Yulong adds Grunt

6 min read
TDN AusNZ caught up with Yulong Investments Chief Operating Officer Sam Fairgray to talk about the acquisition of Grunt, the progress of its recent imports and its offering for the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.

Two of Yulong's high-profile recent acquisitions are expected to turn out for the first time in the green and white colours this weekend with Grunt (NZ) (O'Reilly {NZ}) returning at Flemington and G2 German Guineas winner Advance Yulong (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) making his Australian debut in either Melbourne or Sydney.

Yulong Investments Chief Operating Officer Sam Fairgray confirmed that Yulong had taken a controlling share in G1 Australian Guineas and Makybe Diva S. winner Grunt, with a view to standing him at stud in the near future.

Fairgray said that the original owners had stayed in the 4-year-old, who remains under the care of Mick Price.

Grunt is being aimed towards the $5m All Star Mile at Flemington on March 16 and will resume in Saturday's G3 Shaftesbury Avenue.

"It’s exciting. Whether he goes on to stud or races on, we’ll make a decision down the track. He's a great looking horse and obviously he doesn't need to do anything more on the racetrack to make a stallion," he said.

"Whatever he does going forward is a bonus. Winning a Guineas at 3 and a weight-for-age race at 4, there are not many that can do that."

"He's a really exciting horse for Yulong to have not only from a racing perspective but for his stud future." - Yulong Investments Chief Operating Officer, Sam Fairgray

While there is no doubting Grunt's racetrack credentials, his Danehill-free pedigree also played a significant part in Yulong's decision to acquire him.

"He's a nice outcross for a lot of the Danehill-line mares here in Victoria. The O'Reilly cross has worked nicely. He's a really exciting horse for Yulong to have not only from a racing perspective but for his stud future."

Whether that stud future is this year or next will depend on what he does on the track this autumn, but Fairgray is confident that he still has a lot to offer, given he only really hit top level as an autumn 3-year-old.

"Physically, he's strengthened a lot and developed further. We are excited going forward with him. Obviously he is going to have a run on Saturday, but whatever he does out of Saturday he’ll definitely improve on," he said.

Grunt will run in the Yulong colours for the first time on Saturday

Import's plans well advanced

Advance Yulong, who raced as Ancient Spirit in Europe, is being prepared by Chris Waller. He won the G2 German 2000 Guineas at just his fourth start and went on to win the G2 Darley Oettingen-Rennen against the older horses later in the season.

"I think he's a really exciting prospect for us at the moment. He has shown he has a lot of natural talent. He was probably a little bit green when he won his better races, so with maturity and so forth, we’d expect further improvement," Fairgray said.

"I think he's a really exciting prospect for us at the moment. He has shown he has a lot of natural talent." - Sam Fairgray

He is entered for both the Shaftesbury Avenue at Flemington and the G2 Liverpool City Cup at Randwick this Saturday with a decision to be made later in the week.

Advance Yulong - Racing as Ancient Spirit in the G2 Darley Oettingen-Rennen

Fairgray said the three other imports entered for Flemington, the 3-year-olds King of Yulong (Ire) (No Nay Never {USA}), Yulong Yuheng (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) and Mount Tabora (USA) (Scat Daddy {USA}) will likely be given a trial later this week and resume at a later date. All three are with Peter and Paul Snowden.

Set for Premier offering

Yulong will be busy at the upcoming Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, where it will have ten horses in its draft.

Fairgray says it will offer a good mix of early-running and later maturing types by a variety of stallions.

"We've got a really good cross-section of stallions." - Sam Fairgray

"We've got a really good cross-section of stallions. We’ve got nine fillies and one colt. It was just the way the sexes were from that crop. It was 75-25 fillies," he said.

"There's some precocious looking yearlings there and there are some which are more 3-year-old types. They are a nice bunch to be taking to the sale."

Yulong Investments' yearling manager Jamee Ryder with Lot 93 Brazen Beau x Caline

The lone colt is Lot 432, by Choisir out of imported mare Senyuman (Ire), which Fairgray has high expectations for.

"He's the first foal out of the mare and he's been well received," he said.

Senyuman was a three-time winner up to 2100m in Ireland and is a half-sister to Letitigo (Multiplex {IRE}) who was stakes-placed in Singapore.

Fairgray is also looking forward to Lot 309, a filly by Choisir, hitting the sales ring at Oaklands Junction.

"She looks really sharp. She is out of a fast mare and she looks like a really get up and go filly," he said.

Her dam Mexican Gal (Encosta De Lago) was a four-time winner and is out of Singapore's champion filly Mexican Rose (NZ) (Volksraad {GB}).

Lot 33, an Exceed and Excel filly out of Zabeel mare Zibello (NZ), the family of Group 1 winner Veloce Bella (Volksraad {GB}) is another one which should excite buyers, according to Fairgray.

Positive outlook for sale

Yulong will be active as both a vendor and buyer as usual and while Fairgray feels the recent upheaval in Victoria, with the disqualification of the state's leading trainer, will lead to a better market for buyers, he expects it to remain strong.

"I think it will be a good sale. There's always been good horses that come out of the Melbourne sale," he said.

"There will be some good buying there." - Sam Fairgray

"The market will be OK. There will be some good buying there. I think Victorian trainers will be strong there."

"Inglis do a good job of making sure you get a good buying bench across the board at that sale, so I think Melbourne has been the most consistent sale in the last ten years. Hopefully that can continue."

The Yulong team, including Yueshang Zhang (left) and Sam Fairgray (right), will be active as both buyers and vendors at the Premier Sale