Pedigree Page

Japanese Horses Star In Hong Kong

The victory of champion Maurice (Screen Hero), the favourite, in the day’s richest event, the Hong Kong Cup (Gr 1, 2000m), by three lengths in a time of 2:00.95 was suitably impressive and the perfect end to a wonderful racing career in which he won 11 of 18 starts, six of his successes coming in Group One tests in Japan and Hong Kong where he previously won two Group Ones over 1600 metres.

Satono Crown’s (Marju) 19/1 win in the Longines Hong Kong Vase (Gr 1, 2400m), though, came as something of a surprise but had great merit as he wore down the leader, Irish globetrotter Highland Reel (Galileo), to win by a half-length in 2:26.22 with third placed One Foot in Heaven (Fastnet Rock) a distant third.

A dual Group Two winner and Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) (Gr 1, 2400m) placegetter, Satono Crown is a four-year-old entire but would not rank highly among Japan’s top 2400 metre performers such is the depth and quality in this group.

While foaled in Japan, Satono Crown is essentially an Irish bred, his dam Jioconda (Rossini) having been purchased privately in Ireland by Japanese interests in 2011 while carrying Satono Crown, a brother to 2011 Cheveley Park Stakes (Gr 1, 6f) winner Lightening Pearl (Marju) and to stakes-placed Jolie Jioconde (Marju) from the family of another of Marju’s (Last Tycoon) best offspring, My Emma (Marju), a multiple Group One winner in Britain and France.

Jioconda’s 2014 colt by Deep Impact (Sunday Silence), now named Satono Victory, topped the JRHA Yearling Sale while the mare produced a Heart’s Cry (Sunday Silence) filly in 2015.

Interestingly, Marju also sired the 1998 Hong Kong Vase winner Indigenous, a Horse of the Year in Hong Kong, but is even more famous there as the father of champion Viva Pataca. His other leading winners around the world include Soviet Song and Marju Snip, the best result from the stallion’s single shuttle season in Australia, winner of the 2006 SAJC Australasian Oaks (Gr 1, 2000m).

From a breeding viewpoint, the triumph of Maurice was of greater significance than that of Satono Crown as he now retires to Shadai Farm in northern Japan to join its huge roster of stallions, among them the country’s two most expensive, Deep Impact and King Kamehameha (Kingmambo).

This big, powerful horse of great physical quality was at his best at 1600 metres so could well suit Australian conditions and his not entirely fashionable pedigree offers a valuable outcross for many mares although his Roberto (Hail To Reason) line sire Screen Hero (Grass Wonder) is out of a Sunday Silence (Halo) mare.  

Screen Hero (2004) was a Japan Cup (Gr 1, 2400m) winner and while Maurice is the standout among his five stakes winners he has sired another Group One winner in Gold Actor.

Maurice’s dam Mejiro Frances (Carnegie) was unplaced in Japan but has bred four other winners although none of special note.Her dam Mejiro Monterey (Mogami) won four black type races in Japan.

Having Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Gr 1, 2400m) winner Carnegie (Sadler’s Wells) as his maternal grandsire adds to Maurice’s appeal as a stallion and strengthens his maternal pedigree.

Carnegie spent time at stud in both New Zealand and Australia as well as in Japan with most of his best winners – Amalfi, Carnegie Express, Perlin, Tuesday Joy and Vision And Power – racing in Australia. As well as Maurice, Carnegie’s daughters have produced such Group One winners as Whobegotyou (Street Cry), Kushadasi (Choisir), Gondokoro (Zabeel) and Zabeelionaire (Zabeel).

Last Sunday there was another notable Japan-foaled winner at home when two-year-old filly Soul Stirring (Frankel) comfortably captured the Juvenile Fillies (Gr 1, 1600m) at Hanshin to give her famous young sire his first Group One winner, the best of six individual first crop stakes winners in 2016.

The Hanshin Juvenile Fillies is considered a classic trial for the following season and extended Soul Stirring’s unbeaten sequence to three.

Soul Stirring’s female pedigree, like the male half, leaves nothing to be desired as her dam Stacelita (Monsun) was a classic winner in France as a three-year-old before being sent to the United States where she earned the title of champion turf mare, her ten career victories including six at Group One level. Stacelita’s great German sire Monsun (Konigsstuhl) is known here as the sire of three of the last four Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m) winners, Fiorente, Protectionist and Almandin.

Soignee (Dashing Blade), Stacelita’s dam, is by another champion German sire and was herself a stakes winner in Germany, coming from a deep German family, another member of which is Steinlen (Habitat), a champion turf horse in the United States.