Japan’s most Australian sire, Lord Kanaloa

If you do not follow international racing, you may be forgiven for not having heard the name LORD KANALOA. But there’s every chance you’ve heard the names of at least one of his Group-winning progeny – Almond Eye, Danon Smash and Yulong’s very own Tagaloa. 

Lord Kanaloa is an impressive looking athlete. Standing at 16.1hands, he is a ball of muscle with a conformation that is hard to fault. He had 13 wins in his 19-start illustrious career, and never finished out of the placings. Seven of those wins were at Grade/Group 1 level. 

Bred by Japan’s K I Farm at JRHA Select Foal Sales, Lord Kanaloa won on debut as a two-year-old in 2010. Finishing in second place on his three-year-old debut, he followed that with a 3.5 length win. His third start was at a mile but after finishing second again, he reverted to 1200m and won his following three starts, including the Grade 3 weight-for-age Keihan Cup. 

His 4YO season was campaigned exclusively over 1200m, where he won six times. His wins included the Grade 1 Sprinters Stakes in a course record time of 1:06.7s, and the Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin Racecourse. His competition included locals Lucky Nine and Flying Blue, fellow Japanese runner Curren Chan and Australia’s Sea Siren. In amazing fashion and with a two-and-a-half length victory, Lord Kanaloa became the first Japanese horse to with the Hong Kong Sprint. 

After the race his trainer, Takayuki Yasuda, said that Lord Kanaloa would be “a pioneer for Japanese sprinters” and could compete anywhere in the world.

In his final year on the track, his 5YO season, he had six starts for five wins (including one at 1400m and one at 1600m) and second. He repeated his wins in the Sprinter Stakes and the Hong Kong Sprint (by an impressive five lengths) and ended the year rated as one of the best racehorses in the world. 

Awarded the Japanese Racing Authority (JRA) Award for Japanese Horse of the Year as a 3YO, he also received the award for Best Sprinter or Miler as a 4YO and 5YO. Upon his retirement, he commenced stud duties at Shadai Stallion Station and was inducted into the JRA Hall of Fame in 2018.

Mark Player who was the Head of International Races, Sales and Development at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, was in this role when Lord Kanaloa won the Hong Kong International Sprint twice.

Lord Kanaloa proved with his two performances in Hong Kong, and aligned with the strong performances in Japan, that he had the ability to compete in the strong international races.

He worked particularly well throughout his preparation in Hong Kong for each appearance. He was a joy to watch in the morning and his quality and toughness was clear for everyone to see.

Mark Player

By Japanese Derby winner King Kamehameha, Lord Kanaloa’s sire was also one of the best colts of his generation and comes from the Mr Prospector sireline. His dam, Lady Blossom, is a Storm Cat (USA) mare and descendant of Somethingroyal, the dam of Secretariat (USA). His damline is also blessed with Northern Dancer blood. 

As Japan’s highest priced stallion and ranked second on the Japanese Leading Sire list last season, he currently stands for JPY15,000,000 (approx. AU$184,830). 

Between 2018 to 2020, Lord Kanaloa’s progeny have won over 100 races in Japan. He has sired 5 individual Grade/Group 1 winners, with 2020 world Champion mare in the TRC Global Horses Rankings and 9-time G1 winning Almond Eye coming from his first crop and easily his most prominent success. Danon Smash emulated his sire to win the 2020 Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint, while Yulong’s very own Tagaloa secured his trainers’ first Australian Group 1 win when he claimed victory in the 2020 G1 Blue Diamond Stakes. 

Lord Kanaloa has had 671 starters across 9 countries, for 446 winners, 29 of those stakes winners, and earnings of over AU$180million. 

“He was a wonderful horse to watch and in both starts in Hong Kong he displayed an incredible will to win.”

Mark Player

In his first crop at stud (2015/16), he sired 165 runners for 129 winners (78.1%), 17 at stakes level. His two-year-old numbers are equally as impressive. With 422 2YO runners, he chalked up 118 winners (27.96%) for 140 wins and 55 placings. Eight of those were stakes horses. 

Lord Kanaloa has been described by many as the most Australian of Japanese sires.

He is a magnificent specimen, and a really strong sprinting type. He was not a horse you’d expect to see from Japan because they produce such wonderful stayers, however he was trained in such a unique way at the time that he proved to be a superior sprinter.”

Mark Player

Not only does he physically resemble many of our Australian champion sires, his stud success also stacks up against our own. 

Lord Kanaloa’s career can be closely compared to fellow Group 1-winning sprinter and champion sire Snitzel. Competing in all of Australia’s Eastern states, Snitzel was a star at the short distances. From his 15 starts, he secured 7 wins, 6 at black-type level, and four placings.  

With progeny racing in 13 countries, Snitzel’s first crop at stud (2007/08) produced 61 runners with 50 winners (81.96%) for 174 wins. Eight of these were stakes horses. As two-year-olds, he has had 272 winners with 373 wins from 720 runners (37.7%) and 62 placegetters. 

Lord Kanaloa’s Tagaloa enters his first season at stud this year, as part of Yulong Stud’s stallion roster. Tagaloa is the first son of his sire to stand in Australia, representing a major opportunity for breeders.

Tagaloa epitomises the modern Australian stallion – he’s good looking, a G1 Blue Diamond winner at two, trained on at three and is a complete outcross for Danehill-line mares.

His Blue Diamond win was the second-fastest time ever by a 2-year-old over the track and distance since August 2007. Trained by Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young, he returned as a three-year-old to win the G3 CS Hayes Stake in an exceptional performance, running a faster last 400m than G1 Lightning Stakes winner Nature Strip, on the same day. 

Tagaloa is the first foal out of winning mare Vasilissa (Jpn), whose sire Heart’s Cry (Jpn) is best known in this part of the world for producing the breathtaking Cox Plate winner Lys Gracieux (Jpn). 

Winning three times at 1000m, 1200m and 1400m, and earning over $1.4million, Tagaloa has all the hallmarks to follow his father’s impressive career at stud.