This week’s Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale proved beyond doubt, if there was any doubt before, that Yuesheng Zhang’s Yulong operation is a serious player in the Australian market.
He spent A$29.275 million (US$20,735,483) on 63 mares for three days on the Gold Coast.
The Chinese billionaire is determined to become one of the leading Thoroughbred breeders in the country, if not the world, and no expense has been spared in reaching that goal this week, contributing nearly 24% of revenue total of the sale.
Yulong has “honed” its racing division over the past two years, as its group of broodmares has grown by nearly 350 at Nagambie Farm, located in the heart of Thoroughbred breeding in Victoria in the fertile Goulburn Valley region.
“We tended to have a lot of horses that couldn’t go to China when they stopped shipping horses, so we kept a lot of them and tried them (in Australia), but we’ve phased them out now,” Yulong’s chief operating officer said. Officer Sam Fairgray said.
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“We try to keep the racing team tidy, have some nice fillies working, run colts from time to time, and we have a couple horses in partnership that we also bought as yearlings.
“That’s what we will continue to do with this model and focus on the stallion side.”
FRANKEL is the first stud bull in gross ($8,800,000) and the second in average price ($880,000) in @mmsnippets 2022 Gold Coast National Broodmare Sale 🇦🇺 #FrankelWatch #WorldClassTheWorldOver #NorthernStarInTheSouthernHemisphere pic.twitter.com/K8vvc1y6UG
— Juddmonte (@JuddmonteFarms) May 26, 2022
This goal was on full display during the morning session, when Yulong bought three mares in foal to the champion sire of Juddmonte. frankel for a combined A$3.89 million ($2,755,287): Fancy (Lot 1084) was the most expensive at A$1.7 million ($1,204,110).
Offered by Coolmore, which owns the majority of the big producer Cassandra Go from the extended family, an initial bid of A$1 million ($708,300) was received for Fantasy and there was intense competition from there.
“It’s a pedigree page; she has an early Frankel service date and she’s a beauty,” Fairgray said.
“If you keep making fillies out of her, you can keep making families and that’s what we want to do to strengthen our broodmare group.
“So if she had a nice colt and he won a Group 1 race, he would have serious stallion potential.”
20 years up Tycoon writes is probably the first Southern Hemisphere mating for Fantasy while also in the running for Easton’s Angel a mare purchased earlier in the session for A$1.3 million ($920,790) by Yulong.
Winner of the Neds Blue Diamond Stakes (G1) Tagaloa is also considered for Easton Angel, a juvenile and winner of five stages who is already the mother of Group 3 Lake Derg .
“What we’ve done in previous years is we’ve bought good quality mares and (Mr. Zhang) has seen those good quality mares produce good stock and sell well as yearlings, so we let’s just continue this pattern.
“Obviously with our young stallions from Tagaloa, Lucky Vega and so on, we want to give them every chance, so we add some nice mares that will give them a good opportunity at stud.”
Tim Stakemire, representing Sheikh Bin Khalifa, was seen as the underbidder for Easton Angel, who had a reserve of A$600,000 ($424,980).
“If you look at her, she looks like she would have easily been born here in Australia; she looks like a five furlong Aussie sprint mare and I think that’s what people were thinking when they took her out,” the salesman Brett Howard of Glenesk Thoroughbreds said.
“It’s also a good mating for Frankel and she just has the best temperament so I’ll be very disappointed for Yulong if they don’t get a good foal out of her and it will be a three-quarter for Lough Derg who has been placed in a group.”
Shortly after buying Easton Angel, Yulong added Great sunset (Lot 1078), another mare in foal to Frankel, for A$1.05 million ($743,715) from the Newgate shipment.
Excellent ringside sunset at the Magic Millions Gold Coast sale
Born in Europe, Excellent Sunset has been placed several times in the United States. It was covered by Frankel until Southern Hemisphere Time last September.
Of Yulong’s investment in Frankel’s foal mares, Fairgray said it was a reasoned decision.
“Obviously Frankel is flying. We’ve seen these weaners selling extremely well last week (on the Gold Coast) and Mr Zhang obviously likes Frankel with hungry heart and now (group winning filly 3 to 3 years old) my whisper and we also have another couple of Frankels who have not been tested,” he said.
Yulong also purchased 10 mares at the recent Inglis Chairman’s and Australian Broodmare Sale for up to AU$650,000 ($460,395) each.
Bowditch said the hard work of Fairgray and his team during the Magic Millions inspection period paid off in the sale.
“No one works harder on a sale than Sam Fairgray and his team and we’re thrilled to have them here,” he said.
“They are big Magic Millions customers and they have participated in the market at all levels and obviously they have had incredible success.
“Overall, there was a great diversity of buyers. When you look through it, we had close to 30 buyers who spent over $1 million, which is huge.”
Strawberry Hill Press the right key
The fourth millionaire mare sold in foal to Frankel was Key (Lot 1145), a mare placed 3rd in group by New Zealand owner Gary Harding. Buyer Duncan Grimley was relieved to be on the board after being on and off several times this year.
Grimley bought the mare for John Singleton of Strawberry Hill Stud, who bred and raced the Group 2 winner Miss Fabulassbut left it to agents Bevan Smith and Andrew Williams to sign up for the A$1.1 million ($779,130) purchase.
shout the barwho earned A$2.7 million ($1,920,808) at the President’s sale earlier this month, was the most high-profile mare Grimley tried to buy and failed.
“I had a crack in a number of them and was half a million light on them,” said Singleton’s longtime blood adviser Grimley.
“But I bought Frankel’s best foal mare in the sale. She was a good racing filly and we’ve loved Frankel for several years.
“We sent him his first Southern Hemisphere mare and we’ve sent him mares most years and I just think he’s a superstar.”
A granddaughter of the New Zealand champion mare princess blow mother of Hong Kong Group 3 winner The Wizard of Oz and the Group 3 winning 3yo filly trained by Anthony and Sam Freedman this season ArgentinaKey began his racing career in New Zealand before a brief campaign for Canberra manager Matt Dale.
She was then shipped by Harding to Europe to be covered by Frankel before returning to Scone-based Willow Park Stud who offered her on her behalf.
“We have great results with Frankel, both in the sales ring and in the race. If she has a filly we will race her and if it’s a colt we will sell her, that’s how we operate.
“I’m more keen to have Frankel with Southern Hemisphere mares than Northern Hemisphere mares, so she fits the bill.”
Grimley was interested in another Frankel-bred mare, the A$1.3m Easton Angel, earlier in the session, but he was no match for Yulong.
“You have a big player right now (Zhang) and he’s a really big fish so when you come up against him it’s tough and that’s how it is,” he said.
“Coolmore has been blown several times this week and it hasn’t happened anywhere in the world.
“It’s tough, but we’re a boutique so it’s no good without having quality on top and quantity on the bottom, that’s where we are and that’s why we do it.”
Frankel’s inbred mares fetched an average of AU$880,000 ($623,304) out of 10 lots sold.