WHEN this column started, and I looked to expand coverage of winners to those enjoying global success, reviewing the pedigrees of Japanese winners often left me wondering if anyone was really interested in them.
Now the worlds of racing and breeding are having to sit up and take more notice, as Japanese horses have been doing immensely well on the world stage, whether at the Breeders’ Cup, in Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and last weekend in Dubai. Five winners on the card, two at Group 1 level and all three Group 2 races, was a result and a half for Japan in the UAE. Their winners have an interesting mix of pedigrees.
What will come as no surprise is the fact that Deep Impact (Sunday Silence) got one of the pair of Group 1 wins for Japanese-bred horses. The perennial champion sire is responsible for the Dubai Sheema Classic winner Shahryar, winner last year of the Group 1 Tokyo Yushun, the Japanese Derby. He was his late sire’s seventh winner of their premier classic.
Shahryar is the second Japanese classic winner from the champion racemare Dubai Majesty (Essence Of Dubai), as his full-brother Al Ain (Deep Impact) won the 2017 Satsuki Sho, their 2000 Guineas, one of a pair of Group 1 successes he enjoyed.
Japanese buyers, looking for breeding stock around the world, put an emphasis on performance, and will purchase a top-class racemare from an otherwise pretty average female family.
Take Dubai Majesty as an example. She was a half-sister to 19-time winner Majestic Dinner (Formal Dinner) who won seven stakes races at Beulah Park and River Downs, and was stakes-placed at Thistledown.
Their dam is Great Majesty (Great Above) who won four races as a four-year-old, earning just $15,500, bred six winners, and she was one of five winners from her dam. None of them were even stakes-placed, though her half-brother Summer Majesty (Summer Advocate) won 16 times.
Dubai Majesty’s third dam Necaras Miss (Ambernash) bred seven winners, a pair of them victorious at stakes level, at Sportsman’s Park, Fair Grounds, Hazel Park and Bowie. She is grandam of Totem (Al Nasr), and this David O’Brien-trained colt won the Group 3 Tara Stud Desmond Stakes, as well as listed races at the Curragh and the Phoenix Park.
Well, Dubai Majesty certainly did not know that her pedigree was somewhat average. A daughter of Essence Of Dubai (Pulpit) and his best runner, she raced for four seasons in the USA, ran 34 times, landed her first stakes success at the age of four, and reserved her best for her final two starts.
Having won the Grade 3 Winning Colors Stakes in successive seasons, she stepped up to take the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland. Then, for her swansong, she won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs. She was crowned the champion female sprinter. Dubai Majesty sold days after her biggest win at Fasig-Tipton Sale, bought by Katsumi Yoshida for $1.1 million, having compiled earnings of $1.5 million.
Dubai Majesty is now one of the star mares at Northern Farm, and understandably so. Shahrayr is one of 54 Group 1 winners sired by Deep Impact, and soon that deceased sire will reach a landmark 150 group winners in total.
The second Group 1 win at Meydan for Japan came courtesy of the five-year-old Panthalassa’s dead-heat with the Irish-bred Lord North (Dubawi) in the Dubai Turf. This was the entire’s first win or placing at Group 1 level, and he was also a Group 2 winner this year in Japan. He has now won six times and is the sixth Group 1 winner sired by Shadai’s Lord Kanaloa (King Kamehameha).
Lord Kanaloa earned a Timeform rating of 133 during a career that spanned 19 races and resulted in 13 wins and six places, all but one of the latter in the runner-up spot. He was a world-class sprinter and he twice won the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint and the Sprinters Stakes in Japan. Lord Kanaloa is best-known at stud for siring the nine-time Group 1 winner Almond Eye, and one of those victories was also in the Dubai Turf.
Panthalassa is the best of five winners so far from Miss Pemberley. That daughter of Montjeu (Sadler’s Wells) was bred by Ben and Harriet Jellett at their Colbinstown Lodge Stud. Sent to race in Japan, she was placed there and she is also dam of a couple of Group 2-placed winners by Deep Impact (Sunday Silence).
The grandam of Panthalassa is Stitching (High Estate), a half-sister to the Irish Group 2 winner Great Dane (Danehill). In the next remove of the family there are four Group 1 winners, three of them out of the same mare. Alidiva (Chief Singer) won three of her five starts, including a listed race, and she bred four-time Group 1 winner Taipan (Last Tycoon), Sussex Stakes winner Ali-Royal (Royal Academy), and the latter’s own-sister Sleepytime (Royal Academy) who won the 1000 Guineas.