Sunday, December 9, 2012

Hong Kong Cup 2012

That's Miss Kate Winslet on hand to give out the hardware - the above images from HKJC

---- ----- ------ this photo from Kenneth Chan

I am just waiting for a few more images from the HKJC before I wrap this up - that's the closing ceremony fireworks display - Image from HKJC

It was a repeat performance for the beautiful American grey California Memory winning the 22 Million $HK Cup, his second Hong Kong Cup in a row. The British bred filly Giofra finished second and Australia's Alcopop finished third. All 3 were descendants of Northern Dancer. Let's see now in the 4 races on Hong Kong Cup day 11 of the 12 top three finishers were descendants of the Dancer. They were bred in 7 different countries on 5 different continents and ranged in colour from rare grey to brilliant chestnut, jet black and of course Dancer bay. Our little guy sure got around didn't he? Carlton House, the first horse belonging to Queen Elizabeth to run in a Hong Kong Cup finished 6th - that will teach her to buy a thoroughbred with no Northern Dancer blood. Ironically QEII has been a huge supporter of our little guy and I know from first hand knowledge she has a lot of Northern Dancer memorabilia and the royal family visited him at Windfields Farm in Oshawa.

California Memory (USA) - great great grandson x3
Giofra (GB) - great great granddaughter x3
Alcopop (AUS) - great great great grandson

video of the race

Home page of the Longines International Hong Kong Cup Races - from here you can access every part of this spectacular event - well done HKJC and Longines. I was disappointed with no live feed in North America but this site more than made up for that - the form guide alone is a brilliant souvenir.

Hong Kong Mile 2012

---- images from HKJC

---- this image from Kenneth Chan

It was another country heard from in the 20 Million $HK Mile with New Zealand bred Ambitious Dragon coming from second to last at the turn for home to take the Hong Kong Mile. Glorious Days was second and Packing OK finished third and guess what Glorious Days is not a descendant of our Dancer but the other two are(of course).

Ambitious Dragon (NZ) - great great grandson x2
Glorious Days (AUS) - no relation
Packing OK (AUS) - great great grandson x2

video of the race

Hong Kong Sprint 2012

In the 15 Million $HK Sprint it was the Japanese bred Lord Kanaloa beating out the South African bred Cerise Cherry with the Australian bred Captain Sweet finishing third. That's 3 different continents represented in what many consider the best sprint race in the world but what do they have in common - their great grandfather (our little Dancer) from Canada. The top 3 finishers in the first 2 races have come from 5 different countries and 4 different continents emphasizing the International importance of the Hong Kong Cup races and a tribute to the International reach our little Canadian sire had - it's what separates him from the other great sires of the 20th Century and will ensure his legacy into the 21st century.

Lord Kanaloa (JPN) - great great grandson x4
Cerise Cherry (SAF) - great great great grandson
Captain Sweet (AUS) - great great grandson x3

images from HKJC you can click on any to enlarge and scroll through the images

video of the race

Hong Kong Vase 2012

After all the build up I can't find a live feed this year. It was Red Cadeaux beating Jaguar Mail at the wire with Meandre third in the 15M $HK Vase. All 3 are grandsons of Northern Dancer.

Red Cadeaux (GB) great great grandson x2
Jaguar Mail (JPN) great great grandson x2
Meandre (FR) great great great grandson x2

Image from HKJC you can click on any to enlarge and scroll through the images

video of race

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hong Kong Cup 2012 - Live in 18 Hours

They are billing it as "The Greatest Show on Turf"

Promotional videos of the "Greatest Show on Turf"

Wow, I can't believe how excited I am about this year's Cup Day. Next to the Melbourne Cup this is the one International event I would love to attend live one day but their coverage has always been so great it's like being there. After a very busy few weeks I have nothing else to worry about tonight. Early shower, alarm set in case I fall asleep for a couple of hours - can hardly wait.

I downloaded the program - what a great form chart and souvenir - it takes a while to download but worth it.

Barrier Draw earlier in the week.

Lot's of entertainment through the week at Sha Tin

Trackside breakfast with the Stars early Dec 9 at Sha Tin Racecourse

If you don't need a lot of sleep tonight try to catch some of the Hong Kong Cup action starting about 2 am EST (Dec 9) from the beautiful Sha Tin Racecourse. The big race goes about 4:40 am. The Hong Kong Jockey Club always do a superb job with their Internet coverage and just like every other corner of the globe I think our little Canadian hero will be well represented in the International fields.

Link to HKJC website for the Hong Kong Cup

Friday, December 7, 2012

Chapter 17 from my book - A Japanese Hero

Following up on this year's Japan Cup - the winner Gentildonna came through Danzig and Lyphard but both Orfevre and Rulership had another of Northern Dancer's sons in their pedigree - Northern Taste - here is a bit about Northern Taste from my book -

Chapter 17 - A Japanese Hero

There was not a large number of great runners from the 1971 crop of foals but there was another special sire to come out of that group.

Northern Taste was out of E.P. Taylor’s stakes winner Lady Victoria. The Windfields’ bred colt was shipped off to the Saratoga yearling sales where the late Zenya Yoshida (Shadai Stallion of Japan) purchased him for $100,000. It was a gamble that paid off big time for Yoshida. In another few years, the same colt might have cost $10,000,000. Yoshida raced Northern Taste in Europe where he won some major French stakes including the Prix de la Foret before retiring to a legendary career as a stallion in Japan.

Prior to Northern Taste’s arrival, most of the “overseas” Japanese stallions were cast offs. Quality stallions would have been too expensive. Yoshida decided to take a chance on a young and more affordable colt. Northern Taste led the Japanese sires list 10 times from 1982 to 1993 where he had a significant contribution to the improved quality of Japanese bred thoroughbreds. He was pensioned in 1999 at the age of 28 and lived until he was 33 when he died a hero. “I hope he will sleep in peace”, said Shadai Stallion Station President Teruya Yoshida (oldest son of Zenya). In his 23 crops of foals Northern Taste produced over 1700 winners, over 90 stakes winners and 6 Japanese Champions.

Most of Northern Taste’s breeding records in Japan have recently been eclipsed by another Shadai Stallion in Sunday Silence who Teruya Yoshida says may have been out of their reach had it not been for Northern Taste, “that horse was our cornerstone” (they paid $12,000,000 for the Sunday Silence). The white-faced Northern Taste was small (like his sire) and that was not thought to be the ideal prototype for a Japanese thoroughbred but his line’s capacity for distance races and lengthy careers proved otherwise.

Among Northern Taste’s best offspring were these champions (winnings in Yen) Dyna Gulliver (1983) (259,946,300 13-5-2-1), Northern Driver (1988) (155,630,700 9-4-2-1), Dyna Actress (1983) (315,508,700 19-7-3-2), Dyna Carle (1980) (189,096,500 18-5-3-4), Global Dyna (1980) (238,437,800) (26-7-7-6) and another steeplechaser in Big Taste (1998).

The three sons of Zenya Yoshida have their own breeding farms today with Teruya staying on at Shadai. All three sons had access to the stallions their father introduced to Japan including Sunday Silence and before him, Northern Taste. Katsumi Yoshida runs Northern Farm, the breeders of this year’s (2006) Australian Melbourne Cup winner Delta Blues and second place finisher Pop Rock. While neither is a descendant of Northern Taste both can thank Northern Taste for the breeding success of the Shadai founded farms. Both horses are grandsons of Sunday Silence and great grandsons of Northern Dancer through Nijinsky, Fairy King and Dixieland Band.

Northern Dancer’s 1971 crop also included Barb’s Dancer who had a very successful career as a broodmare. She produced 16 foals and among them the outstanding Chilean sire, Sam M (1981) who was still runner up in the general sire statistics of Chile in 2004. The mares Farouche, Northern Gem Friendly Witness and Danceful also had some success as broodmares and carry on the Dancer’s genes today.

Japan Cup 2012 - Gentildonna wins it for the girls

I am afraid I am falling a little behind. I totally forgot about the Japan Cup which ran November 25th for $6.5 Million US in front of 100,000 fans. For the first time ever it was a 3 year-old filly winning the race. Gentildonna survived a lengthy inquiry to get the win over favourite Orfevre with Rulership finishing third. All 3 Japanese breds were great grandkids of our Northern Dancer. It was a grueling stretch drive and she looked like she was done twice but wouldn't give up.

1) Gentildonna - great great granddaughter x3
2) Orfevre - great great grandson x2
3) Rulership - great great grandson x4

Image from Japan Racing

Video of race (exciting finish)

Hong Kong Cup - Live Coverage in just over 24 hours