Chuang is no stranger to extraordinary moments and upheld his title as Thoroughbred Industry royalty during the Australasian Yearling Sales season through his sale-topping purchases. Although the Hong Kong-based co-owner of Hermitage Thoroughbreds was unable to travel to Australia to personally inspect the sales, in a new chapter, he has partnered with John Messara and Chris Waller to help him select and race three high-value Thoroughbreds.
The owner of Satinu Resources Group and multi-Group One winning The Autumn Sun speaks to The Impact about the things that influence his buying decisions, his plans for his new yearling purchases, and shed light on his partnership with Waller and Messara.
Q: You purchased an I Am Invincible/ Vezalay filly for A$1,250,000 and a So You Think/ Nakataan (NZ) colt for A$900,000 at Easter. As these were your only purchases during the yearling sales season and you've said in the past Easter is your favorite yearling sale, what is special about these horses?
A: We also purchased an exciting filly by I Am Invincible out of the speedy mare Catchy for A$1,200,000. The Inglis Yearling sales are indeed my favorite and I did go on a bit of splurge in 2019 as I had the pleasure of being able to be there in person.
With the ongoing pandemic which has affected everyone globally, we have unfortunately been unable to travel and so therefore we have taken a step back from purchasing to concentrate on Hermitage Thoroughbreds and maintaining and further developing our relations with our friends and partners including the virtuoso duo of John Messara of Arrowfield and Chris Waller at Chris Waller Racing. As I have not been able to inspect in person, I relied heavily on Chris’ advice and he assures me these were the best fillies and colt of the auction! I have every faith in his decision.
Q: What are your plans for them over the next year?
A: We have a growing affiliation with Coolmore and quite an exciting one. We will work together to develop the two youngsters moving forward. The Vezalay filly has started her breaking in the process up at Coolmore. We will have the pleasure of having her at our own farm later on in her preparation. The outstanding looking So You Think colt was bought as a nice Derby type for both parties. The Catchy filly, solely owned by The Hermitage, I am given to understand that she has the makings of a sprinter with good fast-twitch muscle fibre structure – perhaps even like The Autumn Sun, wouldn’t that be a delight. Let’s see how they shape up but we hope to develop all our horses organically and give them the right support and environment to flourish. This is how I see the future right now in general in all aspects: taking it to step by step and one day at a time as the pandemic has brought into sharp relief what is most important in life. We have all suffered during this pandemic and I wish everyone in Australia and in the Racehorse and Agricultural communities good health during these tough times.
Q: When it comes to buying racehorses do you find that yearlings are your best bet or do you also like to review the horses at the ready-to-race sales across NZ and Australia later in the year? And if yes, how different is your research and selection methodology compared to yearling purchases? Do such things as fashionable sires come into the picture or are race track results of siblings and half-siblings and breeze times more significant criteria for your purchases?
A: I do prefer yearlings as I really enjoy the excitement of watching a horse develop through proper training, care and nurture. I have a very young family myself and I see parallels in both our families in Hermitage Thoroughbreds and here in Hong Kong and for this reason, I think I will continue with the yearling sales.
As to methodology, statistical theory and mathematical modelling are of great interest to me and I think there are some very interesting methodologies emerging. Of course also pedigree is also important as you say but when it comes down to it my methodology is to really rely on the eye and the expertise of those advising me and in particular John Messara and Chris Waller. I like to select horses who exhibit a calm and yet inquisitive demeanor. I pay particular attention to their eye, the balance of their walk and conformation.