Colt out of Preis der Diana winner commands near-£2m while Flightline and Baaeed foals add to global interest in Japan sale

The Kitasan Black colt out of Serienholde topped the foal session of the JRHA Select Sale
The Kitasan Black colt out of Serienholde topped the foal session of the JRHA Select SaleCredit: JRHA

Not content with setting a record for the most expensive yearling sold at the JRHA Select Sale, Kitasan Black's dominance of the auction was even more pronounced during the foal session, when the sire of Equinox was responsible for the most expensive colt and filly on a day that exceeded the most cautious expectations of the Japanese industry.

The sale also featured foals from the first crops of champions Flightline and Baaeed, the world's best dirt and turf horses respectively of 2022, and it was the unbeaten Breeders' Cup Classic winner who provided two of the standout results.

“It was a much better market than I expected and I would like to thank everybody involved in this amazing sale," Teruya Yoshida, chairman of the JRHA, said at the conclusion of the sale. “There are so many players in the game, which is incredible.”

He added: “Yearlings and foals offered here on Monday and Tuesday are the cream of Japanese-bred horses and the quality of the catalogue was very high.”

The pedigrees of the foals on offer once again demonstrated the global outlook of Japanese breeders; not only were some of the day's most expensive foals the progeny of international sires, the dams were top-level winners around the world while both of the Kitasan Black foals were the offspring of European Classic winners.

At ¥410,000,000 (£1,987,487/€2,352,548) the colt out of Preis der Diana winner Serienholde topped the sale. He is a half-brother to Kingman's Group 1 NHK Mile Cup winner Schnell Meister. 

Toshihiko Tabata, who runs Lion Race Horse syndications, and races horses such as this year's Listed Wakaba Stakes winner Mr G T in his own colours, emerged as the buyer of the Northern Farm bay who was foaled in February.

Serienholde was acquired privately by the Yoshida family, carrying Schnell Meister and the six-year-old embarked upon his stud career at Shadai Stallion Station this year.

He is one of three winners from as many runners the daughter of Soldier Hollow has produced, while she also has a two-year-old colt by Kizuna, named Schnell Konig, in training.

The Kitasan Black foal out of Poule d'Essai des Pouliches winner Dream And Do was the most expensive filly at the JRHA Select Sale
The Kitasan Black foal out of Poule d'Essai des Pouliches winner Dream And Do was the most expensive filly at the JRHA Select SaleCredit: JRHA

Serienholde is a full-sister to Group 3 Maurice Lacroix Trophy winner and Preis der Diana fourth Serienhoehe, while another branch of the family was also acquired by the Yoshidas and has also born fruit in Japan.

Serienholde is one of two granddaughters of the Listed-winning Salde to have been successful in the Preis der Diana and to have foaled a Japanese Group 1 winner. The other is Salomina, who was purchased privately by Katsumi Yoshida following her Classic triumph and she is the dam of Japanese champion two-year-old Salios and Salacia, a Group 2 winner.

The 2020 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches winner Dream And Do produced the session's most expensive filly at ¥200,000,000 (£989,506/€1,147,584). Another consigned by the Yoshidas' Northern Farm, she was purchased by Rodeo Japan, who also bought Monday's record-breaking Kitasan Black yearling.

Japan's leading breeders don't just purchase what they consider the best of European bloodlines; they invest heavily in North American broodmare prospects with form on both surfaces and that was clearly in evidence in the upper echelons of the price tiers.

The session's second most expensive foal is the offspring of Grade 1 Acorn Stakes winner Carina Mia, who was bought in foal to Uncle Mo for $2.6m by Shadai Farm in November 2021.

By Malibu Moon, Carina Mia was also placed at the highest-level on six further occasions, including when second in the Coaching Club American Oaks and third in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. A half-sister to Argentine Grade 1 winner Miss Match, she is the dam of a winning Curlin colt named Gun Party.

This March-born Epiphaneia colt will carry the colours of Hirosaki Toshihiro, who went to ¥370,000,000 (£1,793,585/€2,123,015) for what he determined was the session's outstanding lot.

“My trainer, Yoshito Yahagi, and myself have agreed this is the best foal in the catalogue”, Hirosaki said of his purchase. “I was determined I must win the bidding battle on this colt.” 

“I am feeling a lot of pressure on my shoulder," Yahagi said while smiling. “I understand this is an outstanding individual; his dam is an Acorn Stakes winner and the colt has a beautiful pedigree. He has everything.”

The Epiphaneia colt out of Grade 1 winner Carina Mia was the top priced by the sire at the foal session of the JRHA Select Sale
The Epiphaneia colt out of Grade 1 winner Carina Mia was the top priced by the sire at the foal session of the JRHA Select SaleCredit: JRHA

Yahagi has guided the careers of superstars including Contrail, Lys Gracieux, Loves Only You, Real Steel and Marche Lorraine and broke new ground for Japanese racing with the country's first Breeders' Cup and Cox Plate triumphs.

Masahiro Noda of Danox Co Limited was among the leading buyers during Monday's yearling session and the owner of this year's Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) hero Danon Decile – one of seven individual Grade 1 winners by Epiphaneia – was in the thick of the action once more during Tuesday's foal session when Noda spent ¥815,000,000 on four foals.

Chief among them was a second-crop colt by Japanese Triple Crown hero Contrail and out of North American champion juvenile filly Caledonia Road. Offered by Grand Stud, the fifth foal of the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner fetched ¥300,000,000 (£1,454,258/€1,793,585)

Through Narvick International, Grand Stud bought the Quality Road mare who is a half-sister to a pair of stakes winners at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton November Sale for $2.3m. 

Caledonia Road has a four-year-old daughter and a three-year-old colt by Justify, a two-year-old daughter by Kizuna and a yearling full-sister to this foal. 

Her Contrail colt achieved the highest price for a member of his sire's second crop, with another colt out of an American bred and raced mare making ¥250,000,000 (£1,211,298/€1,434,281).

Susumu Fujita, who was underbidder on Monday's record-priced yearling, splashed out on the son of Grade 1 La Brea Stakes runner-up Brilliant Cut, offered by Northern Farm. Katsumi Yoshida picked up the daughter of Speightstown for $750,000 at Keeneland in January 2022 and this colt is her second foal.

He was one of six foals Fujita purchased on Tuesday for a total of ¥990,000,000 (£4,800,485/€5,681,829).

This colt out of Argentine Grade 1 winner Tan Gritona is from the first crop of Flightline
This colt out of Argentine Grade 1 winner Tan Gritona is from the first crop of FlightlineCredit: JRHA

A trio of Flightline foals came under the hammer – all colts – with the sons of Grade 1 winners Grace Adler and Tan Gritona both achieving ¥210,000,000 (£1,01,491/€1,204,795) to Danox Co Limited and Tetsuhide Kunimoto respectively.

Grace Adler won the Grade 1 Debutante Stakes and is a Curlin half-sister to Grade 3 Pimlico Special Stakes winner and Grade 1 Stephen Foster Stakes second Pyrenees. Second dam Our Khrysty was a Grade 3 winner and is a Newfoundland half-sister to Grade 1 Whitney Handicap winner and sire Bullsbay.

Grace Adler was another seven-figure Fasig-Tipton purchase by Narvick International, making $2m at the 2022 'Night Of The Stars' sale to Grand Stud, who consigned her Flightline colt, her first foal.

Northern Farm sold the colt out of Tan Gritona, Argentina's champion two-year-old filly of 2022, when she won the Gran Premio Jorge de Atucha and the Gran Premio de Potrancas. 

The first foal by Baaeed to come on the open market made ¥56,000,000 (£271,317/€321,263) to Cosmo View Farm, sold by Harry Sweeney's Paca Paca Farm. A chestnut colt, he is out of the English Channel mare Fahan Mura, who was successful in the Grade 3 Robert J Frankel Stakes, and bought by Paca Paca Farm for $450,000 at Fasig-Tipton in November 2019.

Gun Runner had a sole representative in the sale; a half-brother to last year's Grade 1 Arkansas Derby winner Angel Of Empire. They are out of Armony's Angel, a daughter of To Honor And Serve. She failed to win during her racing career but her colt made ¥300,000,000 (£1,793,585/€2,123,015) to Y's consignment sales, offered by Shunsuke Yoshida.

Lot 436 is another first crop son of Flightline out of a Grade 1 winner at the JRHA Sale
Lot 436 is another first crop son of Flightline out of a Grade 1 winner at the JRHA SaleCredit: JRHA

During Tuesday's foal session a total of 231 foals were sold, generating turnover of ¥14,421,000,000 (£69,926,691/€82,750,077), which represents a dip of slightly more than two points from last year's record high but is still the second-best aggregate recorded.

The average dropped by seven points but the median climbed slightly to ¥42,000,000 (£203,638/€240,994), a record figure for the sale.

Yoshida remarked: “I have had buyers from USA, Europe, Australia, South America, the Middle East, and Hong Kong this year. I am very happy to see those international buyers were very active at this market.”

During the two days of trade in Japan's best foals and yearlings, a sale record of ¥28,918,000,000 (£140,131,070/€165,878,588) was generated for 455 horses sold at a clearance rate of 96.4 per cent, a small increase on last year's return of 96 per cent.

The average and median achieved over the combined two sessions of the sale declined year-on-year, with the median at ¥42,000,000 down 2.3 per cent, while 2024's average of ¥63,556,044 dipping by 1.8 per cent. However, last year's blockbuster edition was a high watermark for the sale and this year's figures, with the exception of the median, are the second-best the sale has posted.

Thoughts, however, have already turned to the Select Sale of 2025 when the first foals of Equinox, just the second Japanese-trained horse to be proclaimed the world's best, go on sale and the anticipation for that stellar debut crop is already bubbling.

“I cannot wait for the JRHA Select Sale in 2025, when the first crop by Equinox is offered,” Yoshida added. 

One of those who could come under the hammer is the future half-sibling to the ¥370,000,000 Epiphaneia colt as Carina Mia is one of the mares Equinox covered this year.

The countdown to the sales Equinox starts now.

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'It's an amazing market' - Kitasan Black colt out of classy European mare sets JRHA Select Sale record at £2.86m 

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