Japan’s the world leader in the race for stayers   Leave a comment

Japan’s the world leader in the race for stayers

Date
July 17, 2015 – 2:17PM
Star quality: Mosheen is one of a number of Australian group 1 winners snapped up by Japanese breeders.Star quality: Mosheen is one of a number of Australian group 1 winners snapped up by Japanese breeders. Photo: Ken Irwin

In 1967 Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Ray Hutchins boycotted the annual Invitation Stakes at Caulfield.

The reason he scratched his runner was the ballot of international jockeys had seen the Epsom trainer receive a Japanese jockey to ride his horse.

Hutchins claimed that he had lost two brothers in the Second World War at the hands of the Japanese and was decidedly upset that he’d been given a jockey from the same country to ride his horse.

In those times feelings ran high. It had been little more than 20 years since Australia was at war with Japan. However, as relations between Australia and Japan improved, our one-time enemy made a decision to rebuild and restructure its racing industry.

This week in Japan one of the most successful yearling sales in the racing world was carried out, highlighting that Japan were world leaders in breeding distance racehorses.

The attraction of purchasing European stayers was largely shelved by international buyers this week following this sale in Japan.

For years the world racing community has been aware of Japan’s endless thirst for breeding, grooming and then racing a stayer.

This week Japan showed that not only domestically, but internationally, their yearlings have profound appeal and judging by the average price of $300,000, the visitors could not get enough.

Ex-pat Australian Byron Rogers, now based in Kentucky and a highly regarded international bloodstock authority, attended the Japanese sale and also carried out DNA testing of yearlings for his clients.

“The select yearling sale has been going for less than 20 years as racehorse ownership usually falls under the massive syndicates and clubs that the major farms and racing clubs operate,” Rogers said.

“The opportunity for individuals to own and purchase their own horses to race is limited so as a result yearling sales like this see strong domestic competition, and when you have overseas interests also, it creates a strong sale.”

There was more than a smattering of Australian interest with Sydney-based Gai Waterhouse returning home with six yearlings and former Racing Victoria chairman Rob Roulston securing two youngsters.

But Rogers believes the Japanese system has been successfully skewed to produce high-class stayers.

“Their domestic market is significantly geared towards staying events with their end-of-year champion two-year-old races being held over 1600 metres and their Guineas for three-year-olds being over 2000 metres,” he said.

“Most of their prestigious races are at 2000 metres or more. With this type of racing structure in place for decades, the quality of stayers they are breeding in Japan is world class and the prize money that they are racing for is amazing.”

Already Japan has quinellaed the Melbourne Cup and taken home the Caulfield Cup from an astonishingly few competitors during the internationalisation of Melbourne’s spring carnival.

“This is why outside of prestigious events like, say, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, it is hard to get the very best horse to come out of Japan to race in distance races as the money and prestige locally is so good,” Rogers said.

“It is also why many stayers have been bought out of England, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy and even the US, yet it has proved almost impossible to purchase a good stayer out of Japan to race in Australia as the ones that are just a touch below their best are still racing for a lot of money and prestige domestically.”

But Rogers also points out that the Yosida brothers (Shadai Farm and Northern Farm) have been heavily investing in bloodstock from not only Australia, with the likes of group 1 winners Mosheen, Shamrocker, Southern Speed, King’s Rose, and Absolutely, but also overseas.

“For the past decade there have been large buyers at Europe and North America breeding sales of high class mares coming off the track,” he said.

“We saw some of the yearlings and foals out of these mares come through the ring, which has lured overseas buyers to the sale including the likes of WinStar Farm who bought a yearling by Japanese sire in Heart’s Cry out of a very good North American race mare in Hilda’s Passion.

“They have been able to attract people to the sale because they can recognise the mares that these foals are out of and once you get people here, they look at what is on offer and act as if they are at any high class sale and try and buy the best athlete they can regardless of the pedigree.”

Rogers, who’s the world authority on DNA testing, said: “The DNA testing system looks at the genetic variances that are associated with differences in muscle fibre and type and also variances in genes related to muscle oxidative capacity and energy production.

“They use these markers in addition to measuring the size of the yearling’s heart and some biomechanical parameters to help identify those yearlings with the highest potential for elite talent.

“It is not foolproof but it certainly gives us a big advantage over just inspecting the horse,” he said.

Rogers maintains that the DNA testing has gathered momentum in recent years with buyers using the new tool to help them to decide whether to purchase a yearling or not.

And for Japanese racing and breeding, their impact on major races around the world has been astounding. Their ability to breed outstanding racehorses is the envy of racing jurisdictions across the globe.

They were told that breeding strong staying racehorses was not an exact science. But it seems the past few years have shown that they’re becoming awfully close to it.

Read more:http://www.smh.com.au/sport/horseracing/japans-the-world-leader-in-the-race-for-stayers-20150717-giei72.html#ixzz3gCHXtN1p

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Posted July 18, 2015 by belesprit09 in Uncategorized

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