IRISH Oaks winner Magical Lagoon has been moved from Jessica Harrington to Australian trainer Chris Waller.
The four-year-old Galileo filly has joined the powerful Yulong Investments racing string in Australia which now includes top European sprinter-miler Alcohol Free and the promising Gan Teorainn who was placed in Group 1 company for Jim Bolger last year.
Michael Donohoe of BBA Ireland, racing manager for Yulong boss Zhang Yuesheng, told The Irish Field: “Magical Lagoon was always going to be retired to Australia and, as she likes fast ground, there are some racing opportunities for her before she is covered. There wasn’t much for her in Europe until mid-summer.”
The four-time Group 1 winner Alcohol Free was bought by Yulong for 5.4 million guineas in December. She is now in training with Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott. Donohoe reported: “Gai is planning to stretch her out beyond a mile. She is convinced the style of racing in Australia will allow to filly to do that.”
Gan Teorainn, a daughter of Saxon Warrior who has just turned three, was an unusual choice for a southern hemisphere campaign, given that she will be officially declared a four-year-old in Australia on August 1st.
Donohoe said of the Prix Marcel Boussac runner-up: “I know she ran plenty of times last year but she’s a big filly and we think she needs a bit of time. If she fills into her frame she should be up to handling the weight-for-age terms later in the year.”
Despite these high-profile transfers, Donohoe says Mr Zhang remains committed to supporting racing in Ireland and Britain too. “He will have about 40 horses in training in Ireland this year and another 20 in England. Jessica Harrington and Karl Burke are his main trainers but there are about eight other trainers on the roster too.”
Donohoe is in Australia this week attending the Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale for the first time. “It’s been a real eye-opener,” he said. “It started a bit steady but once one trainer starts buying on spec then all the others follow and the market has been very strong. Prize money here is huge and, instead of one or two big players, you have lots of syndicates involved.”