(Edited Japan Racing Horse Association press release)
A half-brother to two-time Japanese Horse of the Year Deep Impact was the star of the opening session of the Japan Racing Horse Association foal sale, bringing the highest price of 165-million yen (approximately $1,736,842 in U.S. funds) July 14 at the Northern Horse Park on the Japanese island of Hokkaido.
“He is a different type than his brother," said the bay colt’s buyer, Takaya Shimakawa. "He is a very strong colt, carrying much muscle, and it looks like he is similar to his sire, Daiwa Major."
Shimakawa has not decided who will train the foal, who is a member of Daiwa Major’s first crop. The buyer said the price was “much more than I thought.”
Consigned by Katsumi Yoshida’s Northern Farm, the colt is out of the 18-year-old Alzao mare Wind in Her Hair, a German champion and group I winner. She also captured two stakes in England and finished second in the 1994 Energizer Epsom Oaks (Eng-I) and third in the 1995 Aston Upthorpe Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I).
In addition to Deep Impact (by Sunday Silence), who earned his Horse of the Year honors in 2005 and 2006, Wind in Her Hair’s offspring include Veil of Avalon (by Thunder Gulch), who scored in the De La Rose Handicap (gr. IIIT) in 2002 and the Solo Haina Handicap in 2001; Black Tide (by Sunday Silence), who won the 2004 Fuji-TV Sho Spring Stakes (Jpn-II) in 2004; and New Beginning (by Agnes Tachyon), who captured the 2006 Hopeful Stakes in Japan.
Earlier in the day, Shimakawa paid 155-million yen ($1,631,578) for a Deep Impact colt from the Northern Farm consignment. The bay foal is out of the 12-year-old placed Northern Taste mare Every Whisper.
“I think this is the best foal by Deep Impact in the catalog,” Shimakawa said. "When I visited Northern Farm, I saw him and fell in love with him. I do not visit farms to see foals more than once normally. However, I went to see this colt several times and he impressed me every time. I knew several different buyers were bidding on him, but I never thought I would stop bidding.”
The colt is a half-brother to Japanese stakes winners Dark Message (by Dance in the Dark) and Tosen Jordan (by Jungle Pocket).
"I know many people came to see him at my farm, and he is very popular,” Yoshida said. “But this price is much higher than I expected."
The colt will be trained by Yasutoshi Ikee, Japan's leading trainer in 2008.
"The colt looks like his father and his face is just a copy of his father's face," said Ikee, whose father, Yasuo Ikee, trained Deep Impact.
Shimakawa, who dominated the top end of market, paid 125-million yen ($1,315,789) for a Symboli Kris S– My Katies colt that is a half-brother to 2007 Japanese Horse of the Year Admire Moon (by End Sweep). Northern Farm consigned the brown foal.
"He is certainly on my shortest list," Shimakawa said. "It was my last bid; I did not think I could manage to buy this colt for this price."
In all, 118 foals were sold for a gross of 3,073,700,000 yen ($32,354,736). The average price was 26,048,305 yen ($274,192), and the median price was 20 million yen ($210,526). Compared to the opening session of last year’s foal auction, when 124 horses were sold, the gross was down 31.3% from 4,471,500,000 yen. The average fell 27.8% from 36,060,484 yen, and the median dropped 31% from 29 million yen.
This year’s buy-back rate was 32.2%.
The second and final session of the foal sale is scheduled for July 15.