No Nay Never’s first runner in Japan, the Yoshito Yahagi-trained Unicorn Lion (3c No Nay Never- Muravka, by High Chaparral), made a winning debut at Kyoto on Sunday.
There was strong market support for the Lion Race Horse Co-owned colt and he was sent off favourite under Mirco Demuro, who rode him to break well for the six furlong contest. Chasing the leaders, he took the lead in the straight and held off a late challenge by Hokko Mevius to score by half a length.
Bred by China Horse Club under their Desert Star Phoenix banner, Unicorn Lion became the highest-priced yearling from the first crop of No Nay Never when selling from Baroda and Colbinstown Studs for 850,000gns at the Tattersalls Book 1 Yearling Sale. Bought by JS Company, his full-sister sold to Broadhurst Agency for €130,000 at the Goffs November Foal Sale later that same year.
Unicorn Lion is a half-brother to top-class juvenile The Wow Signal (Starspangledbanner) and Listed winner Miss Infinity (Rock Of Gibraltar), who also finished third in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes. Unicorn Lion brings No Nay Never’s number of first crop winners to 34, with the likes of Group 1 Middle Park Stakes hero Ten Sovereigns seeing their champion freshman sire standing for €100,000 in 2019.