Yulong set for a big spring with a host of talented performers

Having cheered home 15 individual 2-year-old winners this season, Yulong have plenty to look forward to this spring with horses who have already won stakes races to be joined by promising youngsters. The Thoroughbred Report caught up with Racing Manager Troy Stephens about next season’s plans.

It has been a big juvenile season for Yulong with five of those 15 winners successful at stakes level and Stephens is hoping that the best is still to come for those promising youngsters.

Such as Growing Empire (Zoustar) who won two of his first three starts – the Listed St Albans S. at Moonee Valley in March and the G3 Breeders S. at Morphettville in late April.

A $700,000 Inglis Easter purchase, the half-brother to the Group 3-placed Dancing Alone (I Am Invincible) out of the Group 2-placed multiple city winner Miles Of Krishan (Snitzel) has Stephens looking forward to carnival time.

Growing Empire | Image courtesy of Racing Photos

“He is the colt who I am most excited about,” he said. “I have been pretty fond of him right through – he is a beautiful horse and I think he could be pretty special.”

“I have been pretty fond of him (Growing Empire) right through – he is a beautiful horse and I think he could be pretty special.” – Troy Stephens

“He has come back really nicely and we will be looking to trial him in mid-August so that he will be ready to kick off in a Listed race at Moonee Valley in September.”

“He could then go to the G3 San Domenico S. or there is a Listed race at Flemington where we could give him a look at the Flemington straight before he heads to the G1 Coolmore Stud S. on Derby Day.”

Sunlight’s sister looking the goods

The unbeaten filly Clean Energy (Zoustar) – a $2.6 million Magic Millions purchase for Yulong – created a big impression winning her first two starts in impressive style; graduating from a Warwick Farm meeting to stakes success in the Listed Bill Carter S. at Doomben.

The full sister to the multiple Group 1 winner Sunlight is doing nicely during her spell and the spring Princess Series is a great aim for her.

Clean Energy | Image courtesy of Ashlea Brennan

“She looks great out at Mt White Farm (Coolmore) and she will go into pre-training in a couple of weeks time.”

Finishing in the first two at four of his first five starts, Straight Charge (Written By) showed plenty from the start – finishing second in the G3 Breeders’ Plate in late September and in December easily winning an 1100-metre contest at Randwick.

Resuming in February he impressed with a G2 Silver Slipper S. victory before a game G2 Todman S. second behind Switzerland (Snitzel) and a tough G1 Golden Slipper S. sixth from a tricky gate.

Straight Charge | Image courtesy of Ashlea Brennan

“He is a really smart colt,” Stephens enthused, adding that he has “come back in great order.”

Being set for a first up crack at the G1 Moir S. at Moonee Valley in early September, the well-related colt (his dam an I Am Invincible half-sister to the Group-winning stallion Winning Rupert) may go from there to the G1 Manikato S. should he show a liking for Moonee Valley.

Troy Stephens | Image courtesy of Yulong

The G3 Vain S. is also a possibility as is the San Domenico as he heads towards the G1 Golden Rose S. via the G2 Run To The Rose.

Able to win the G3 Ken Russell Memorial Classic at just his second start, Althoff (Written Tycoon) is part of a great juvenile season for his Yulong-based Champion Sire who just keeps doing the job.

“He is back in work and we will take it race by race,” Stephens said of the member of the famed Denise’s Joy (Seventh Hussar {Fr}) clan.

Alabama Express on the rise

Part of a most encouraging start made for his Yulong-based well-credentialled first season sire, Shangri La Express (Alabama Express) looked the goods winning his first two starts in the spring and was game in the placings at two of his three autumn runs including a G2 Todman S. third behind Switzerland and Straight Charge.

“He is a nice big horse who has improved a lot over the winter and he can kick off in a race like the Listed Rosebud S. or the Vain – we can take him race by race with a possible look at the Golden Rose.”

“He (Shangri La Express) is a nice big horse who has improved a lot over the winter and he can kick off in a race like the Listed Rosebud S. or the Vain – we can take him race by race with a possible look at the Golden Rose.” – Troy Stephens

A $220,000 Magic Millions graduate from the family of the high-class stallion Seeking The Gold (USA), Shangri La Express is a grandson of the two-time Group-winning mare Gamble Me (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}).

Shangri La Express | Image courtesy of Ashlea Brennan

$1 million colt Emirate (Extreme Choice) raced by Yulong in partnership with Aramo Racing is another horse Stephens is looking forward to seeing back in action; looking smart winning his first two races at Warwick Farm and Rosehill.

A Kensington debut-winner who earned black-type with her G3 Magic Night third, Chateau Miraval (Zousain) – a $650,000 Magic Millions purchase – also displays plenty of promise and she heads towards the Princess Series kicking off with the G2 Silver Shadow S. in late August.

Debut Caulfield winner First Settler (Written Tycoon) – a $750,000 Magic Millions half-brother to the Listed Twilight Glow S. winner Vienna Princess (Snitzel) – is another nice spring prospect as is Sovereign Hill (Written Tycoon), a $280,000 Classic three-quarter brother to the G1 Doomben 10,000 winner Music Magnate.

First Settler | Image courtesy of Racing Photos

The pair are part of a great season for Written Tycoon with Yulong hoping to end up standing a high-class son by him.

Little wonder, with Written Tycoon’s first four sons with runners – CapitalistWritten ByRich Enuff and Winning Rupert – all represented by stakes winners.

Unearthing stallion prospects

“As a stallion farm our goal is to unearth a stallion prospect,” Stephens said, “and our current group of colts are very exciting – we are looking forward to seeing which ones put their hands up.”

The Yulong aim is very much to race a high-class horse who can go on to a stallion career, having also done so overseas with their G1 Phoenix S. winner Lucky Vega (Ire).

In the meantime they have the careers of a number of very talented older horses to enjoy – such as their imported mares Via Sistina (Ire) (Fastnet Rock) and Place Du Carrousel (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) who were one/two in the G1 Ranvet S.

They both also contested the G1 Queen Elizabeth S., won in memorably tearaway style by Pride Of Jenni (Pride Of Dubai), the former a game second whilst the latter had to do a bit of the chasing.

The G1 WS Cox Plate is on their agenda and there is also excitement regarding the G1 New Zealand and G1 ATC Oaks winner Pennyweka (NZ) (Satono Aladdin {Jpn}), Yulong’s $1.6 million Inglis Chairman’s Sale purchase who is “going really well” for Ciaron Maher.

Pennyweka (NZ) (Image courtesy of Inglis)

Another New Zealand Oaks winner in Pulchritudinous (NZ) (Wrote {Ire}) is coming along nicely and the female Yulong band – all lovely broodmare prospects – also includes the G2 Light Fingers S. winner Kimochi (Brave Smash {Jpn}) who remains in the Gary Portelli stable after changing hands for $2.2 million at the Chairman’s – the G1 Manikato S. a lovely aim for her; noting that her sire won that same race in 2018.

Chain Of Lighting (Fighting Sun) is also with her original trainers Peter Moody and Katherine Coleman, the G1 TJ Smith winner purchased at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale for $2.5 million.

Chain Of Lightning (Image courtesy of Magic Millions)

So there is lots for Yulong to look forward to in regards to future stallions and broodmares and they are also enjoying cheering on the first progeny of their resident stallions Pierata and Alabama Express who are doing so well – “we are in the hot seat!” Stephens said.

This article was written by Kristen Manning for TTR AusNZ.