Only one horse, Heart’s Cry, was able to halt Deep Impact’s winning streak in his native Japan. That win came in the Arima Kinen staged on Christmas Day 2005, as Heart’s Cry fended off that rival to land the immensely popular Japanese event and inflict fan favourite Deep Impact with a surprising defeat.
Thereafter Heart’s Cry and Deep Impact went their separate ways; Heart’s Cry went on to win the Dubai Sheema Classic before travelling to Ascot where he ran third in the 2006 King George, while Deep Impact racked up four further Group 1 victories, including the 2006 renewal of the Arima Kinen.
Both retired for the 2007 season to the Yoshida family’s Shadai Stallion Station in Japan. With his exceptional race record, Deep Impact was the celebrity of the pair and lauded in some parts as the natural heir to his sire Sunday Silence, a role that he went on to fill seamlessly as a series of Japanese sires’ championships came his way.
Heart’s Cry has never been able to match the pace set by his paternal half-brother – in fairness, nor has he ever received the same volume of elite mares – but he has more than held his own, with early crops featuring the likes of Just A Way, the 2014 Dubai Duty Free winner and now a Shadai stallion, Japanese Derby winner One And Only and Japanese Oaks heroine Nuovo Record.
Recent weeks, however, have taken matters to another level.
Since August, Heart’s Cry has been represented by Japan Cup winner Suave Richard, a Group 1-winning two-year-old in Salios and North American Grade 1 performer in Yoshida.
A deep juvenile division also includes a pair of Group 3-winning juveniles in Woman’s Heart and My Rhapsody alongside the Group 1-placed Cravache d’Or. Throw in Lys Gracieux and it’s been a run of Deep Impact proportions for Heart’s Cry.
“It is only in recent years that this family has thrived”
On Sunday, Lys Gracieux emulated her sire by taking the Arima Kinen, in her instance with a scintillating burst of speed under Damian Lane that took her five lengths clear of a chasing pack that included Almond Eye, Japanese 2,000 Guineas winner Saturnalia and Suave Richard.
Making it all the more impressive was that it came off the back of an undoubtedly taxing trip to Australia where the Yoshito Yahagi-trained five-year-old had lifted the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.
Yet another champion bred by the Yoshida’s Northern Farm, Lys Gracieux also boasts European connections as a daughter of the demoted 2010 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches heroine Liliside.
Liliside’s fate that afternoon was sealed as jockey Jean-Bernard Eyquem sought to manoeuvre into clear space at the top of the Longchamp straight, a move that resulted in two separate incidences of interference.
With only a length covering the first six home, she was duly disqualified to the benefit of Special Duty, who had been awarded the Newmarket equivalent in similar circumstances only weeks before.
That ‘win’ marked the culmination of progression for Anthony Forde’s Liliside that had also taken in Listed victories in the Prix de la California and Prix la Camargo for trainer Francois Rohaut.
The daughter of American Post had been bought for only €39,000 by MAB Agency as a yearling and by the autumn, she had changed hands again – undoubtedly for a sizeable profit – to Katsumi Yoshida, for whom she went on to win the Listed Prix de la Cochere at Longchamp.
Liliside is the best daughter sired by the Racing Post Trophy and Poule d’Essai des Poulains winner American Post, and in that is very much a credit to her breeder, the Lepeudry family’s Elevage de Tourgeville.
The Lepeudry family’s association with the line dates back to Philip Lepeudry’s purchase of Liliside’s fifth dam, the Abernant mare Dilly-Dally, during the 1960s.
The first filly she left behind for the farm was Maradadi, a winning daughter of The Marshal who later foaled talented French jumper Carvinos.
It is only in recent years, however, that this family has thrived, much of it stemming from Dilly-Dally’s great-granddaughter Miller’s Lily, a 1988-foaled daughter of the Mill Reef stallion Miller’s Mate.
“It has been achieved without the help of expensive or fashionable stallions”
A dual winner at Clairefontaine and Lisieux in the Lepeudry colours, Miller’s Lily’s chief contribution at stud has been as the dam of Liliside.
However, another talented daughter of American Post, Lily America, also emulated Liliside by taking the 2012 Prix la Camargo while the Group 3-placed filly The Wise Lady, by Ganges, has done her bit as the dam of Italian Group 3 winner Ming Zhi Cosmos, Listed winner Melodyman and Cloghran, herself dam of Harry Dunlop’s Criterium de Saint-Cloud winner Robin Of Navan.
Nor does the family web end there since another daughter of Miller’s Lily, jumps winner Golden Lily, is the dam of last year’s Prix Marcel Boussac heroine Lily’s Candle; like Liliside and Lily America, that filly is now in the hands of Katsumi Yoshida.
What is remarkable about Tourgeville’s cultivation of this family is that much of it has been achieved without the help of expensive or fashionable stallions. Liliside was bred when her sire American Post, one of the last scions of the Sea Bird sire line, stood for just €7,000.
Robin Of Navan, who is new to Haras de la Barbottiere this season, is also among the best Flat performers sired by the inexpensive Muhtathir, while Lily’s Candle remains the sole Group 1 winner sired by the disappointing Style Vendome.
As for Lys Gracieux, she is inbred 4x5x4 to Lyphard and the best of five winners out of Liliside alongside minor scorers by Zenno Rob Roy, Daiwa Major and Orfevre. The mare also has a yearling colt by Heart’s Cry to come.
Sunday’s Arima Kinen, which hit an astounding 46,889,714,600yen (£330 million) in JRA Tote handle, was Lys Gracieux’s swansong, and should be remembered as a fine representation of a mare at the peak of her powers.
Now she retires sound as the winner of six of 20 starts over the course of a career that epitomised the toughness and progression often associated with Heart’s Cry and indeed the Sunday Silence line as a whole.