Champion sprinter, Fine Needle, has been retired from racing and will join the Darley roster in Japan in 2019, standing at a fee of ¥2.5 million. Fine Needle enjoyed an outstanding year on the racetrack in Japan in 2018, winning all four of his starts. Each and every one of those races was at Group level (including two Group Ones), making him the first sprinter in the history of the JRA to win four Group races in the same year. He opened his campaign with victory in the Group 3 Silk Road Stakes, before becoming his sire Admire Moon’s second winner of the Group 1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen in a thrilling finish. He added a second win at the highest level to his record in September, landing the Group 1 Sprinters Stakes.
In doing so, he became the first horse since Lord Kanaloa (sire of the talented Almond Eye in his first crop) to complete the Japanese Sprint double. Fine Needle is out of the multiple Group winner Needlecraft, herself a daughter of Group 1 Phoenix Stakes second Sharp Point. Admire Moon, a son of End Sweep, has continued the family tradition of producing speed since retiring to stud, siring fellow Group One winning sprinter Seiun Kosei, plus Group 2 Centaur Stakes victor Hakusan Moon. Harry Sweeney, president of Darley Japan, said: “We are really excited to have Fine Needle standing in Japan, particularly as he was the first Group One winner to carry the Godolphin royal blue silks here. He gave us many great days on the racecourse and we strongly believe that he will become a superb successor to Admire Moon. We look forward to introducing him to breeders in Japan.”