Australia’s most expensive racehorse: Waterhouse aims at The Everest with $10m import

Key points

  • Yulong buy English star Alcohol Free for $10.16 million to race in Australia  
  • Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott will train the four-time group 1 winner in 2023.
  • The Everest tops the list of possible targets for Alcohol Free in Australia

Gai Waterhouse is eyeing next year’s The Everest for her new charge Alcohol Free after Yulong Investments bought the four-time English group 1 winner for $10.16 million at Tattersalls December Mares Sale on Tuesday.

Waterhouse and Adrian Bott will train the mare, which is set to become the most expensive horse to race post-sale in Australia, but will wait for her arrival before completing plans for her to contest the biggest races in the country.

Alcohol Free drives away from her rivals to win the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood last year.Credit:Getty

“She is the real deal. She is the queen coming to Australia,” Waterhouse said. “I’m a great believer in waiting until they are in your stable when you are seeing them day in, day out before making plans but it’s very exciting.

“She is a beautiful mare and very lightly raced. She is the best female to come to Australia ever.”

Alcohol Free has won group 1 races at two, three and four years old, a feat that has only been achieved in Australia by Anamoe, Show A Heart and Octagonal in the past 40 years.

The daughter of No Nay Never has had 15 starts for six wins, her most recent appearance a gallant third to Baaeed in the Sussex Stakes at the end of July.

Trainer Gai Waterhouse will soon have Alcohol Free in her stables.Credit:Getty

Alcohol Free showed speed as a juvenile winning the 2020 Cheveley Stakes over 1200m at Newmarket, before taking the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2021 and then beating the best milers in Europe to take the Sussex Stakes, to become the only filly to win a Goodwood mile this century.

“What she has achieved with Andrew Balding training her is unimaginable,” Waterhouse said. “His description of her to me was she is a blue hen – the most beautiful, perfect mare. And as soon as I saw her I fell in love.

“She won the July Cup, which is 1200m and a very testing 1200m, so The Everest would be one race you think of straight away.

“But why not a Doncaster or Epsom or even a Cox Plate? She could win here up to 2000m, she is a most versatile mare.”

Yulong’s owner Yuesheng Zhang sat next to Irish bloodstock agent Michael Donohoe as he saw off Coolmore with the bid of 5.4 million guineas for Alcohol Free and then surprisingly announced she would race on in Australia.

“When Mr Zhang said he would like to buy Alcohol Free I told him he would need a lot of money,” Yulong’s Australian head of operations Sam Fairgray said.

“I think buying Alcohol Free stamps what Mr Zhang wants to achieve in racing. He wants to race and breed the best horses in the world.

“She has been bought, firstly, to be a racehorse in Yulong colours with the broodmare part of her career a bonus.

“She is in work up there [in England] at the moment, and she will continue doing pace work up until she can get a plane.

“She might only have a couple of runs in the autumn and be set for the spring.”

Yulong holds an Everest slot, so it makes the $15 million sprint an obvious target. Fairgray said she would race for a couple of years before likely heading back to England to be served by superstar Frankel.

“She is going to add a lot more interest to races in Australia next year because she is one of the best horses in the Northern Hemisphere,” Fairgray said.

“She can come down here and earn a fair bit of money if she can win the right races, and then she will have her whole breeding career in front of her.”

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