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.

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