It is still a fair distance from the racetrack to the breeding barn, but speedy entire, Holy Blade, took a huge stride in the right direction by capturing Saturday’s Listed WH Wylie Handicap over 1100 metres at Morphettville.
A 4YO by boom sire I Am Invincible, Holy Blade is raced by Zhang Yuesheng’s Yulong Investments, which means a place on Nagambie’s Yulong Park inaugural stallion roster in 2019 is a distinct possibility.
Holy Blade has won six – two on end – and placed in three but this was his first success in black type company.
Aside from the I Am Invincible factor (also sire of emerging stallions Brazen Beau, Super One, Overshare, Kobayashi and former stable mate, Hellbent), Holy Blade is out of the 2YO stakes winner, Amphritite and hails from the family of 2017 Group One All Aged Stakes winner Tivaci.
Purchased for $180,000 at the 2016 Inglis Sydney Classic Yearling Sale, Holy Blade is a “cracking type” according to Yulong Investments’ Chief Operating Officer, Sam Fairgray.
“We are in the process of building of a ten-stable stallion barn with two serving sheds at our Nagambie (formerly Limerick Lane) property and will be aiming to stand some higher end stallions from next year,” Fairgray explains.
“Whether Holy Blade eventually joins them is in the lap of the gods, but we’re going to take it race by race and he’s certainly a lovely type of horse. He’s always had plenty of ability and is hitting peak form at just the right time, so there’s a lot of options in the spring for him.
And if he does make it to those stallion barns, Holy Blade could have some star stable mates if comments by leviathan racehorse owner Rupert Legh are anything to go by.
After Grunt won the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington earlier this month, Legh indicated he and star 3YO Brutal were the subject of stallion inquiries.
“Yulong Investments have approached me about the pair becoming foundation stallions at a property they have purchased in Victoria, so that will be something I will consider very seriously,” Legh told Racing.com.
Meanwhile, Fairgray added that Yulong has 55 2YOs on the books after a massive buying spree at the 2018 yearling sales, along with half a dozen juvenile home-breds.
“We have some lovely youngsters coming through, that’s for sure,” Fairgray enthused.
“In fact, there is an I Am Invincible filly, Catch Me, who is with the Snowdens and is likely to race in Saturday’s (Group 3) Gimcrack Stakes at Randwick.
“There is also a nice colt that we bred by Sepoy out of (multiple Group winner) Neena Rock who is called Yulong Rockstar and is with Ciaron Maher. He definitely looks like he’ll have a start before Christmas too.
“Mr Zhang is very passionate about his horse interests … he got a terrific thrill out of Holy Blade’s win on Saturday but was also happy to see Killarney Kid win over 3300m at Coleraine on Sunday. Killarney Kid is a 9YO and the Coleraine win took his earnings to a tick over $500,000.
“Hopefully we end up having a lot more weekends like that over the next couple of months.”
Yulong Investments is one of the major players in mainland China’s thoroughbred industry with Mr Zhang staging regular race meetings in Shanxi province and owns the racetrack, plus a vast stabling complex.
(A large contingent of Australians, including representatives from Aushorse, recently visited Shanxi province to attend a conference, a sale and race meeting hosted by Mr Zhang).
Initially purchasing a number of a horses and a 170-acre complex at Koo Wee Rup, south east of Melbourne, four years ago, Yulong has certainly ramped up its involvement, buying Limerick Lane (450 acres) and Hillside Thoroughbreds (250 acres) at Nagambie earlier this year.
The Koo Wee Rup property will be utilised primarily for Yulong’s spellers, while the Nagambie farms will represent the company’s breeding arm.
An owner of a slot in the $13 million Everest, Yulong was also quick off the mark in securing Redzel for this year’s edition of the race at Royal Randwick. He is currently the tab.com.au second favourite for the big race ($6.00).
“Stakes winners, the Everest, new farms and a lot of emerging 2YOs … it certainly is an exciting time,” Fairgray points out.