Aquis buying mission bolsters global status

The family of Hong Kong-based billionaire Tony Fung took another large step toward establishing a major presence in international racing by purchasing six colts during the first three sessions of Keeneland's September Yearling Sale for a total of $2.085 million.

Topped by a $500,000 son of Galileo, a half-brother to US champion juvenile filly Halfbridled who was bred in Ireland by a Coolmore partnership, and a $385,000 Street Cry half-brother to Belmont Stakes winner Creator, the group of colts would stand out in any locale.

"Great, great quality," says Fung's son Justin (pictured below), who oversees the family's Aquis Farm in Queensland, Australia, and who bought the colts while assisted by Julian Blaxland of Blue Sky Bloodstock of Sydney.

"It's important for us to diversify our portfolio and make sure we have the best-quality horses from anywhere in the world, and we'll travel to source it."

The Fungs are busy building up their bloodstock holdings after last year acquiring the four properties covering over 1,100 acres previously owned in Queensland by Nathan Tinkler under his Patinack Farm banner.

In July they bought four well-bred fillies for a total of 430,000gns at Tattersalls and are breeding four mares to Frankel on southern hemisphere time.

They also are standing four stallions in the current Australian breeding season: Holy Roman Emperor, the former Coolmore shuttler by Danehill; Domesday, a former Darley stallion by Red Ransom; Snitzel's sprinting son Spill The Beans, who is standing his first season, and Benfica, a Group 1-winning son of Lonhro and another former Darley stallion.

Plans for the newly acquired yearlings are still taking shape, but Justin Fung said they would probably stay in the States for racing.

"We're always exploring options and we're excited about the future of these colts," he says.

One of the colts, a dark bay by Kitten's Joy out of the Grade 2-placed Lady Lumberjack, by Forestry, was acquired in partnership with Barbara Banke's Stonestreet Stables for $450,000 from the Clearsky Farms consignment.

Stonestreet has been active in buying some top-quality young horses in Australia, where Blaxland says he met Banke's bloodstock advisor John Moynihan.

Blaxland explains: "I gave him some insights into the Aussie horses and we bought one at Easter last year with Gai Waterhouse, and so John and I both like a fast horse. And we want to help Aquis get results on the track as soon as possible.

"John identified this colt and I agreed with him; it looks like a really nice grass horse and we're excited to get an association between Stonestreet and Aquis."

"Being a new player in the industry, we definitely want to forge relationships with everyone around the world and make sure we capitalise on opportunities together," says Fung, who adds that he wants to find colts with pedigrees that would make them strong stallion prospects in any part of the world if they succeed in racing.

"Despite the fact we spent a lot of money, I love the value we got," Fung says.

His purchases also included a War Front colt who is the second foal out of multiple Grade 1 winner Sassy Image, by Broken Vow. Acquired for $250,000 early in the first session, the colt was bred by Stonestreet.

"You can't go wrong with a War Front and Sassy Image. We wanted this one. We thought it was a spectacular deal and we're really excited," Fung adds.

His other purchases were a $180,000 Giant's Causeway colt out of a sister to Galileo's Group 1-winning daughter Lush Lashes, who was bred by Don Alberto Corp, and a $320,000 son of Uncle Mo out of a half-sister to Middle Park Stakes winner Crusade, who was bred by a Coolmore partnership.

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