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Rock Of Gibraltar colt heads day of 'amazing figures' at JRHA Sale

JRHA Select Yearling Sale comparative figures (yen)

 Year  Cat  Off  Sold  % sold  Aggregate  Average
 2009  161  156  122  78  2,699,740,000  22,129,016
 2008  163  151  105  70  2,347,600,000  22,358,095

WITH three lots breaking the hundred-million yen barrier and a clearance rate significantly up on last year's, Monday's opening session of the JRHA Select Sale at Northern Horse Park on Hokkaido more than satisfied sales officials.

The day was dedicated to yearlings, generally the least valuable commodity at this sale, and it is the foals selling today and tomorrow who are expected to generate the most fireworks.

So after selling nearly 80 per cent of the lots offered and achieving a 15 per cent gain in aggregate, Terry Yoshida, vice-chairman of the JRHA, described the results as "amazing figures".

He attributed the strong clearance rate to a combination of new owners - there were around ten reported, who accounted for 15-20 purchases according to the JRHA - and realistic reserves set by consignors.

Yoshida was also gratified by the level at which the new buyers jumped in. "We expected to see new faces, but we didn't expect them to be bidding up to $400,000 - we expected them to be in the lower market. We really thought they would support the market at the $100,000 - $150,000 level, so this is a pleasant surprise," he said.

Rock Of Gibraltar half-brother to Admire Moon sets pace

A colt by Rock Of Gibraltar, conceived during the Coolmore stallion's lone season in Japan in 2007, fetched the top price of 145,000,000 yen (£978,535) from Shigeyuki Okada, owner of Big Red Farm, a major Hokkaido-based breeder.

The price was "much higher" than Okada had expected, he said, but added: "I couldn't stop myself, because this colt was the pick of the day."

The yearling is a half-brother to Japan Cup winner Admire Moon, out of the unraced mare My Katies, a granddaughter of Irish 1,000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes winner Katies.

Okada said of his pedigree: "Rock Of Gibraltar as a stallion has been a bit disappointing. But one thing I really like is that the colt is out of a Sunday Silence mare, and I find that normally the Sunday Silence offspring have a very good quality of muscle. So I think the injection of Sunday Silence will improve his quality."

Four of Rock Of Gibraltar's five other catalogued lots were sold for an average of 13,000,000 (£87,711).

Deep Impact and Symboli Kris S in demand

Well-known Japanese runners generally make the most popular sires in a land where top racehorses can still command celebrity status, and it was colts by Deep Impact and Symboli Kris S, both twice-named Horse of the Year, who brought the other million-yen prices.

A colt from the second crop of Deep Impact, whose dam Lotta Lace is a Nureyev half-sister to El Gran Senor, went to Takaya Shimakawa for 115,000,000 yen (£775,558),while a son of Symboli Kris S out of Fusaichi Airedale - a multiple Graded winner and producer of a champion two-year-old - was sold to Kumiko Osako for 100,000,000 yen (£674,161).

Osako, who is married to the former owner of Zenno Rob Roy, another Horse of the Year, said of her purchase: "He was not on my shortlist, but I saw him in the parade ring and I loved him. I was ready to bid more, so I'm happy with the price. My husband bought Zenno Rob Roy at this sale, and he was not on the shortlist either, so this may be a lucky omen."

All three colts were consigned by Katsumi Yoshida's Northern Farm - vendor of eight of the top ten highest-priced lots. Indeed, aside from Northern Farm and Shadai Farm, owned by Katsumi's brother Terry Yoshida, only one other consignor broke into the top 20 prices - Chiyoda Farm, which sold a colt by the recently deceased sire Agnes Tachyon for 34,000,000 yen (£228,769).

Chiyoda, owned by Masatake Iida, is one of the country's oldest and most successful breeding farms, with 70-80 mares. But its near total eclipse by the Shadai group - encompassing the operations of the Yoshida brothers, who also stage the JRHA sale - shows just what a lock that tight-knit organisation has on Japan's breeding industry.

The sale continues with foal sessions tomorrow and Wednesday.




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