A supporter of SA racing, Chinese billionaire Yuesheng Zhang’s plans for extending his racing empire in Australia make for fascinating reading.
Mr Zhang, who purchased 2018 Daily News winner Surcharge out of the Stuart Pettigrew yard and subsequently races him under the name of Yulong Prince, had his first winner here last month when the promising Stage Dance shed his maiden at his second start for Mike de Kock
Racing South Africa and Peter Gibson were instrumental in inviting Mr Zhang to South Africa for the 2018 National Yearling Sale.
in a recent editorial, www.breedingracing.com reported that the bottle green with white and green checked sleeves colours of Yulong Investments have quickly become a familiar, and successful, sight to Australian racing enthusiasts and punters.
The rapid growth from their first purchase in Australia in 2014, to 2019 where Yulong will stand their inaugural stallion, Gr1 Australian Guineas winner Grunt (O’Reilly-Ruqqaya, by Van Nistelrooy), with the brand also managing three properties, 180 broodmares globally, and over 200 racehorses, has seemed astounding.
But when one understands the driving force behind the business, Chinese billionaire Mr Yuesheng Zhang, the push for success becomes apparent. Zhang grew up in a small town in Mongolia, where farming life is intertwined with horses. From here to billionaire in China’s booming economy, the love of horses stayed with Zhang, and this rapidly grew into a fascination with the Thoroughbred industry.
Yulong Investments now have three properties in Victoria, and Zhang feels Victoria has the right environment to grow young Thoroughbreds. The main farm, Yulong Stud, is housed at the former Limerick Lane in Nagambie, and is currently being developed to house a ten stallion barn, and yearling preparation facilities. Yulong Farm, formerly Hillside Park, will be the main broodmare property, while their racehorses will spell and pre-train at Yulong Park in Koo Wee Rup (formerly Cheval Park).
Chief Operating Officer, Sam Fairgray, reveals, “Yulong began as a racing business, although Mr Zhang’s heart is in the breeding side of the Thoroughbred business. We are looking to become a major player in global commercial Thoroughbred breeding. It’s exciting to have a horse of Grunt’s quality as our first stallion at Yulong. Grunt is a great looking individual with a strong pedigree and is well performed. We are thrilled to have him at Yulong as our inaugural stallion. He will be well supported by our own broodmare band, and we’ve already had plenty of interest from both within Victoria, and from other states across Australia and New Zealand.”
According to Fairgray, Yulong are investing heavily in their property at Nagambie and will ultimately house up to ten stallions; “We are looking for specific horses whose bloodlines will work with the Australian broodmare population. Having spent fourteen years at commercial industry leaders Arrowfield working for John Messara, I bring that wealth of experience to the Yulong operations and much of the deep knowledge I acquired at Arrowfield will inform our strategy at Yulong.”
Yulong’s racing branch currently has around 200 horses in work globally, and Fairgray notes, “We utilise seven different key trainers in Australia, as well as having horses in work in Ireland, Singapore, and America.” Yulong has had a big season with three stakes-winning 2YOs: Gr3 winner Catch Me (I Am Invincible), Gr3 winner Kooweerup (More Than Ready), and Listed winner Cheerleader (Snitzel).
The acquisition of Grunt for Yulong has been backed up by a large spend at the broodmare sales around the world, and recent purchases in Australia include Gr1 winner Mnemosyne’s daughter Erato (who is the dam of Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes winner Lyre) for $1.75 million, Gr2 winner and Gr1-placed Gypsy Diamond (Not a Single Doubt) for $1.3 million, and her dam Gypsy Tucker (Zabeel) for $800,000, Gold and Diamonds (Fastnet Rock) for $800,000, and Better Alternative (Flying Spur) who is the dam of Gr1 winner Preferment, and group winner Rezoned, for $750,000.
Fairgray points out that buying mares like these for Yulong is about setting the standard. “Yulong wants to be a leader in the thoroughbred industry. Mr Zhang is passionate about the Thoroughbred industry and plans to be here for the long-term. These investments are about creating the quality we want for Yulong Investments, and we are building towards a future where we are standing stallions worthy of these high-end broodmares.”