Slowly, but surely, a new international player is making Victoria home and there remain big things to come.
Yulong Investments, owned and managed by passionate Chinese businessman Mr Zhang Yue Sheng, is set to become one of Australia’s major bloodstock players with its base in Victoria.
A determination to succeed and an unwavering passion has lead to assembling a talented and experienced team, coupled with high-quality bloodstock and top-class facilities, based over two Victorian locations.
Initially, Yulong Park was established at Bayles to Melbourne’s south-east and remains their facility for spelling and pre-training.
Earlier this year, Yulong branched out into one of Australia’s pre-eminent thoroughbred regions, the Goulburn Valley with the purchase of Gerry Ryan’s Limerick Lane at Nagambie.
Yulong’s Chief Operating Officer, Sam Fairgray discusses the positive impact Yulong is creating throughout the state and the future plans of the operation.
“Our Nagambie property will be a base for our growing breeding operation. Being based in the heart of thoroughbred country, the famous nursery will cater for our growing band of broodmares, as well as being the home of weanling and yearling preparations,” Fairgray said.
“We will ideally further expand our Victorian landholding to around 1000 acres so that we can utilise and develop breeding barn facilities to stand commercial stallions in the future.
“We have invested heavily in the quality of our broodmare band, playing a hand at the recent Inglis breeding sales, including the top lot at $1.35 million, the Group 2 winning mare, Gypsy Diamond in foal to super sire I Am Invincible.”
In fact, Yulong’s total spend on seven mares was $4.12 million, which included paying $800,000 for Gypsy Diamond’s dam Gypsy Tucker, a daughter of Zabeel, in foal to Australia’s leading sire Snitzel, as well as Veruschka (in foal to Frankel), Shoot The Breeze (in foal to Shalaa) and stakes-placed filly Pageantry (a daughter of I Am Invincible).
These key broodmare buys follow major acquisitions at both the Inglis and Magic Millions broodmare sales over the past couple of years. In 2016, Yulong purchased Extremely, the dam of Blue Diamond winner Extreme Choice while last year they snapped up Group 2 winning mare Gregers for $1.75 million at Magic Millions in June.
“By purchasing these mares, we have set the tone for the quality and standard that we wish to achieve. Yulong wants to be a leader in the thoroughbred industry, not only in Victoria but nationally,” Fairgray said.
“With the high number of commercial mares that head up to the Hunter Valley (from Victoria), we ideally want to be able to stand stallions that are worthy of those high-end mares and keep them here in Victoria to breed.
“We are fortunate that Mr Zhang is very passionate about the thoroughbred industry as a whole…he loves his horses and he is here for the long-term.
“It’s all a process at this stage. By having good people in place and developing systems, we have a solid structure to build the brand, and its success.”
Fairgray also notably points out the lifestyle that the Victorian thoroughbred industry offers to employees, due to the convenient location of the breeding region.
“For people working in the breeding industry, Melbourne provides a great lifestyle, being only an hour away. Even if you work full-time on the farms, staff can still enjoy going to the races (in Melbourne), the football or a trip into town.”
“This is a big positive when compared to the distances needed to travel to access the Hunter Valley.
“Victoria gives people a life outside of work, which is integral to the mental health of our workforce and their personal well-being. We should be promoting this as a way to encourage the high-end horse staff to come down to Victoria to seek quality employment opportunities.”
On the racing side, Yulong has already had success with horses such as Yulong Baby, Yu Long Sheng Hui and Yulong Monoceros. Group winner Holy Snow (Fastnet Rock) is a three-year-old with great promise while a string of two-year-olds are set to rack up wins for Yulong.
Yulong have also become a major supporter of Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria through their sponsorship of the Yulong VOBIS Gold Dash at Caulfield at the recent Victorian Owners and Breeders Raceday.
Note: In case you were wondering, Yulong translates to ‘Jade Dragon’ in Chinese.