After a season away from his southern roots, Written Tycoon is back in Victoria and busy in the first few weeks of the breeding season. Now at Yulong Stud, the reigning Champion Australian Sire has enough star power to float a farm singlehandedly.

But at Yulong, he’s in good company on a roster that shouts six formidable stallions for the new season, among them the debut sires TagaloaYulong Prince (SAf) and Lucky Vega (Ire).

The latter two are internationally bred and internationally raced, and they’re products, perhaps, of the Yulong eye on global racing.

Written Tycoon | Standing at Yulong

“We try to target stallions with pedigrees and performances that are going to suit Australian mares,” said Sam Fairgray, the chief operating officer for Yulong Investments. “That’s the key, because finding those stallions that are going to nick well with local broodmares is the key to a stallion being successful here in Australia.”

Yulong is a relatively new player in the Australian breeding scene, pitching its tent as recently as 2018, but its impact has been extraordinary. In a short space of time, Yuesheng Zhang’s operation has climbed into the space of the top breeding establishments in Australia, and the trajectory is pointing up.

This spring, the farm will breed 300 of its own mares, largely to its six resident stallions. The mare numbers have spiked this year with Yulong’s investments in a remarkable number of new, elite broodmares for its band.

At the Magic Millions National Sale in May, the Written Tycoon Syndicate signed for 39 mares, among them the $2.6 million Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) and $1.5 million Greysful Glamour (Stratum).

All of this points to a bright spring for Yulong and, three weeks into things, that’s how it’s tracking.

Sam Fairgray

Lucky Vega gets going

Back in February, the world learned that the Jessica Harrington-trained Lucky Vega would stand in Australia upon his retirement.

Lucky Vega, by the Ballylinch Stud sire Lope De Vega (Ire), was a winner of the G1 Phoenix S. at The Curragh in 2020, and was second to Poetic Flare (Ire) (Dawn Approach {Ire}) at his last start in June, in the G1 St James’s Palace S. during Royal Ascot.

The colt had the very consistent record of being in the top three in all but two of his eight starts and, in the colours of Mr Zhang, it was widely known that he was destined for duties in Australia.

“Being a Group 1-winning 2-year-old, he (Lucky Vega) also fitted in very quickly to the mould of what breeders like here in Australia.” – Sam Fairgray

“Lucky Vega was Mr Zhang’s first Group 1 winner, and not only that but he’s by a fantastic sire in Lope De Vega, who we’ve seen do so well in Australia,” Fairgray said. “Being a Group 1-winning 2-year-old, he also fitted in very quickly to the mould of what breeders like here in Australia.”

The Lope De Vega sireline has, as Fairgray said, done very well.

The Ballylinch sire shuttled to the then Patinack Farm between 2011 and 2014, and from those seasons got no less than Group 1 winners GytrashSanta Ana LaneVega Magic and Vega One. There was also a raft of other Group winners like ArchedemusEndless Drama and Spanish Reef.

Fairgray said Lucky Vega was a physically ideal horse for Australian mares.

Lucky Vega (ire) | Standing at Yulong, Image courtesy of Yulong Invest

“He’s a great physical, and he looks a real speed type of horse,” he said. “He’s got a great shoulder and a good hind-quarter on him, and he’s a lovely moving horse. He travelled over really well because his nature is fantastic, and he settled into the farm very quickly.”

Between lockdowns, Yulong was able to get people through the stud to see the new Irish horse. Fairgray said that very little had to be said during inspections, that Lucky Vega did all the talking, physically. The stallion will get around 130 broodmares this spring, and among them is Miss Barley (Fastnet Rock), the dam of Gytrash.

Fifteen-year-old Miss Barley was one of the 39 mares plucked out of the Magic Millions National Sale this year. She was bought by the Written Tycoon Syndicate for $300,000, in foal to Nicconi and from the draft of Pepper Tree Farm.

Gytrash was her third foal and she hasn’t produced since 2017, but she’ll head to Lucky Vega after her Nicconi foal with a number of other notables at Yulong Stud.

Gallery: Some of the mares to be covered by Lucky Vega

The new stallion will also get Gypsy Tucker (Zabeel {NZ}), the dam of three-time Group winner Gypsy Diamond (Not A Single Doubt), and the stakes-placed 8-year-old mare Smart As You Think (So You Think {NZ}).

The $2.75 million Fastnet Rock mare purchase Unforgotten is also booked to Lucky Vega. She was a winner of the G1 Australian Oaks in 2018, as well as a pair of Group 2 races in the Phar Lap S. and Chelmsford S. Mamwaazel (Exceed And Excel) won the 2015 Belle Of The Turf S.

“Because of his sireline, he created a lot of interest for breeders,” Fairgray said.

“He’s an easy horse to mate to with all the Danehill blood we’ve got here, so he’s been an easy horse for breeders to consider. Sticking with like to like, the speed lines are where he’ll really work. He was an up-and-go 2-year-old, so that’s what you’d be expecting he’d be leaving.”

“He’s (Lucky Vega) an easy horse to mate to with all the Danehill blood we’ve got here, so he’s been an easy horse for breeders to consider.” – Sam Fairgray

Fairgray said that Lucky Vega had started the season very well, and Yulong was pleased with his first-season fertility at this point.

Tycoon back ‘home’

On the farm, things have started similarly for 19-year-old Written Tycoon. The reigning Champion Sire is commanding $165,000 (inc GST) at Yulong this spring, and even then he’s looking good value.

Gallery of some of Written Tycoon’s Group 1-winning sire sons.

Written Tycoon has entered his 15th season at stud, and his stakes winners are headed by Golden Slipper-winning Newgate sire Capitalist, G1 Oakleigh Plate winner Booker, Golden Rose-winning Vinery sire Ole Kirk, and dual Group 1 winner Pippie.

At stud, his sire sons include Capitalist and Ole Kirk, as mentioned, and also Dirty Work, who is standing his first season down the road at Spendthrift Australia. There’s Rich Enuff, who is at Woodside Park, and Written By at Widden Stud in the Hunter Valley, while Banquo became the first of Written Tycoon’s sons to stand in New Zealand when he retired to Waikato Stud this spring.

“For us to be able to acquire him to stand at Yulong, it’s great for the brand and fantastic for Mr Zhang,” Fairgray said.

“He’s bought a lot of broodmares which we’ll be able to send to a Champion Australian Sire, and that’s a great thing for us. Written Tycoon did all his hard yards here in Victoria, and I think it’s great that he’s back here for the breeders and for the Victorian breeding industry.”

“Written Tycoon did all his hard yards here in Victoria, and I think it’s great that he’s back here for the breeders and for the Victorian breeding industry.” – Sam Fairgray

Yulong didn’t buy Written Tycoon this year to reinvent the wheel. It was a case of ‘more of the same’ when it came to marketing the stallion to the Yulong brand.

“With a horse like him, it was definitely more of the same,” Fairgray said. “Obviously he can get an outstanding physical. He topped the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale this year, and he had other million-dollar yearlings at the other sales around Australia.

“He’s such a diverse sort of horse. He can get fillies and colts, sprinters or milers, so he’s very durable. Like a lot of good stallions, temperament counts for a lot and this stallion tends to get progeny that trainers can really work with.”

Table: Some of the elite mares to be covered by Written Tycoon in 2021

Yulong is expecting 150 mares for Written Tycoon, and among the farm’s own booked to him are In Her Time (Time Thief), who was twice a Group 1 winner of The Galaxy and Lightning S., along with three further Group races. In Her Time foaled a colt, her first, by I Am Invincible in mid-August.

Also booked to Written Tycoon is the fellow dual Group 1-winning mare Viddora (I Am Invincible), who won the G1 Winterbottom S. and G1 AJ Moir S. through a smart career on the track. Viddora lost a foal by Lope De Vega last year, but is in foal to Snitzel at the moment.

Extremely (Hussonet {USA}) will also visit the stallion, and she’s the dam of Champion First Season Sire Extreme Choice. Likewise, Harlech (GB) (Pivotal {GB}) is also booked, the dam of G1 Australian Oaks and G1 Vinery Stud S. winner Hungry Heart (Frankel {GB}).

However, the true highlight of Written Tycoon’s spring might be Melody Belle, who sensationally sold to Yulong for $2.6 million in May. The New Zealand mare won a staggering 14 Group 1 races during her career on the track, which included the G1 Empire Rose S. at Flemington.

Melody Belle was a remarkable horse with a remarkable price tag, but Yulong didn’t think twice. She was purchased specifically for Written Tycoon on a mating that ticked all the boxes.

“She’s by Commands and a high-class race mare, and we thought physically she suited him very well,” Fairgray said. “She’s from a very nice family and we thought, having Written Tycoon on the farm, it was easy to go out and get a mare of this quality to breed to him. Whether it’s a colt or a filly, it’s going to have huge value.”

Fairgray said that any colt from this pairing would have strong stallion potential, but likewise a filly would be something just as valuable, and that doesn’t mean it would be retained.

“Being a commercial farm, we try to look at offering all the yearlings to the market place,” Fairgray said. “If we really like something, we might put a higher reserve on it, but at this stage the idea would be to offer any progeny for sale.”

Tagaloa a first for his sire

On the other end of the experience spectrum to Written Tycoon, debut sire Tagaloa is just starting out. He’s a familiar sight to Australian racing, a winner of the G1 Blue Diamond S. last year and the G3 CS Hayes S. this year.

Tagaloa | Standing at Yulong

Tagaloa retired after 13 lifetime starts and nearly $1.5 million in prizemoney. According to Yulong, he is the perfect Australian stallion – good-looking, a Blue Diamond winner at two that trained on at three, and he’s a complete outcross.

Tagaloa is by the Japanese success story that is Lord Kanaloa (Jpn), while his dam, the Arrowfield mare Vasilissa (Jpn), is also Japanese-bred by Heart’s Cry (Jpn).

“Tagaloa is such an exciting horse for the industry,” Fairgray said. “Being a son of Lord Kanaloa, who was such a fantastic speed horse, for a son of his to come out and win the Blue Diamond, it was a fantastic success. Tagaloa really is the stallion that, going to stud this year, every studmaster wanted on their farm because of his pedigree and performance.”

“Tagaloa really is the stallion that, going to stud this year, every studmaster wanted on their farm because of his pedigree and performance.” – Sam Fairgray

Yulong bought into the stallion in February last year, after the horse’s Blue Diamond victory. The operation had tried to get in before the race, but then ownership, including Ozzie Kheir, held fast until the Blue Diamond result.

“We obviously paid a bit more than we would otherwise have had to, but with the horse’s pedigree too we were thrilled that we were able to secure him,” Fairgray said. “We’d been following him for some time.”

Fairgray said the stallion would put plenty of size and quality into his progeny, and among the good mares booked to the horse was Gregers (Commands). She was a dual Group 3 winner in her time, and the very first mare to visit Tagaloa. She has tested in foal to the stallion already.

“She (Gregers) was a dual Group 3 winner in her time, and the very first mare to visit Tagaloa.” – Sam Fairgray

Yulong sold her 2019 foal by Snitzel at this year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, the filly selling to a consortium of Gai Waterhouse, Adrian Bott and Bruce Slade’s Kestrel Thoroughbreds. Gregers herself was a $1.75 million purchase at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale in 2017.

Also booked to the stallion is the Street Cry (Ire) mare Erato, who is the dam of the 2019 G1 Blue Diamond winner Lyre (Lonhro). This is a valuable family through Erato’s dam Mnemosyne (Encosta De Lago), who was co-bred by Ron Quinton to win the G1 Thousand Guineas at Caulfield and G1 Queen of the Turf S. Mnemosyne was subsequently the dam of three stakes winners, including the dual Group 1 winner and now Darley sire Impending.

Gallery: some of the mares to be covered by Tagaloa in 2021

Tagaloa will also serve the G1 New Zealand Oaks winner Miss Sentimental (NZ) (Reliable Man {GB}), along with dual stakes winner Neena Rock (Fastnet Rock) and outcross mare Written Era (Written Tycoon). The latter was purchased by Yulong for $770,000 from Bell View Park Stud at the 2019 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale.

“He’s going to get every opportunity at stud,” Fairgray said. “Physically, he’ll put plenty of size into his progeny, and we think he’ll suit a lot of the Snitzel, Not A Single Doubt and Danehill-type mares where you’ll get that really nice cross of speed with the pairing.”

Tagaloa remains the only son of Lord Kanaloa to stand in Australia, which is surprising trivia given the Australian association with Japanese lines. He is covering his first book at $33,000 (inc GST).

Booked To
2021 Foal
2020 Foal
2019 Foal
Gypsy Tucker Lucky Vega Grunt Grunt
Miss Barley Lucky Vega Nicconi
Smart As You Think Lucky Vega Savabeel
Unforgotten Lucky Vega I Am Invincible
Mamwaazel Lucky Vega Grunt Zoustar
Extremely Written Tycoon Alabama Express I Am Invincible I Am Invincible
In Her Time Written Tycoon I Am Invincible
Melody Belle Written Tycoon
Harlech Written Tycoon Alabama Express Snitzel
Viddora Written Tycoon Snitzel
Erato Tagaloa
Gregers Tagaloa Alabama Express Lonhro Russian Revolution
Miss Sentimental Tagaloa
Neena Rock Tagaloa Grunt Grunt Spirit Of Boom
Written Era Tagaloa Alabama Express Zoustar Zoustar
Article Courtesy of TDN.