Kondo's Spree Highlights JRHA Foal Session

Kondo's Spree Highlights JRHA Foal Session
Photo: Michele MacDonald
Weaning half brother to multiple group I winner Admire Moon sold for a session-topping 300 million yen at the JRHA select sale on Tuesday.

Firing bids like a machine gun, Riichi Kondo continued his aggressive buying spree at the Japan Racing Horse Association select sale on Tuesday, grabbing another half brother to his multiple group I winner Admire Moon for a session-topping 300 million yen ($2,631,578).
    
Each time any rival bidder would trump Kondo’s pending offer on the rugged gray weanling colt, the construction and demolition industry executive would immediately counter, eliciting ripples of amused laugher in the Northern Horse Park sale pavilion and, ultimately, a round of applause.
   
By Kurofune out of the Sunday Silence mare My Katies, the colt added to the drama, announcing his entrance in the ring with a shrill whinny and pawing the ground during the bidding.
    
Just a day earlier, Kondo had pushed aside all other bidders in similar bold fashion to secure the top colt in the JRHA yearling section, paying 250 million yen ($2,024,291), a Japanese record for a yearling, for Admire Moon’s half brother by French Deputy.
   
“I own Admire Moon and I don’t want to give the two brothers to anyone else,” said Kondo. “They must wear my colors. My ambition is to win the Dubai World Cup (UAE-gr. I) with the yearling I bought yesterday and the following year win the Dubai World Cup with his little brother.”
   
Kondo didn’t cease buying with the Kurofune colt. He also purchased the second highest priced offering of the day, spending 155 million yen ($1,359,649) for a King Kamehameha colt out of the Sunday Silence mare Must Be Loved.  The colt is a half brother to 2005 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) winner Rhein Kraft.
   
Altogether, Kondo bought 12 foals for a total of 808 million yen ($6,542,510), making him by far the brightest light in a session where the gross of 4,958,000,000 yen was down 3.9% from last year’s 5,160,500,000, which included the world record foal price of 600 million yen drawn by a King Kamehameha filly. Ten of his purchases were consigned by Japan’s leading breeder and top consignor, Katsumi Yoshida’s Northern Farm.
   
Kondo accounted for 16.3% of the gross for the opening session of the two-day foal portion of the JRHA sale, and the average price of his purchases was 67,333,333 yen ($545,209).
   
Average price for the overall session declined by 14.1%, from 43,730,00 to 37,560,606 yen. Of the 176 horses offered on Tuesday, 132 were sold for a buyback rate of 25%, slightly better than last year’s 26.7%.
   
Teruya Yoshida, JRHA vice chairman and owner of another leading consignor, Shadai Farm, said the sale was “steady” with a “strong middle market.” Before the sale began, he had sounded a note of caution by describing last year’s results as “overheated,” partly by the world record foal.
   
A contributing factor to this year’s declines is the absence of flamboyant buyer Fusao Sekiguchi, who is focusing on a campaign for public office.
    
Born Jan. 30, the Kurofune colt had been touted as the probable leader of the foal portion of the sale. Kondo said that, since he thought he might have to go to more than 400 million yen to be successful, the price was a pleasant surprise. In contrast, Kondo bought Admire Moon at the 2003 JRHA foal sale for the bargain price of 60 million yen.
   
Despite all his spending, Kondo told reporters that he planned to return on Wednesday to acquire more horses.
   
“I am very satisfied—I think I made good purchases—but I’m not finished buying yet so tomorrow I will try to buy more good colts,” he said. “I didn’t spend as much as I thought I would, so I’m ready to buy more.”

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