gold Ship in 2012, Isla Bonita in 2014, Duramente in 2015, Saturnalia in 2019 and Contrail a year later.
Last year’s winner Efforia went on to claim the Group 1 Tenno Sho and the Group 1 Arima Kinen, and was named Horse of the Year. What lies ahead for this year’s winner, Geoglyph?
Bred at Northern Farm, victory for Geoglyph was noteworthy on a number of fronts. It was the chesnut’s first Group 1 success, a first also for his sire Drefong (Gio Ponti), and the first for trainer Tetsuya Kimura, who also saddled the runner-up for good measure.
Geoglyph is also the first Group 1 winner in three generations of his female line.
Let’s start with his sire Drefong. He stands at Shadai Stallion Station and this year his fee is the equivalent of about €50,000. Victories at three in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita from Mind Your Biscuits, and in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop Stakes at Saratoga earned him the title of champion sprinter in the USA. The following year he added the Grade 1 Forego Stakes to his six-win tally.
The best, and to date only, Grade 1 winner for Gio Ponti, Drefong’s future as a sire was always likely to be outside America, and their loss is Japan’s gain. Gio Ponti meanwhile stands for only $5,000 at Castleton Lyons in Kentucky and his tally of stakes winners now stands at 15, all from his first four crops. Drefong was in his first crop.
Last year Geoglyph became Drefong’s first stakes winner, and has been joined since by Desierto who was out of the money in last weekend’s classic, his first defeat in four starts. Drefong’s first crop contains three other stakes-placed winners, and they are among more than 50 winners in that initial crop at stud.
On the dam side, Geoglyph is the fourth foal and third winner for Aromatico. The daughter of King Kamehameha (Kingmambo) was a stakes winner at two and she later placed a couple of times in Group 1 company. Her full-sister Reina Castana is also dam of a stakes winner, and they are both out of the unraced Nasca (Sunday Silence), a sibling to three stakes winners including the Group 2 winner and Group 1-placed Inti Raimi (Special Week).
A second Group 1 winner appears in the fourth remove of the family, the 2015 champion Lovely Day (King Kamehameha). He was a dual winner at the top-level.