Vinery Zoustar graduate Grows Yulong Empire

Yulong Investments principal Yuesheng Zhang blew the buying bench to bit and pieces when he bought 17 yearlings for $9.28million during Day 1 of last year’s Inglis Easter Yearling Sale.

Daylight was second followed by China Horse Club with three buys for $2.59million.

The final successful bid among those 17 lots was Vinery Stud’s Zoustar – Miles Of Krishan colt (Lot 227) that was knocked down for $700,000.  Registered as Growing Empire, he may have been the last to join the Yulong team that day but he was the first home and with black-type to boot in the Moonee Valley Pearl (LR, 1200m) on Saturday.

Mr Zhang could never be accused of rushing his youngsters and that’s never been more evident than this season.  The aptly-named Growing Empire was just the third among the 17 lots to face the starter when runner-up at Randwick last month.

Growing Empire is trained by Ciaron Maher and was primed for the Moonee Valley Pearl with recent trial wins at Warwick Farm and Hawkesbury before the trip to Melbourne last week.  “He’s still new but travelled down from Sydney without any problems and Ethan (Brown) rode him beautifully,” stable foreman Jack Turnbull said.

“This was his first look at the track and he’s wearing blinkers for the first time.  He jumped on the speed and saw it out very strongly.  Mr Zhang has supported us with some quality stock and it’s fantastic to win a 2yo Stakes race for him today.”

Growing Empire is the 50th Stakes-winner by Zoustar and he will most likely head back to Sydney where a prime target will be the ATC Kindergarten Stakes (Gr.3, 1000m) at Randwick on April 6.

Ethan Brown continues to get his career back on track after recovering from a heavy fall at Flemington last year but it was far from straightforward on Saturday.  “He’s a thinker and I had to keep him on the ball.  In saying that, he has a ton of ability and came back under me like a nice horse.  He has a good cruising speed and can really go on with it if he keeps improving off that win.”

Growing Empire was bred by Pat Hodgens with Vinery partners Neil Werrett and Steve McCann.  His dam Miles Of Krishan continues to keep the best of company with a yearling filly by I Am Invincible and a filly foal by Zoustar.

Vinery’s Zoustar connection at this year’s Inglis Easter Sale includes a half-sister to Champion Australian 2YO Farnan (Lot 337) for Phoenix Thoroughbred Ltd and the first foal from VRC Victorian Oaks (Gr.1, 2500m) winner Aristia (Lot 427) for Vinery partner Greg Perry.

Hoofnotes:  Yulong’s two Easter buys that debuted before Growing Empire were Media World (Written Tycoon) who finished fifth in the MRC Merson-Cooper Stakes (LR, 1000m) at Caulfield on December 2.  He had changed hands for $1.4million at Riverside Stables and is with Peter and Paul Snowden.

Trunk (Snitzel) was the second yearling to go public when runner-up in a Geelong nursery on January 6.  He was knocked down for $1.3million and is a member of this season’s dominant 2yo team with Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.