Yulong Investments bought the highest-rated mare retired from the track and sold at public auction in Australia this year – Tofane ($3.1 million) – and replaced her with the soon-to-be female racehorse with the best rating in the country.
BBA’s Michael Donohue paid 5.4 million guineas – the equivalent of around AU$10 million – for four-time Group 1 winner Alcohol Free Yulong at the Tattersalls December Mares sale in England.
The four-year-old will come to Australia with a top Timeform score of 123 thanks to her victory in the July Cup (1207m) at Newmarket, where Australian sprinter Artorius finished third.
The highest rating a mare has received in Australia this year is Montefilia’s 122, which was achieved when dethroning Verry Elleegant in the Ranvet Stakes (2000m) in March.
She is unlikely to meet the David Payne-trained mare in Australia and while her class is undeniable, the Racing And Sports head of handicapping said Australian racing would present a different challenge for the daughter of No Nay Never.
“Alcohol-free will be an interesting experiment in Australia,” Blencowe said.
“She has collected four groups from six furlongs to a mile and her best efforts make her more highly rated than any filly or mare currently racing in Australia, but between those peaks she has thrown her share of runs simple.
“He has tended to race hard which could be a concern in Australia where the pace can often drop out of races.
“There are no races in Australia where she looks out of place for talent, but can she take that talent from her place?”
Alcohol Free’s second-highest performance, achieved in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes (1609m) at Goodwood last year, is equal to Montefilia’s, while she also reached 120 to won the Coronation Stakes (1603m) at Royal Ascot last year.
Her other Group 1 win came in the Cheveley Park Stakes (1207m) as a two-year-old when rated 112.
Behind Montefilia, the next best-rated mare in training in Australia is Marabi, who went 121 to win the Oakleigh Plate (1100m).
Three more mares reached 120 in Australia in 2022; Duais (Tancred Stakes), Bella Nipotina (Manikato Stakes) and In Secret (Coolmore Stud Stakes).
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