When Sunday Silence died in Japan a few years back, he had a plethora of sons vying to take his vaunted spot atop the leading sire lists. The one that looks most likely to emulate him, especially in classics output, is the bay 10-year-old Neo Universe, who stands at Shadai where his sire ruled supreme. Today, Neo Universe’s highly regarded second-crop son Victoire Pisa won the 70th running of the 2000-meter international Group 1 Satsuki Sho (2000 Guineas equivalent) at Nakayama Racecourse in 2:00.8, barging through on the rail to win his 5th consecutive race from 6 starts. He also got revenge on the only horse to defeat him, last season’s Japanese 2-year-old champion Rose Kingdom, who finished fourth.
The bigger picture is this: Victoire Pisa is the second consecutive Japanese Guineas winner for his sire from two crops. Last year, the stallion’s Unrivaled won the race, while his son Logi Universe won the Tokyo Yushum, the Group 1 Japanese Derby equivalent. So, to date, that’s three classic winners from two crops, with Japanese Guineas out of the way but the Derby, Oaks, and St. Leger still to come. Neo Universe, by the way, won the Japanese 2000 Guineas and Derby in 2003.
Shadai bred Victoire Pisa, while Northern Farm bred Unrivaled and Logi Universe. Shadai is operated by Teruya Yoshida, the oldest of the three sons of the late Zenya Yoshida—original master of Shadai and the man responsible for importing Sunday Silence, and before him, leading sire Northern Taste. Upon Mr. Z. Yoshida’s death, Teruya inherited Shadai, while his brother Katsumi—the middle son—operates Northern Farm, which bred Rose Kingdom, the champion 2-year-old of last year.
What’s common in the pedigrees of all three Neo Universe classic winners is inbreeding to either Halo (sire of Sunday Silence) or Hail to Reason (sire of Halo). Two of the three also have Machaivellian (out of a Halo mare and from the family of Northern Dancer) in their pedigrees, and two of the three have plenty of Northern Dancer in the bottom sides of their pedigrees, too. Because Halo and Northern Dancer are from the same female family of Almahmoud, there’s a buildup of this powerful family in the backgrounds of all three classic winners, too.
(View the race by clicking here.)