Bren O’Brien



US$7.2 million Yulong mare Alcohol Free to race on in Australia

Four-time British Group 1 winner Alcohol Free will continue her racing career in Australia after she was purchased by the Yuesheng Zhang-backed Yulong for 5.4 million guineas (US$7.2 million).

Yulong’s massive investment in the broodmare band for its Australian-based operation reached new heights at the Tattersalls December Mares Sale as Yuesheng Zhang’s outfit fought off global giant Coolmore to land Alcohol Free for 5.4 million guineas (US$7.2 million).

It is the second highest price ever at a European auction and at AU$10.9 million, she will be one of the most valuable mares ever to come to Australia.

It is likely it is not just a breeding play, with BBA Ireland agent Michael Donohue revealing after the sale that Alcohol Free, who has already won the July Cup, the Sussex Stakes, the Coronation Stakes and the Cheveley Park Stakes at the elite level for trainer Andrew Balding, would likely continue her racing career in Australia.

“She vetted extremely well for a filly who has plenty of miles on the clock, her reports were exemplary. The partners already have horses in training and breeding interests in Australia and obviously she’ll make a fantastic broodmare at the end of her racing career,” Donohue told reporters of the daughter of No Nay Never.

“I think there’s 87 races in Australia next year worth a million-plus, so the prize-money on offer there is big, and she’s that type of filly. She’s won the July Cup over six furlongs then she stays a mile too so there’ll be a lot of options for her. Fair play to Andrew Balding and the guys, they did a great job with her.

“She will probably race for a season and then be covered, and we will probably send her to Frankel. So we will decide whether we cover on northern or southern hemisphere time, but obviously Frankel is an exceptional sire and is doing it in both hemispheres.”


Alcohol Free fetched the second highest price ever at a European auction. (Photo: Tattersalls)

Yulong purchased Alcohol Free’s dam, Plying, for 825,000 guineas (US$1.03 million) last year and put her in foal to their shuttler Lucky Vega.

The likely choice of likely suitor for Alcohol Free is no surprise given Yulong have had great success in Australia with the progeny of Frankel, notably dual Group 1-winning filly Hungry Heart.

She wasn’t the only seven-figure purchase on the day headed to Australia with Yulong and BBA Ireland also combining to pay 1 million guineas (US$1.25 million) for Gan Teorainn from Boherguy Stud.

The two-year-old Saxon Warrior filly was runner-up in the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac in France in October for trainer Jim Bolger.

“Gan Teorainn is going to Australia as well. She’s a big two-year-old and what she did this year is extraordinary for a big filly,” Donohue said. “Again, she vetted exceptionally well and we’ll give her a little bit of time to acclimatise in Australia. We’ll decide on a trainer after that and she’s for the same syndicate of people who bought Alcohol Free.”

“She is going to be a lovely miler, maybe even a mile-and-a-quarter filly in time, and she has a lovely pedigree as well so she should make a broodmare.”

Gan Teorainn was also purchased by Yulong and will race on in Australia. (Photo: Tattersalls).

Saudi-backed Najd Stud continued to make its mark on the European sales scene, paying 3.6 million guineas (US$4.5 million) for dual Group 1 winner Saffron Beach, who will remain in work and be set for the US$20 million Saudi Cup.

Jane Chapple-Hyam will retain the four-year-old in her stable.

“It’s a big thrill and a big honour and we’ve got a good winter to look forward to. She’s in good order, she’s tough and I believe she’ll get the nine furlongs out in Saudi. You never know about the surface but we’ll give it a go,” Chapple-Hyam said.

Japan’s Northern Farm were the underbidders on Saffron Beach but did secure Group 1-winning two-year-old The Platinum Queen for 1.2 million guineas (US$1.5 million), who is likely to remain in training in Europe, and King’s Harlequin for 600,000 guineas (US$750,000).

It was the highest grossing day in European auction history, with 11 lots realising 1,000,000 guineas or more, resulting in turnover of 54 million guineas (US$67.5 million).




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