Let’s just call it the ‘Chautauqua’ win in China…the old Chautauqua we mean. The victory of the Ruth Frenzel bred Ji Di in the inaugural Inglis Cup at the 2.8-million RMB ($400,000) Yulong raceday in China, was stunning to say the very least.
A 3YO son of the Stockwell Thoroughbreds’ Artie Schiller, Ji Di was a long way from the leading pack turning for home in the 1200m scamper, but sprouted wings over the closing stages to win spectacularly. Watch the race here:
It was certainly a great advertisement for the Victorian breeding industry in what is a rapidly emerging industry. Runner-up to Ji Di was the Chatswood Stud raised Eagles Cleaved Sky, a son of Purrealist who is regarded as one of the better racehorses in China having won many races including the rich Inglis China-Australia Cup last year.
(Eagles Cleaved Sky was actually offered for sale at the Yulong based auction the day before the race but failed to reach his reserve at 1.8-million RMB or AU$270,000.)
The impact of Victorian bred horses is no coincidence. This input has been largely a result of the efforts of passionate breeder/owner/administrator, Mr Zhang Yuesheng of Yulong Investments.
Mr Zhang has not only been a prolific buyer at Melbourne yearling sales but he has also headquartered his breeding operation in Victoria with farms now at Nagambie (having bought Limerick Lane and Hillside Thoroughbreds) and Bayles.
(Yulong Park is expected to stand major commercial stallions in Victoria from early as next year.)
Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria President James O’Brien and Swettenham Stud’s Adam Sangster both travelled to China for the Yulong sale and raceday and were both amazed at the quality infrastructure and bloodstock.
“I had heard about Mr Zhang’s expansion plans and growth, so it was wonderful to see his China-based complex with my own eyes. It strongly endorses his positive investment and development in the Victorian breeding industry,” Sangster pointed out.
“It’s evident that Mr Zhang is passionate about his horses. It’s fantastic for both countries as his enthusiasm will only encourage more Chinese owners to become involved in horses.”
Meanwhile, the victory of Ji Di was welcome news to Victorian breeder Ruth Frenzel whose Valleyview operation at Clarkefield, near the Macedon Ranges, has produced a host of winners in the past couple of decades: but maybe none as exciting.
Frenzel, a former treasurer of Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria, watched a replay of the race on YouTube and was still marveling at the finish days later.
“That was an amazing win … he really came from the clouds didn’t he?,” Frenzel enthused.
“He (Ji Di) was originally passed in as a weanling, but I then got Supreme Thoroughbreds to put him through the second session of the (2017 Inglis) Melbourne Premier (Yearling Sale) where he was knocked down to Yulong for $20,000. Turned out to be a real bargain for them.”
Ji Di’s dam – the Royal Academy mare, Light Rose – is shaping to be a bargain for Frenzel too, despite various breeding problems in recent seasons.
“She (Light Rose) is out of a stakes-placed mare, while both the second and third dams are stakes winners. I actually managed to buy her – in foal to Bon Hoffa – for $1,200 off bloodstock.com.au,” Frenzel explained.
“The resultant foal, Helluva Hoffa won six races, while her next foal was a Magnus that was sold to Caulfield trainer, Matt Lindsay. They named her Magnesium Rose and she won at two, and then twice at Caulfield in January and July this year.
“She is Matt’s first winner and, even better still, all of the people in the mare are first time owners as well.
“Ji Di followed, but then the wheels fell off a bit for Light Rose as she slipped, then produced a cracking Warrior’s Reward colt that had to be put down.
“Light Rose missed last spring, but my trusty vet informs me that it’s all systems go again, and she was covered by Magnus on the weekend.”