The Chris Waller-trained Yulong Code (Zoustar) scored a good barrier trial victory at Rosehill on Tuesday morning under jockey Hugh Bowman and connections have high hopes for the colt this preparation.
Bought for $1,075,000 by Yu Long Investments and RIFA Mustang at last year's Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the draft of KBL Thoroughbreds, the three-year-old scored a length and a quarter length victory over the Bjorn Baker-trained Deel With Me (Dundeel) in heat 15 over 900 metres in a time of 55.20 seconds. Granzie (Nicconi) was a long neck back in third.
Sixth on debut at Randwick over 1100 metres, beaten just under three lengths in May, Yulong Code then finished fourth at Warwick Farm the following month. He finished third in a Rosehill barrier trial first up from a spell on August 31 and connections are hopeful that he is now set for a good preparation this spring.
"He's a lovely horse," Luke Wilkinson told Racing & Sports Bloodstock on Tuesday. "He was an expensive yearling and he's been a bit slow maturing. He raced well without having any luck in his first preparation and I don't think it will take long for him to lose his maiden tag and then have a nice spring."
Bred by Bowcock Bloodstock, Yulong Code is the fifth foal out of the dual winning and stakes placed Al Maher (Danehill) mare Acouplamas making him a half-brother to Australian Derby (Gr 1, 2400m) winner Quick Thinker (So You Think) and the stakes placed pair Seasons (Sebring) and The August (I Am Invincible).
"He's a half to Quick Thinker," continued Wilkinson. "He was a lovely yearling and we have high hopes for him. If it's not this spring then it'll be Sydney in the Autumn.
"He was very immature as a two-year-old. Waller nursed him along and hopefully now we'll see the best. I was happy with how he quickened to the line today. He showed good ability to quicken up and then put them away quite quickly."
Bowcock Bloodstock bought Acouplamas for $115,000 at the 2013 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale and having not produced a foal in 2018 or 2019 was covered by Trapeze Artist (Snitzel) last November.
Meanwhile, Yulong has high hopes for another few of their runners over the coming weeks.
Hungry Heart (Frankel) lines up in the Tea Rose Stakes (Gr 2, 1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday having run a good first-up second in the Furious Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m) at Randwick on September 5. The daughter of Frankel (Galileo) is one of 58 stakes winners for her sire and should she win the Flight Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) this spring she will provide her sire with his first Group 1 winner in Australia. Based at Juddmonte Farm's Banstead Manor Stud in Newmarket, Frankel is firing at a rate of 14.8 stakes winners to runners in Australia with Hungry Heart, Miss Fabulass, Finch and Frankely Awesome all winning at stakes level.
"Hungry Heart runs in the Tea Rose. She was strong to line last week and she'll be very competitive over 1400 metres. Hopefully she'll go on and win the Flight Stakes," said Wilkinson.
"We've also got Tagaloa in the Sir Rupert Clarke. He's going really well and has improved off his run. The barriers are coming out tomorrow and we're hoping for one between three and six," he said.
The Blue Diamond Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) winner finished a first-up third, beaten a neck, in the HDF McNeil Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m) and the Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young-trained colt will be bidding for his second Group 1 victory.
"Another nice horse we've got high hopes for is Yulong Sovereign," Wilkinson added. "He's trained by Tony McEvoy and trialled well. He'll probably be going to race this Saturday either at Caulfield over 1000 metres or Tatura, though he'll likely head there (Tatura) and then go onto bigger and better things after that."