Harry Sweeney (owner of Paca Paca Farm) could not speak more highly of the local people, and was extremely complimentary of their work ethic. On a personal note, the locals have offered me a warm smile despite my poor attempts at Japanese, which is greatly appreciated. To be brutally honest, I usually just stick to the tried and tested method of talking a little louder, offering some hand signals, and relying on the able Mick Buckley (general manager of Paca Paca Farm) as a translator.
I had the pleasure of visiting Darley Japan yesterday, which is located about 30 minutes drive from Paca Paca. It probably shouldn’t take that long, but speed limits on the island are a little cautious, for want of a better word. Darley Japan had been an assortment of smaller farms until recently, but they are currently renovating a 900-plus acre piece of land. Danny Mulvihill, a fellow Kildare native, has been at the helm for the last two and a half years, and has done a tremendous amount of work in a relatively short space of time. The farm is really taking shape, and will give the operation much more flexibility and room for expansion going forward. It has not all been plane sailing for Darley in Japan, and the operation has had to overcome some well-publicized problems. Saying that, Sheikh Mohammed, Sheikh Hamdan, and HRH Princess Haya have now all secured restricted JRA licenses--with the restrictions set to lapse next year. Being able to fully compete on the prestigious JRA circuit is critical if Darley Japan is to evolve, and start developing home grown stallions. The global breeding superpower would like to expand its current roster, and having 150 horses in-training will give them ample firepower to realize this. Admire Moon, Deep Sky, Pyro et al. should expect some company in the not too-distant-future.
On a final note, the Paca Paca yearling consignment arrived at the Select Sales late Friday evening. Harry and Mick leave nothing to chance, and the farm should reap the benefits of some top-class pedigrees/physicals. A full-sister (foal) to the Japanese Derby winner, Deep Brillante, and a Sea The Stars half-brother (yearling) to Mastercraftsman should create some fireworks. Watch this space...