Yulong’s Millions

Zhang Yuesheng’s Victorian-based operation ends three-day Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale with $33 million spend

Yulong closed out its extraordinary Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale buying spree by adding a second member of the Sunshine In Paris family trilogy of fillies and mares to sell this week, as the Group 1 winner’s three-quarter sister Macroura (Snitzel) topped the final Gold Coast session at $1.5 million.

Trade at the three-day broodmare auction surpassed $107 million, the turnover helped by three milliondollar in-foal mares sold at the Bundall-based complex yesterday and the $33.466 million spent across this week by Yulong founder Zhang Yuesheng, a figure which smashed his own $29 million outlay at the 2022 National Broodmare Sale. 

Zhang took home the most expensive mare of the week in three-time Group 1 winner Forbidden Love (All Too Hard) for $4.1 million, as well as $3.2 million mare Snapdancer (Choisir) and Isotope (Deep Field) ($2.3 million) – who all sold on Tuesday – and yesterday Group 3 winner Macroura was added to his 60-strong haul of purchases. 

A three-quarter sister to Surround Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) winner Sunshine In Paris (Invader), who made $3.9 million during Tuesday’s opening session, Macroura will join her dam Zenaida (Zabeel) ($1.4 million) as a member of the Yulong broodmare band after being offered through the Vinery Stud draft early on day three.

Agent James Harron purchased Sunshine In Paris as a racing and breeding proposition, with the trio of horses netting $6.8 million for the week.

Macroura, one of just six mares in foal to the now pensioned Newgate Farm stallion Deep Field (Northern Meteor), was always going to garner interest given the popularity of her family this week and the scarcity of pregnant mares in foal to Hong Kong’s champion stallion.

“It’s great to secure her after buying her mother yesterday and we’ll try and build the family with her,” Yulong’s chief operating officer Sam Fairgray said. “We’ll keep breeding and try and keep the fillies and see how we go.”

Macroura was sold by Vinery on behalf of A List Stud’s Chris Lee.

“We were fairly optimistic coming in [to the sale], but she exceeded our expectations, which was good but that’s what the sale is doing at the moment with mares of that quality,” Vinery Stud’s general manager Peter Orton said.

“Just speaking to Sam, they’re really keen on the family and building the family up. She’s a beautiful mare and she’ll be a lovely one to join their ranks.”

A List Stud paid $420,000 for Macroura at the 2021 Inglis Chairman’s Sale.

“He’s put a lot into the game and it’s good to see him get a little bit more out,” Orton said of Lee’s level of investment.

“He’s been buying more over the last few years, which is good for everybody, and it’s good to see him get a result.”

Twin Hills Stud principal Olly Tait, who sold the dam of Group 3 winner and leading Stradbroke Handicap (Gr 1, 1400m) contender Yellow Brick (The Mission) to Yulong for $775,000 soon after Macroura went through the ring, said the market was still “pretty healthy”.

Tait said it was the right time to part with Magical Mist (High Chaparral), who is also the dam of stakes winners Ballistic Boy (Smart Missile) and Splendiferous (Pride Of Dubai), and was sold in foal to Maurice (Screen Hero).

In conjunction with G1 Goldmine, Tait paid $60,000 for Magical Mist, who was in foal to Performer (Exceed And Excel) at the time of the 2020 National Sale.

“It’s a lot of money, she’s a beautiful mare, she’s given us so much excitement since we’ve owned her,” Tait said.

“Splendiferous became a Group 3 winner after we bought the mare and Yellow Brick has become the horse that he has in the last 12 months, and looks like he’s going to do even better things.”

The sale of Magical Mist was not the first successful trade Tait has pulled off, having bought Lipari (Redoute’s Choice) for $170,000 in 2017 and reselling her two years later for $1.6 million on the back of the emergence of her sons; the Australian Derby (Gr 1, 2400m) winner Levendi (Pierro) and Group 3 winner Marcel From Madrid (Sepoy).

Twin Hills also featured on the buyers’ sheet this week, signing for six mares at a cost of $915,000.

“As everyone always says at a horse sale, it’s always hard to buy the one you want and there’s areas of the market that are quite thin, but it’s pretty healthy,” Tait said.

“I thought the clearance rate was ok, the horses are making a lot of money. 

“We are trying to buy mares and we get knocked out on more than we actually buy, so it’s a decent market.”

Zoustar in line for Nomothaj 

Antony Thompson has an enviable strike rate of turning milliondollar mares into moneymaking investments ($1.2 million purchase Bonny O’Reilly (O’Reilly) has netted $3.63 million from her first three foals) and the Widden principal was back at the table again yesterday.

Maribyrnong Trial Stakes (Listed, 1000m) winner Nomothaj (Snitzel), who is in foal to I Am Invincible, was knocked down to Thompson and agent David Redvers for $1.2 million.

That 2017 Maribyrnong Trial Stakes won by Nomothaj is memorable for a lot of reasons for Thompson, with the race also featuring debutant Sunlight (Zoustar), who would finish third that day, before a sparkling multiple Group 1-winning career. 

International outfit Gandharvi paid $1.1 million for Nomothaj in foal to Exceed And Excel (Danehill) at last year’s National sale before sending her to Australia’s premier stallion.

She was offered yesterday through the Sledmere Stud draft, while her Exceed And Excel weanling filly remains at Royston and Treen Murphy’s Scone farm.

Zoustar is the likely fourth mating for Nomothaj, who is a daughter of Maribyrnong Plate (Gr 3, 1000m) winner Real Stolle (Elusive Quality).

“We’ve been trying hard [to buy mares this week] and, for mine, she was one that we really had our heart set on. We’re thrilled to have her,” Thompson said.

“I’ve seen the foal back at Sledmere and we were there that day when she debuted and beat Sunlight.

“She stuck clearly in my mind that day. We tried to buy her before and were disappointed we missed.”

Million-dollar mare Kapralova is no ugly duckling

The unwritten rule is that an unraced sister to a Group 1-winning mare can often be the ugly duckling, but according to James Beester, that’s not the case with Kapralova (War Front), who made $1 million early in the final session of the National Broodmare Sale.

She was one of 15 mares to hit $1 million or more during the sale.

Offered through Julian Blaxland’s Blue Sky Premium Consignment in foal to Juddmonte’s champion sire Frankel (Galileo) and bought by Bester, the US-bred mare Kapralova is a sister to the dual Grade 1-winning Avenge, Grade 3 winner Liguria and a half-sister to the Listed winner Lira (Giant’s Causeway). 

On the 2023 Australian breeding stock market, Bester was confident Kapralova was well bought on behalf of an undisclosed client.

“Normally when one sees these full sisters to very good horses in-foal to Frankel, or that quality of stallion, one is disappointed by the physique. Often they are the weak sister or the ugly ducklings, but this was far from the case here,” Bester said.

“I found out that this filly, herself, had shown a lot of ability but cracked a knee early in training.

“She had the physique of one that should have run and, of course, her full sister won a Grade 1, her full brother won a Grade 3 and she wasn‘t just the poor relation.

“She had the physique and the action and she moved very well, so I thought she was a very good play.”

Bester added: “Of all the [mares in foal to] Frankel, she had the strongest first dam and I thought one of the best physiques of those in foal to Frankel.”

Agent Sheamus Mills was also active yesterday, purchasing the sister to Widden Victoria’s dual Group 1-winning stallion Russian Camelot (Camelot) for $850,000.

Russian Camilla, a juvenile winner in Britain, was sold yesterday through the Coolmore draft in foal to Frankel, having previously been purchased by Avenue Bloodstock at the 2021 Tattersalls December Mares Sale for 300,000gns with the plan to sell her in Australia.

Mills said it made commercial sense to target mares in foal to Frankel.

“There’s a real appetite here for Frankel and the pedigree (of Russian Camilla) is pretty well known in this part of the world,” Mills said.

“With the number of people breeding to Frankel – he’s started to get southern hemisphere-full books these days – and I think his star will only rise down here because he’s going to have a lot more horses on the track and we’ve seen his strike-rate is very, very good.”

The agent indicated that Juddmonte was poised to increase the southern hemisphere service fee for Frankel, so buying mares in foal put him one step ahead of the game. 

“They haven’t announced his service fee yet, but they tell me it’s going up as far as southern hemisphere covers go, so we’re trying to buy a pregnancy instead of paying the service fee,” Mills said.

“Myself, like others, try to find those nice horses in the northern hemisphere, but they’re a lot harder to get hold of at the July Sale at Tatts, they’ve probably got a few less numbers than usual, and you really have to do your homework. 

“As long as his service fee stays reasonable I’m sure there’ll be plenty of Australians still looking for pregnancies.”

Mills also went to $800,000 yesterday for Murchison (More Than Ready), a winning half-sister to Coolmore Classic (Gr 1, 1500m) winner Steps In Time (Danehill Dancer), who is in foal to Stay Inside (Extreme Choice).

The agent was acting for Highgrove Stud’s Ron Gilbert when signing for Murchison.

“We were just doing the research document on her pedigree and there’s fillies everywhere, both here and in New Zealand, in foal to all the stallions you want to see on a page,” he said.

“There’s plenty of black type already on the page and hopefully there’s room for a little bit more because there’s plenty going on and I guess that’s the sort of families that you want to get involved in.

“It is a family that so many good farms have got a bit of, so I think there’s a good chance of upside.”

Yulong was not the only operation to break records at this week’s National Broodmare Sale, with vendor Newgate Farm selling 58 mares for $27,358,500, the highest turnover earned by any consignor in Magic Millions’ history, as the Henry Field-led operation achieved back-to-back leading vendor titles.

Coolmore’s Tom Magnier, who on Tuesday paid $3 million for Piping Hot (More Than Ready), the dam of dual Group 1-winning sprinter Coolangatta (Written Tycoon), was the second leading buyer with $6.1 million spent across three mares.

Belmont Bloodstock’s Damon Gabbedy bought 15 yearlings on behalf of clients, while Newgate Bloodstock reinvested on 11 mares and Kingstar Farm’s Matthew Sandblom also bought 11 mares at the sale.

The aggregate of $107,130,000, the average of $217,744 and the median of $100,000 were all down compared with the past two years, as was the clearance rate of 77 per cent.

However, it was not unexpected in the current market conditions and Magic Millions managing director Barry Bowditch last night said the turnover generated across the past three days was in line with expectations.

“Ideally, we would have liked to sell a few more at the low-to-mid end, but I think the top end made up for that from the gross perspective, and it’s our job to continue to increase the clearance rate in the hours and days to come,” Bowditch said.

“I think we’ve got a very motivated group of vendors who are willing to meet the market, so I think in the days to come there will be many a horse transacted and that’ll add to the market.”

Bowditch acknowledged Yulong’s contribution to the sale and Zhang’s investment in the wider Australian thoroughbred industry.

He said: “Sixty horses at any end of the market is a huge number to take home, let alone at all ends and very much so at the top – $33 million is a big go.

“Mr Zhang has got some amazing broodmares to breed to his stallions for this year and in years to come.

“It’s very exciting for Australia, and it’s exciting for Victoria, and the whole industry’s cheering Yulong on for their successes in the years to come.”

On Newgate as a vendor, Bowditch said it was an amazing effort.

“They’re a well-oiled machine, they’re marketing is exceptional and, from their perspective and their clients’ perspective, I’m sure they’re very happy with the results they’ve achieved,” he said.

“Congratulations to Newgate, they’re a very important component to all our major sales here on the Gold Coast.

“They’re a two-time leading yearling vendor and, for the second year in a row, they’ve been the biggest seller at the National Broodmare Sale.”

The Magic Millions National Yearling Sale will be held next Tuesday and Wednesday, with the National Racehorse Sale to be also held on May 31.

Sale statistics – overall

2023 2022 2021

Catalogued 725 745 784

Offered 641 645 665

Sold 492 (77%) 542 (84%) 574 (86%)

Aggregate $107,130,000 (-13%) $123,744,500 $117,324,000

Average $217,744 (-5%) $228,311 $204,397

Median $100,000 (-29%) $140,000 $120,000

Top  Lot $4.1 million $4 million $3.2 million


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