Almond Eye showcases an opportunity for breeders

December 1, 2020

The Japan Cup of Sunday last proved as exciting as it had promised, with Almond Eye (Lord Kanaloa {JPN}) holding a sensational field at bay for her final lifetime start. The five-year-old mare went out with glorious indignation, capping a 15-start career with 11 total wins, nine of which were group ones, and close to AUD$25 million in earnings.

Almond Eye joins Enable on the list of high achievers retiring to stud in 2020. The Japanese mare has an enviable pedigree, her fourth dam being no less than American blue-hen Best In Show. Much attention was given to which stallion she might meet in 2021, and it was welcome news for Spendthrift Australia when the likely candidate proved Shadai’s rising sire Epiphaneia (Symboli Kris S).

Epiphaneia entered stud in 2016, and among his first-crop graduates is Daring Tact, third behind Almond Eye and Contrail in last weekend’s Japan Cup. This stallion keeps good company, joining no less than Deep Impact and Lord Kanaloa in producing 30 or more two-year-old winners in Japan. But, closer to home, Epiphaneia (pictured below) is closely related to Spendthrift’s exciting freshman stallion, Overshare.

Epiphaneia has sired over 30 2YO winners in Japan

Overshare (I Am Invincible) stands at Spendthrift for $11,000, an ideal opportunity for Australian breeders to tap into an important sireline. However, Overshare’s damline is just as important. He is the second foal from Redoute’s Choice broodmare Savannah’s Choice, who herself is a three-time winning half-sister to Cesario, Champion 3YO filly in Japan in 2005 and the dam of no less than Epiphaneia, Saturnalia (Lord Kanaloa) and Leontes (King Kamehameha).

Each of these three is a group-one winner in Japan, proving Cesario one of the most valuable assets in Japanese bloodstock. Leontes, who uptook stud duties in 2017, is currently fourth on Japan’s first-season sire table, an impressive start for the 2015 JRA Award-winning Best Two-Year-Old Colt. On its own, this would be enough for Overshare. However, another half-sister to Savannah’s Choice, Kirovskaya, is the dam of two-time group-three winner Irithea. Without question, this is one of the best-producing families in the stud book.

From these angles, Overshare is punching heavily into his freshman season at the sales. Retired from the track in 2018, the stallion was a Gr3 winner of the Zeditave Stakes at Caulfield and listed McKenzie Stakes at Moonee Valley.

Overshare was a $320,000 yearling from Inglis’s Easter sale in 2016. If history is anything to go by, he is treading a similar path to his sire. I Am Invincible stood his first four seasons for the same fee as Overshare before commanding his current $209,000. In fact, grandsire Invincible Spirit (Green Desert) boasts similarly humble beginnings.

The weekend’s results in Japan have cast a brilliant spotlight on Overshare, who offers Australian breeders a side-door into one of the best families in modern racing.