As news of Deep Impact’s death filtered through on that morning back in late July, thoughts naturally turned to how Shadai were going to fill the void.
This wasn’t the first time Shadai had been faced with such a situation. When Sunday Silence, that son of Halo who changed the face of Japanese breeding, died in 2002, the farm was robbed of an international titan.
Yet lurking within Sunday Silence’s final few crops was none other than Deep Impact.
The natural answer to Shadai’s current problem is Lord Kanaloa, a brilliant sprinter whose first crop contains a real star in Almond Eye. Four months on from Deep Impact’s death and we also have a clearer idea of how his own legacy might evolve; the really exciting name is Shadai’s Kizuna, the season’s leading Japanese first-crop sire whose 22 winners are led by Grade 3 scorer Bien Fait, but barnmate Real Impact is also faring well enough as the sire of 14 first-crop winners.
The past season, however, has once again demonstrated that breeders, both domestic and international, would do well not to look past Shadai veteran Heart’s Cry, the sire of Sunday’s Japan Cup winner Suave Richard.
Sunday’s Tokyo masterpiece was run this year in honour of Deep Impact and for a moment it looked as if there was to be an appropriate winner in his daughter Curren Bouquetd’or, only for Oisin Murphy to galvanise a powerful winning inside run from Suave Richard.
“Breeders would do well not to look past Shadai veteran Heart’s Cry”
At the line, the Yasushi Shono-trained five-year-old had three-quarters of a length to spare over Curren Bouquetd’or, with another Deep Impact representative Wagnerian in third.
Yet another son of Sunday Silence, Heart’s Cry is probably best remembered in these parts for his gallant third to Electrocutionist and Hurricane Run in the 2006 King George at Ascot.
As it turned out, that effort marked the culmination of an ambitious international campaign devised by trainer Kojiro Hashiguchi following Heart’s Cry’s defeat of Deep Impact in the 2005 Arima Kinen.
Such ambition wasn’t misplaced, with the horse turning in a wide-margin victory in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Nad Al Sheba prior to his Ascot effort.
With career statistics of five wins from 19 starts, Heart’s Cry did not boast the flamboyance or mystique of Deep Impact, whose own record read 12 wins in 14 outings. So when both joined Shadai for the 2007 season, Deep Impact was understandably the headline act in a pecking order that was to remain until his death.
Yet operating in the shadow of Deep Impact hasn’t prevented Heart’s Cry from developing into a premier sire.
Heart’s Cry has been among the top four Japanese stallions every year since 2014; at the time of writing, he sits second on this year’s list ahead of Lord Kanaloa.
Along the way, there have been 40 stakes winners including nine at the top level. In addition to Suave Richard, they include another Japan Cup winner in Cheval Grand.
Crucially, with regards to the health of the Japanese industry, he has also enjoyed plenty of success on an international scale.
“Heart’s Cry is steadily gaining some traction in this part of the world”
It began with a successful first crop that included Admire Rakti, the ill-fated Caulfield Cup winner. Then out of his second emerged Just A Way, whose championship career included a six-length win in the 2014 Dubai Duty Free.
Meanwhile American runner Yoshida, who was imported by WinStar Farm and SF Bloodstock as a 94,000,000yen (£675,000/€780,000) yearling purchase through John McCormack out of the JRHA Select Sale, is one of those rare Grade 1 winners on both turf and dirt, having snared last year’s Churchill Downs Turf Classic Stakes and Woodward Stakes.
Yoshida is new to WinStar Farm in Kentucky for the 2020 season, where he represents an interesting option to breeders at $20,000.
Yet action from the past 11 months has pushed Heart’s Cry to an even higher level. Prior to Suave Richard’s Japan Cup victory, there had been the success of his daughter Lys Gracieux in the Cox Plate to savour.
A second Australian Group 1 winner for the stallion after Admire Rakti, that victory followed the Grade 1 Takarazuka Kinen at Hanshin in June.
The unbeaten two-year-old Woman’s Heart, bred by Godolphin, also looked a filly to follow when taking the Grade 3 Niigata Nisai Stakes in August.
And in what was a major weekend for the sire, Suave Richard’s Japan Cup win came just 24 hours after another representative, juvenile My Rhapsody, landed the Grade 3 Kyoto Nisai Stakes.
All of this has come in the same season that his son Just A Way has developed into Japan’s leading second-crop sire. Although still waiting for his first Graded stakes winner, his first crop does include this year’s Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2,000 Guineas) runner-up Velox.
Suave Richard is from the same 2014 crop as Lys Gracieux and Yoshida and was bred by the Yoshida behemoth Northern Racing out of Pirramimma, an American-bred daughter of Unbridled’s Song.
“Action from the past 11 months has pushed Heart’s Cry to an even higher level”
Pirramimma showed little in two starts in Japan but as a daughter of the high-class American filly Career Collection, winner of the 1997 Grade 2 Landaluce and Sorrento Stakes, it’s easy to see how she appealed to Katsumi Yoshida as being a worthy inclusion to his broodmare band.
Besides, her sire Unbridled’s Song has long been regarded as an important broodmare sire, as supported by the presence of 28 Group/Grade 1 winners in this capacity during the past decade; others this year also include Prix d’Ispahan winner Zabeel Prince and top-flight Meydan performer Capezzano alongside Suave Richard.
Representation in this part of the world for Heart’s Cry has understandably been scarce until recently. A pair of maiden winners, Heart Of Grace and Saint Diana, flew the flag last year while Cheval Grand took his chance for Japan in both the King George and Juddmonte International.
In France, the Niarchos homebred juvenile Mystical Land recently ran a promising third at Chantilly for Andre Fabre.
As those results show, Heart’s Cry is steadily gaining some traction in this part of the world. It will be interesting to see if any further interest from Europe follows for next season, when the rising 19-year-old is due to stand for an increased fee of 10,000,000yen (£72,000/€83,500).