Hong Kong treble seals Japan’s spectacular year

The friendship between leading Japanese breeder Katsumi Yoshida & Arrowfield's John Messara has opened up many opportunities for Australian owners & breeders. (PHOTO: Arrowfield)

If the wave of elite Japanese thoroughbred victories around the world in 2019 looks like overnight success, it is surely of the 20-years-in-the-making variety.

Actually, it’s closer to 40 years (still a brief span in the context of thoroughbred history), since the JRA’s launch of the Japan Cup in 1981 as part of a long-term strategy to measure and improve the quality of Japanese-bred horses.

The success of that strategy has been stunning, with several milestones along the way including Zenya Yoshida’s game-changing 1990 purchase of Sunday Silence, the Hong Kong treble of 2001, the 2006 Melbourne Cup quinella, the emergence of supersire Deep Impact, and a slew of global Group 1 victories by the likes of A Shin Hikari, Brave Smash, Gentildonna, Hana’s Goal, Lord Kanaloa, Maurice, Real Impact, Real Steel, Tosen Stardom, Yoshida and Japan’s first official World Champion, Just A Way.

Japan’s 8 international stars in 2019 confirm what’s been obvious for several years: whenever Japanese horses turn up for big races in Europe, the United States, Dubai, Hong Kong or Australia, they are capable of winning against any opposition.

JAPAN’S GLOBAL STARS OF 2019

WIN BRIGHT beats Magic Wand in the Hong Kong Cup G1

The Hong Kong Mile G1 falls to 3YO ADMIRE MARS

GLORY VASE wins the Hong Kong Vase G1

FIERCE IMPACT wins the VRC Cantala S. G1

LYS GRACIEUX defeats Castelvecchio in the Cox Plate G1

MER DE GLACE becomes Japan's 2nd Caulfield Cup G1 winner

UK Group 1 winner DEIRDRE

Horse of the Year & Dubai Turf G1 winner ALMOND EYE

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Arrowfield’s two-decade relationship with the Yoshida family & the Shadai Stallion Station gives buyers at Australian yearling sales exceptional access to the genetics driving this global over-achievement. The 2020 Magic Millions Gold Coast catalogue includes 59 lots by Maurice, Mikki Isle, Real Impact, Deep Impact & Lord Kanaloa – 22 of them offered by Arrowfield.

Here are the 10 Group 1 wins in 2019 that have cemented Japan’s pre-eminence in global racing & breeding:

8 December – Sha Tin, HONG KONG
Hong Kong Cup 2000m G1
Won by WIN BRIGHT (Stay Gold)
B: Cosmo View Farm

Hong Kong Mile 1600m G1
Won by ADMIRE MARS (Daiwa Major)
B: Northern Farm

Hong Kong Vase 2400m G1
Won by GLORY VASE (Deep Impact)
B: Lake Villa Farm
LUCKY LILAC (Orfevre), 2nd

2 November – Flemington, AUSTRALIA
Cantala S. 1600m G1
Won by FIERCE IMPACT (Deep Impact)
B: Takae Bokujo

26 October – The Valley, AUSTRALIA
W.S. Cox Plate 2040m G1
Won by LYS GRACIEUX (Heart’s Cry)
B: Northern Farm

19 October – Caulfield, AUSTRALIA
Caulfield Cup 2400m G1
Won by MER DE GLACE (Rulership)
B: Northern Farm

12 October – Caulfield, AUSTRALIA
Toorak H. 1600m G1
Won by FIERCE IMPACT (Deep Impact)
B: Takae Bokujo

1 August – Goodwood, ENGLAND
Nassau S. 10f. G1
Won by DEIRDRE (Harbinger)
B: Northern Farm

28 April – Sha Tin, HONG KONG
Queen Elizabeth II Cup 2000m G1
Won by WIN BRIGHT (Stay Gold)
B: Cosmo View Farm
LYS GRACIEUX, 3rd

30 March – Meydan, UAE
Dubai Turf 1800m G1
Won by ALMOND EYE (Lord Kanaloa)
B: Northern Racing
VIVLOS (Deep Impact), 2nd

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