The leading sires’ list in Britain and Ireland for 1990 featured seven American-bred stallions in the top ten. Fast forward 21 years and the equivalent list reflects the excellent use that European breeders have made of imported American bloodlines in the interim. You have to look down as far as 15th place before you find a stallion carrying the (USA) suffix and there is only one American-based stallion in the top 20.
It’s a similar story in Japan. The 1990 list featured 14 imported stallions in the top 20, with Northern Taste heading a team of eight imports in the top ten. Ten of the imported stallions originated from North America. Move on to 2011 and you will find that every one of Japan’s top ten stallions spent their racing careers in Japan, as did 17 of the top 20.
That said, the American influence is still highly visible, bubbling away just under the surface. Two of the top four stallions – Kurofune and Symboli Kris S – were bred in the USA and the champion sire, King Kamehameha, was conceived there. Six other members of the top ten were sired by American Horse of the Year Sunday Silence.
The career of King Kamehameha helps explain why Shadai Farm was keen to add Kingmambo’s grandson Workforce to its illustrious stallion team. Japanese breeders have always had an infatuation for Kingmambo and this has developed into true love thanks to the Group-winning efforts of El Condor Pasa, Star King Man, Alkaased, King Kamehameha, Admire Mambo, American Boss, Mambo Twist and King Fidelia. King Kamehameha’s contribution was very significant.
After showing plenty of promise in winning both his juvenile starts, King Kamehameha won the Mainichi Hai over a mile and a quarter in March 2004. He then inflicted a five-length defeat on the champion two-year-old Cosmo Sunbeam in the local Grade 1 NHK Mile Cup, following in the footsteps of another of Kingmambo’s best sons, El Condor Pasa, who also won the Japan Cup and Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and was second in the Arc.
El Condor Pasa missed the Tokyo Yushun, the Japanese Derby, but King Kamehameha proved his class and versatility by taking the Classic by a length and a half from Heart’s Cry. King Kamehameha again defeated Heart’s Cry in the Kobe Shimbun Hai on his return to action but was forced into retirement when he bowed a tendon, leaving his record at seven wins from eight starts.
Although the World Rankings rated him no higher than 117, King Kamehameha landed the title of champion three-year-old colt and he was syndicated for the equivalent of around $19 million to stand at Shadai, a record at that time for a Japanese-trained horse.
King Kamehameha has been kept very busy, siring 685 foals in his first four crops, born between 2006 and 2009. That’s an average of over 170 foals per crop. With the benefit of numbers, King Kamehameha has rapidly accumulated a string of honours.
Not only did he become the leading first-crop sire of 2008, but he was also champion sire of two-year-olds. He has continued to collect sires’ championships, topping the two-year-old table again in 2009 before recording his first general sires’ championship in 2010. He was again champion sire in 2011, when his number of Graded stakes winners reached double figures.
Now he is making a tremendous start to 2012, racing into a substantial early lead on the stallion table thanks to black-type victories by four of his older sons – To The Glory, Rulership, Hiraboku King and Lord Kanaloa – in January.
His best representatives have been Rose Kingdom and Apapane. After being champions of their sex at two, the pair trained on very well. Rose Kingdom was second in the Derby and St Leger prior to being awarded the 2010 Japan Cup, while Apapane numbered the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks among her Grade 1 victories.
King Kamehameha’s fifth crop, two-year-olds of 2012, numbers ‘only’ 109 but his feat of siring both the male and female two-year-old champions of 2009 earned him tremendous support in 2010. Consequently he has a 2011 crop numbering 206. They include a colt out of the smart German mare Moonlady, who produced the 2010 Tokyo Yushun winner Eishin Flash to Workforce’s sire King’s Best, another son of Kingmambo.
King Kamehameha was imported into Japan in utero, after his dam, the Irish-bred Last Tycoon mare Manfath, had been acquired by Katsumi Yoshida for $650,000 at Keeneland’s November Sale in 2000. The mare had been in the news earlier in the year, when The Deputy, her Petardia colt, won the Santa Anita Derby.
Manfath had been sold by Shadwell for 4,200gns at the end of a winless career from seven starts at up to two miles. However, the fact that Manfath is a Shadwell-bred is tantamount to saying that she possessed top-class bloodlines. Her female line traces to Black Ray, ancestress of those exceptional stallions Mill Reef and Blushing Groom.
King Kamehameha has a long way to go before he can be mentioned in the same breath as Mill Reef or Blushing Groom, but he is clearly an asset to the Japanese breeding industry.
Martaline is living up to expectations
A couple of years ago in this column I predicted that Martaline, a handsome son of Linamix based at Haras de la Reboursière et de Montaigu, would “develop into a favourite with importers looking for quick-maturing French jumping stock.”
The intervening years have done nothing to alter that belief – especially now that Martaline’s English-based son Dynaste has achieved a RPR of 163 following his fine second to Big Buck’s in the Cleeve Hurdle. As a six-year-old, Dynaste is a member of the first crop by Martaline, a Group 2-winning brother to the Prix du Cadran winner Reefscape. Other British runners by Martaline include the talented novice hurdlers Barbatos and Toubab.
At the age of 12 in 2011, Martaline achieved a fourth-place finish among France’s leading sires of jumpers. He achieved this high ranking despite having no more than 68 runners, compared to the 98 of top-ranked Turgeon and 120 of second-placed Kapgarde. What’s more, Martaline’s winners featured Roi de Treve (winner of the Grade 2 Prix Congress Steeplechase at Auteuil), Ozeta and Taruma (both Listed winners over hurdles), Ucello Conti (a Listed winner over fences at Enghien) and the very useful chaser Pierrot Bay.
Martaline’s success is one contributing factor in Beat Hollow’s recent transfer to Ballylinch Stud as a replacement for the highly successful King’s Theatre. Martaline’s dam Coraline was sired by Sadler’s Wells from Bahamian, which makes her a three-parts sister to Beat Hollow, who is out of Bahamian’s Classic-winning daughter Wemyss Bight.
Bearing in mind that Beat Hollow shares the same sire, Sadler’s Wells, as King’s Theatre, Accordion, Oscar, Old Vic, Kayf Tara, Milan and Saddlers’ Hall, he is very well qualified to sire leading jumping performers. From only 33 runners during the 2011-12 season, he has sired 15 winners, featuring the likes of Hollow Tree, Cinders And Ashes, Ted Spread, London Bridge and Citizenship. Unfortunately Beat Hollow won’t have numbers on his side for the next few years, but his Ballylinch crops should prove well worth waiting for.