36 24 17
The famous white racehorse family of Buchiko has another member about to start at the races in Japan.
Last season Buchiko won three races and was second twice from 11 starts. Now, it is the turn of her full brother, Shironii, who will have his first start this month.
The two-year-old doesn’t have the same striking spotted markings as his big sister, but looks very much like a few-spot appaloosa, with dark pigment showing through his white coat in several places. But he’s likely to capture the hearts of Japanese racing fans with his stunning blue eyes.
There are several white full and half siblings in the family, but by far the most striking is Buchiko, who is registered as white but has dark chestnut “medicine hat” markings on her head, and jagged chestnut dapples spots on her body.
The white colouring is courtesy of a specific gene mutation, the KIT gene, which plays an important role in colour during embryonic development, causing an absence of melanocytes in depigmented skin areas.
The family is full thoroughbred, being by the Kingmambo sire King Kamehameha and out of the Sunday Silence mare Shirayukihime, who has passed on her white coloring to all of her foals, except for one grey offspring by a grey stallion. Only Buchiko and full sister Marble Cake have the spotted markings.
» More on Buchiko, “the new spotted wonder”.