One of the world’s greatest collection of broodmares resides on the island of Hokkaido, Japan. They are the result of years of sustained determination by Japanese breeders to secure the best bloodstock on offer worldwide and alongside the blood of the wildly successful Sunday Silence, the greatest reward to derive from an aggressive pursuit of stallion prospects, remain key to Japan’s ever strengthening position as a powerful racing nation.
Central to the health of the Japanese breeding industry has long been the Yoshida family’s Shadai Farm, which guided the stallion careers of Northern Taste, Sunday Silence and then his son Deep Impact to win 30 Japanese sires’ championships between them.
Rarely also does a major breeding stock auction pass without some kind of participation from one of the Yoshida brothers, meaning that the Shadai paddocks are filled with numerous high-flying racemares with which to support their stallions.
Race record is key, as we were reminded again at last year’s Fasig-Tipton November Sale in Kentucky, when an outlay of $6.65 million by Katsumi Yoshida of Northern Farm included Grade 1 winner Vasilika (by $5,000 stallion Skipshot) for $1.5 million and Grade 3 winner Escape Clause (a Manitoba-bred daughter of $1,250 Canadian stallion Going Commando) for $300,000.
With a depressed market looming in 2020, it would be no surprise to see the Yoshidas take advantage and invest to an even greater level.
One particularly happy ground has been France, where Katsumi Yoshida purchased both Liliside and Lune d’Or, the dams of Japanese stars Lys Gracieux and Fierement.
“Fierement became only the fifth horse in history to take consecutive runnings of the Spring Tenno Sho”
The similarities don’t end there. Liliside, the demoted 2010 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches heroine and the best daughter of American Post, is a member of the fine Miller’s Lady clan cultivated for generations by the Lepeudry family’s Elevage de Tourgeville in Normandy.
Group 1 winners Robin Of Navan and Lily’s Candle, both of whom sit among the best sired by their inexpensive sires Muhtathir and Style Vendome, have propelled this family forward in recent years but nevertheless pride of place goes to Lys Gracieux, the third foal out of Liliside who struck in last year’s Cox Plate and Arima Kinen.
While Liliside was a private purchase in training by Yoshida, Fierement’s dam Lune d’Or headed east when purchased for €750,000 from the draft of her breeder Haras du Mezeray as a nine-year-old mare at the 2010 Arqana December Sale. It has turned out to be money well spent in light of her five-year-old son Fierement, now a two-time winner of the Grade 1 Spring Tenno Sho following his success under Christophe Lemaire in the Kyoto feature on Sunday.
Like Liliside, Lune d’Or was a daughter of an inexpensive French stallion, in her case Haras d’Etreham’s Green Tune. She was a Group 1 winner, having gained a deserved success for Richard Gibson in the 2004 Premio Lydia Tesio following victories in the Group 2 Prix de Malleret and Prix de Pomone, and represented the essence of French bloodstock as the product of multiple generations of Mezeray breeding by the stud’s founder, Paul de Moussac.
In victory on Sunday, Fierement became only the fifth horse in history to take consecutive runnings of the Spring Tenno Sho. It was a desperate finish as Stiffelio lunged late, and in another stride, victory may well have gone to the other Deep Impact horse, who boasts similar illustrious connections as the son of Rae Guest’s 2008 Cheveley Park Stakes heroine Serious Attitude. Both were bred by the Yoshida brothers as was the third home, Mikki Swallow.
Such Group 1 sweeps by the Yoshida behemoth are common in Japan; look no further than last year’s Arima Kinen, in which Lys Gracieux led home a 1-2-3 for breeder Northern Farm.
With ten starts under his belt for trainer Takahisa Tezuka, Fierement is lightly raced for his age. However, his five victories also include the 2018 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St Leger). He has also finished out of the first four only once when down the field in last year’s Arc behind Waldgeist and Enable.
Fierement’s fifth dam Malveillante was a winning jumper but in her Yorick filly Mandolinette, the mare left behind a daughter who would return the family’s fortunes to the Flat. Mandolinette foaled six winners led by De Moussac’s Listed winner Viola d’Amour, a 1972-foaled daughter of leading sire Luthier. In turn, Viola d’Amour would become the conduit through which the family would come to thrive.
In 1983, her daughter Luth Enchantee lit up the miling scene with victories in the Prix Jacques les Marois and Prix du Moulin, on each occasion settling the matter with a fine turn of foot over the Classic-winning colt L’Emigrant.
Her rate of improvement as a three-year-old for trainer John Cunnington was remarkable given she took until her seventh start to break her maiden and in a show of impressive versatility, also went on to run third in that year’s Arc behind All Along, in which she was the first French-trained three-year-old home.
Luth Enchantee was from the second crop of Coolmore’s champion sire Be My Guest. Similarly, her Listed-winning half-sister Luth Celtique was by another prominent Coolmore stallion in Thatch.
Luth d’Or, however, was a daughter of Mezeray’s homebred Group 2 winner Noir Et Or, one of the best sired by Arc hero Rheingold prior to his dispatch to Japan. Luth d’Or also turned out to be above average, carrying De Moussac’s colours to victory in the 1987 Listed Grand Prix de Compiegne. Lune d’Or was the best of her seven winners.
Fierement remains the sole stakes performer in six winners out of Lune d’Or. However, her first foal, Learned Friend, by Seeking The Gold, has also contributed to the family in recent seasons as the dam of Group 2 winner Inns Of Court, a high-class sprinter and miler for Godolphin who is standing his first season at Tally-Ho Stud in Ireland.
“Fierement is one of 46 Group/Grade 1 winners by Deep Impact”
There should also be more to come from Lune d’Or’s three-year-old Route d’Or, a colt by young Shadai stallion Just A Way who made a winning debut in a Tokyo newcomers’ race in November.
Lune d’Or also has a two-year-old filly by Deep Impact, a sister to Fierement, and was covered last year by champion Duramente.
Fierement is one of 46 Group/Grade 1 winners by Deep Impact, the outstanding Japanese stallion who did so much to make Japan such a point of international bloodstock focus. His death at the age of 17 last July has left a huge void in the Japanese industry and hopes are high that a major heir will be unearthed soon.
Although early sire sons such as Deep Brillante, winner of the 2012 Japanese Derby, and Tosen Homareboshi have not set the world alight, the 2013 Japanese Derby and Prix Niel winner Kizuna has made an excellent start with six first-crop stakes winners to his credit in addition to last year’s champion Japanese first-crop sire title.
Naturally, there are plenty of other sons in the pipeline – the Shadai Stallion Station itself has four unproven Group 1-winning sons on its books in Real Steel, Mikki Isle, Satono Aladdin and Satono Diamond alongside the aforementioned Kizuna and fellow promising second-crop sire Real Impact. Coolmore’s Irish division, of course, also offers Saxon Warrior while new to Lanwades Stud in Newmarket is Study Of Man.
No doubt Fierement will join that cluster of Group 1-winning sons of Deep Impact available to breeders in due course.