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Celebrations spread all the way to Japan

When Matamata stud master John Thompson arrived in Hokkaido last Saturday evening he was greeted with the excellent news that Jungle Pocket – the Japanese-owned stallion he stood at Rich Hill Stud – had left his first New Zealand Stakes winner with Pocket Diary winning the Listed Oceanz Seafood Northland Breeders' Stakes that afternoon.

And what made the news, delivered to him on arrival by Shadai's PR representative, even more exciting was that it was bred by his hosts in Japan, his Japanese partners Jungle Pocket Pty Limited in association with his Rich Hill Stud.

"We have been breeding about 10 mares in partnership for a few years now and this is our first stakes winner which is really exciting, and it's great that I am here in Japan to celebrate with the connections from Shadai," said John Thompson, the NZTBA Treasurer when speaking from Japan.

Jungle Pocket Pty Limited is the Australasian business arm of Katsumi Yoshida's Northern Farm – a division of Shadai Farm, the owners of Jungle Pocket. Shadai Farm is owned by the three Yoshida brothers Teruya the eldest, Katsumi the middle and Heruya the youngest.

"Katsumi is probably best known in this part of the world as the owner of Delta Blues and Pop Rock, the two Japanese horses who took out the quinella in the 2006 Melbourne Cup. It was his passion for racing and breeding in Australia that gave him the desire to mastermind the plan to win the Melbourne Cup."

"Pocket Diary is the first foal of a Desert Prince mare Dear Diary, an Irish bred mare who won in Japan. The way the partnership works is that Katsumi selects a number of mares to send to the Southern Hemisphere to breed. I inspect them up in Japan and decide which individuals I think will work. I look at the conformation and the pedigrees I think will work best down here and we go from there.

"With the progeny being sold to a predominantly Australian buying bench I have to look at bloodlines and pedigrees with European performance that is easily recognisable in this part of the world.

"Dear Diary fits into this category - she is by Desert Prince, a son of Green Desert and we all know how well they have worked in the Southern Hemisphere, and most of the black type in her family is either Irish or American. I felt she would cross well with Jungle Pocket."

Jungle Pocket (Tony Bin-Dance Charmer, by Nureyev) stood at stud in New Zealand for four years before EI stranded him in Australia and prevented him from returning last year, and again this year with the intensified quarantine requirements. His oldest progeny in New Zealand are rising four-year-olds with his youngest who will be yearlings next month. He has also enjoyed success in Japan recently leaving the Japanese Oaks winner Tall Poppy.

Pocket Diary was a $50,000 yearling at the 2007 Select Yearling Sale at Karaka, his full sister was passed in this year.

"We are quite pleased now that we kept the filly as she is a full sister to a stakes winner, and hopefully now this mare may be elevated to Premier. She has a lovely Zenno Rob Roy yearling to sell this summer and is in foal to Pentire.

"The Yoshidas leave the matings to me to plan, naturally we try and use the stallions that are associated with Shadai, but last year with EI preventing Jungle Pocket and Zeno Rob Roy coming down, we supported a lot more local studs.

"Dear Diary went to Pentire but as you know there is only a certain type of mare that suits him, so we sent mares to Perfectly Ready, Fast and Famous and Darci Brahma. Once again we will be looking to support the local market this season with out the Shadai horses.

"We have some exciting young horses coming through from this partnership and we are confident there will be more winners to come," concluded Thompson.


- Michelle Saba