Spending time in Japan over the next week promises to be a fascinating experience. After arriving in Sapporo late last night, I can’t wait to explore some of the major farms. It was great to be picked up at the airport by the ever punctual Mick Buckley, who has been general manager at Paca Paca Farm for the last two years. In the year of all things Triple Crown, it should be pointed out that Mick has the unique distinction of having completed the Irish National Stud course, the Kentucky Equine Management Internship, and Darley Flying Start. Not a bad foundation for future success. Paca Paca Farm, owned by Irishman Harry Sweeney since 2000, has made significant inroads over the last few years. This is particularly impressive in a country often bound to tradition, where foreign ownership/participation can be extremely tricky. Harry has overcome numerous obstacles and established Paca Paca as a major player, highlighted by breeding this year’s Japanese Derby winner, Deep Brillante.
|Paca Paca yearlings greet the rising sun. Gary King photo.|
Perhaps, Japanese racing’s finest hour came last year when Victoire Pisa and Transcend dominated a competitive renewal of the G1 Dubai World Cup. Seeing a JPN duel at Meydan, just weeks after the country experienced a devastating earthquake, must have been extremely emotional for all concerned. It was poignant when jockey Mirco Demuro touched the black band on his right arm as he crossed the line.
|The facilities at Paca Paca. Gary King photo|