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Highest Price Foal in Australasia this year...

A $1.65 million battle royale waged for two prized colts by superstar European stallion Frankel (Galileo) provided a drama-charged finish to the Magic Millions National Weanling Sale on the Gold Coast yesterday.

Powerhouse investor Yulong, owned by Chinese mining magnate Zhang Yuesheng, took home both late-session colts by Juddmonte’s champion stallion for $925,000 and $725,000 respectively.

As is becoming custom across all facets of the live and digital sales across Australasia, Zhang’s imperious presence on the buyers’ sheet is increasingly evident, with Yulong signing for 12 weanlings at a cost of $3.475 million across Thursday and Friday.

The sale-topping Frankel colt was also vindication of the foresight and the financial bravery shown by Cornerstone Stud to make the investment in mares to send to Frankel, the sire of 15 stakes winners in Australia from just 80 runners.

Yulong will grow out both Frankel colts at Zhang’s Victorian stud farm at Nagambie before they enter the racing division.

Newgate’s Henry Field, swilling beer and sipping water in equal measure to no doubt help him maintain his composure, was encouraged to have at least two extra bids by auctioneer Grant Burns on the Cornerstone Stud-consigned top lot but the extra bids were to no avail.

In 2021, Cornerstone Stud’s Sam Pritchard-Gordon sensed an opportunity to tap into Juddmonte’s champion stallion Frankel after Fairway Thoroughbreds’ filly Argentia won her first start at Flemington in June of that year, but even he couldn’t have forecast yesterday’s result, the farm’s biggest sale result “by a country mile."

Confident the then Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained two-year-old Argentia was stakes class – she won a Group 3 last October on Derby Day at Flemington – Pritchard-Gordon rallied a group of Cornerstone’s supporters to invest in northern hemisphere mares to send to Frankel to southern hemisphere time and import them Down Under to foal down at South Australia’s Barossa Valley stud.

Upside (Muhaarar), an unraced half-sister to two-time South African Group 1 winner Europa Point (Rock Of Gibraltar) and champion European colt Harbour Watch (Acclamation), was one of those mares identified as being suitable on pedigree and type for the Australian market by Pritchard-Gordon’s agent brother Tom.

“My brother Tom Pritchard-Gordon was solely responsible for sourcing four mares off the track. A bit of Covid stress helped us to buy really well, but more importantly, he bought the right type of mares to suit Frankel and it’s amazing to think that we’ve been rewarded with a colt like that at that sort of price,” Sam Pritchard-Gordon said.

“We have a number of core clients and sadly one of our core clients, whose fund is managed by Rob Chapman, the former chairman of the Adelaide Crows, sadly passed away.

“So, we’ve been asked to liquidate all their assets and that’s what forced our hand but fortuitously it was an absolute Godsend that Frankel keeps on doing it.”


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