Zero hour for Zenno Rob Roy

Former NZ and Australian shuttler Zenno Rob Roy will create history this Sunday if his unbeaten colt Pelusa wins the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby).  His filly Saint Emilion was a G1 winner of the Japanese Oaks (Yushun Himba) last Sunday.  

Pelusa (3c Zenno Rob Roy – Argentine Star by Candy Stripes) was a 2000m winner on debut in Tokyo last November and returned this year to score over the same course and distance in February.  The Shadai bred colt completed a hat-trick in the Wakaba Stakes (2000m) at Hanshin in March and then graduated to G2 level with a four length victory in the Derby Trial (Hai Aoba Sho) over 2400m in Tokyo on May 1.

Pelusa is out of an unraced sister to Different (Candy Stripes), an Argentine G1 winning mare who also won at the elite level in Hollywood (Beverly Hills Hcp) and Keeneland (Spinster Stakes).

Zenno Rob Roy (Sunday Silence) dominated last week’s Japanese Oaks (Yushun Himba) siring three of the first four home.  

Saint Emilion (3f Zenno Rob Roy – Moteck by Last Tycoon) and Apapane (King Kamehameha) crossed the line locked together for the first Group 1 dead-heat in JRA history.  Zenno Rob Roy fillies Agnes Waltz and Animate Bio finished third and fourth respectively.

Jockey Norihiro Yokoyama, who also partnered Zenno Rob Roy, drew parallels between the Oaks winner and her sire.  “Saint Emilion is a lot like him from the colour of her coat to her facial features – especially looking at her from the saddle.”

Trainer Masaaki Koga also commented on the likeness.  “She reminds me so much of Zenno Rob Roy,” he explained.  “She has a knack for racing.  She breaks well and can position herself anywhere.”

Saint Emilion was bred at Shadai Farm and is owned by Teruya Yoshida.  The Yoshida family shuttled Zenno Rob Roy to New Zealand in 2006.  His first and only season at Java Lodge coincided with Japan’s domination of that year’s Melbourne Cup by Delta Blues and Pop Rock.

Zenno Rob Roy was booked to fly to the Matamata stud again in 2007 but was stranded at Melbourne’s quarantine station due to the E.I. crisis.  Victorian studmaster Mike Becker came to the rescue and the horse was re-routed to Independent Stallions where he covered 33 mares at short notice.

Paul Moroney took a shine to his first southern crop at the 2009 Karaka yearling sales buying three lots including the $80,000 colt from Danasinga mare Minelli.  Offered by Rich Hill Stud, he has since been named Renegade Arrow and is bred on the same Sunday Silence – Danehill cross as G1 winning filly Sunday Joy.

The Zenno Rob Roy yearlings conceived at Independent Stallions were in demand at the 2010 majors.  Top-price was the Karaka colt from Full of Laughter that Rich Hill sold for $190,000 to Cambridge agent Michael Wallace.

Full of Laughter is a British bred Danehill mare and she foaled winners by End Sweep and Swept Overboard in Japan before arriving here in August 2007.  After being covered at Independent Stallions, she was shipped to New Zealand in July 2008.

Lee Freedman bought a Zenno Rob Roy colt for $62,000 at the Inglis Melbourne Premier and Kazumi Yoshida purchased a Zenno Rob Roy filly for $58,000 at the Melbourne Autumn Sale.

As expected, his first Kiwi bred juveniles are anything but precocious types.  Only four have been to the races so far including Rocks of Bawn who was runner-up at Tauranga last month for trainer Max Baker.

His Japanese bred youngsters are also taking time to mature.  He sired 19 juvenile winners in 2009 and has already doubled that tally this year.  To prove a point, there are no juveniles among his 39 winners in Japan so far this term.

Zenno Rob Roy was Japan’s 2004 Horse of the Year after completing a hat-trick of Group 1 wins in the Tenno Sho (2000m), Japan Cup (2400m) and Arima Kinen (2500m).  He defeated Delta Blues in the middle leg.  In 2005, he was allocated a Timeform rating of 126 after travelling to England to finish a neck second to Electrocutionist (Red Ransom) in the Juddmonte International at York.

Earlier in his career, Zenno Rob Roy won the 2003 Derby Trial but was beaten a half-length by fellow Sunday Silence colt Neo Universe in the Japanese Derby a month later.

Fast forward seven years and they will have the two favourites in the 2010 Japanese Derby.  Hardest for Pelusa to beat will be Victoire Pisa (Neo Universe) who is a last-start winner of the Japanese 2000 Guineas.