MMGC 2022Yulong

January 3, 2022Glen Latham
Hungry Heart

The rise and rise of Yulong at the top end of the international market continued unabated through 2021, and if the outstanding draft they will take to the Gold Coast is anything to go by, 2022 looks likely to be just as prosperous for the farm and their clients. We spoke with Yulong’s Nominations and Sales Manager Troy Stephens about what buyers can expect from the Victorian farm when they get to the Gold Coast. 

When one considers the investment in bloodstock and facilities made by Mr Yuesheng Zhang, nobody could begrudge he and his Yulong Investments the success that has followed, particularly over the past twelve months in both hemispheres. Lucky Vega, now covering his first book at the stud’s Mangalore base, added a second in the Royal Ascot St James’s Palace Stakes G1 to his facile Phoenix Stakes G1 win at two where he left the likes of European Champion St Mark’s Basilica and the G1 Prix Jean Prat winner Laws Of Indices toiling in his wake, while on home soil Hungry Heart proved to be a class act. 

Troy explained the opportunity had been there for buyers to have Hungry Heart race in their colours, “We want to be a leading commercial operation and sell top quality, world class athletes. It’s very satisfying for Mr. Zhang and our team here at Yulong to see Hungry Heart, who we raised and offered in our first ever Magic Millions draft, go on to not only win two G1’s but be crowned Champion Three-Year-Old Filly in Australia last season. We hope this gives buyers confidence in the way we raise and prepare our horses here at Yulong.”

And Yulong will offer tremendous opportunities again on the Gold Coast in January. Their list comprises multiple offerings by the crème of the local stallion market and a trio by international star Lope De Vega, all of which are sure to be popular. But for Yulong, Troy, and one particular stallion, the sale has special significance. “It’s a big year for all our team here at Yulong with our foundation stallion Grunt’s first yearlings to be offered at Magic Millions. With 15 Grunts catalogued it’s a great representation for the stallion and
all told we will be presenting a draft of 33 yearlings which we are very proud to be offering.”

We asked Troy to recount Grunt’s career.
“By Champion sire O’Reilly, Grunt was quick to impress on the track, his only start as a two year-old resulting in a third to eventual G1 Thousand Guineas winner Aloisia and G2 placed Salsamor. Grunt broke his maiden impressively at the beginning of his second campaign when starting a four race winning streak. Showing his talent, the third of those victories came in the G3 CS Hayes Stakes followed by success in the G1 Australian Guineas at only his fifth career start. Grunt returned as a four year-old to impressively win the G1 Makybe Diva Stakes by two lengths at Flemington, beating eight G1 winners in the process.

He retired with a Timeform rating of 123 as a four year-old, ranking him as elite among his generation. We couldn’t be happier with the types he is leaving, and we are really looking forward to showcasing them up on the Coast.” 

With a draft with such depth of quality singling out individual horses is incredibly difficult. But when pushed Troy came up with four, led off by lot 860, a Grunt filly, the first foal from the five time winning stakes placed Dane Shadow mare Cinematic. “Grunt has really put a lot a quality and strength into this filly, she has a beautiful shape, and I can see her being popular among buyers. She looks like a real trainer’s filly. O’Reilly has worked particularly well with Success Express having produced 36 stakes winners, 24 Group winners and 8 individual G1 winners including Probabeel, Mo’unga and Amerelinha. The cross is currently running at 73% winners to runners.” 

On pedigree lot 25, the I Am Invincible filly out of Extremely, looks one of the picks of the sale. “Extremely has been a very special mare having produced the G1 Blue Diamond and AJ Moir Stakes’ winner, and now sire sensation, Extreme Choice. We sold a full brother to this filly last year at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale to Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr for $550,000. Speaking to Michael Kent this week he reported on the colt “A nice, well-balanced colt that has a very trainable demeanour and we really like him. We have put him away for the Autumn and we look forward to seeing him hit the track then.” We see this filly in a similar mould, she moves well, is very balanced and just looks fast. I Am Invincible crossed with Mr. Prospector (sire of her damsire Hussonet) has produced 43 stakes winners (7.6%), along with four very recent G1 winners such as Loving Gaby, On The Bubbles and 2021 Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Home Affairs.”

Finding a star amongst the colts was an unenviable task, but Troy suggested lot 544, Zoustar’s son out of Soriano as one that would stand up to a critical look. “Soriano was a terrific race mare by Savabeel and was crowned Champion Middle-Distance Horse in NZ having won two G1s and placing at Group level on a further 13 occasions. Savabeel is very quickly becoming a proven broodmare sire. He is the broodmare Sire of G1 Goodwood winner Savatoxl and the Gai Waterhouse trained G1 Flight Stakes winner, Never Been Kissed. Her Zoustar colt is a very classy, balanced individual and I see him being popular among buyers.”

Mr Zhang and Yulong have had tremendous success with the progeny of Lope De Vega, and they give the market three opportunities to again tap into his blood. Selling as lot 298, his colt out of Munees Gemini, a young daughter of Galileo’s son Australia, provides an interesting cross with there being plenty of statistical evidence supporting the argument the mating works. Said Troy “Local buyers will already be very familiar with the capabilities of Lope De Vega. From just four Southern Hemisphere crops he produced the G1 winners Gytrash, Santa Ana Lane, Vega Magic and Vega One, as well as the G2 scorers and G1 placegetters Spanish Reef and Spanish Whisper. This colt looks sharp, he’s balanced, has great strength and quality and has been a horse that had taken my eye months ago when walking through the paddocks inspecting yearlings. ”

These four yearlings are just ‘tasters’ for what lies amongst this high quality draft. Recent history tells us if we charted Yulong’s progress it would most definitely show an upward curve with the Gold Coast Sale another opportunity for buyers to join in on the ride.

Glen Latham

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