Valachi Downs

There is not much more that successful businessman Kevin Hickman enjoys than a day at the races or time spent with his horses and it is his passion for the thoroughbred that has seen Valachi Downs thrive.

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Expertly managed by Jonathan Scully supported by a great team, Valachi Downs has proven a fertile breeding ground for high class thoroughbreds such as Shamrocker, Silent Achiever, Hazzabeel, Vespa, Jimmy Rae, She Brings Joy, Bohemian Lily and Savile Row.

Valachi Downs enjoyed good success at the Karaka 2017 Premier; every one of their eight yearlings sold commanding six figures including a $250,000 Savabeel – In The Mood colt who will race under the name of Gayson for the Gai Waterhouse/Adrian Bott stable.

Also already named is Firebrand, a $220,000 Tavistock – Danart colt who was placed in one of the first trials of the season.

Whilst the weather has not been kind in New Zealand, Scully has been happy with the way the Valachi yearlings have come through winter and as we went to print he was showing off the draft in a series of parades.

Valachi’s Karaka kicks off early with lot 2, a “nice type of colt” bred on the successful High Chaparral/Zabeel cross being a son of So You Think and Zaflame, sister to stakes winner Heat Haze from the family of Salsabil and Marju.

Scully is a big fan of Zacinto; “we are very lucky to have several of them in our draft.” The first of those is lot 220, the first foal for Footsie, three-quarter sister to multiple Group One winner Wall Street. “He is a lovely colt. Zacinto is doing really well and they love him in Australia.”

Also impressing is lot 277 out of In The Mood. He is a half-brother to Group Two winner She Brings Joy out of an imported granddaughter of French Group Two winner Grecian Urn whilst lot 367 out of Marzia is a half-brother to the Group Three placed Classic Touch out of a metropolitan winning half-sister to dual Group winner Count Cambridge. “He is probably one of the stand-outs. He is a lovely, strong colt with a great topline and with Classic Touch performing so well he has plenty of upside.”

“Yet another nice Zacinto” is lot 518, the first foal for Reynen Rose, half-sister to Kevin Hickman’s triple stakes winner Emerald Queen from the family of Group One winners Pretty Discreet, Discreet Cat, Discreetly Mine and Awesome Maria.

Valachi Downs has proven a fertile breeding ground for high class thoroughbreds such as Shamrocker, Silent Achiever, Hazzabeel, Vespa, Jimmy Rae, She Brings Joy, Bohemian Lily, and Savile Row.

Having a couple of Tavistocks is exciting for Valachi, especially as both are outstanding including lot 77, half-sister to Group One winners Shamrocker and Rock Diva and Group Two winner Bohemian Lily. “She is a lovely filly and this is a great chance for buyers to tap into the influence of this great family, one that is not easy to get into.”

Valachi’s second Tavistock, lot 543 out of Sandie is “another stand-out. He is a horse with a lot of presence and he should be very easy to sell.” His dam is a stakes placed half-sister to the stakes placed Kisumu, dam of Group One Classic winners Zabeelionaire and Gondokoro.

Another high class proven stallion in Medaglia d’Oro is represented by lot 295, an “outstanding filly” out of Kablues, dam of the city placed three times winner Shampion. This is the same family as lot 77 with Kablues being a half-sister to Shamrocker.

“One of the top colts of our draft” is another by a high performing stallion in Savabeel, lot 409, the first foal for Moons Of Jupiter, a placed Commands mare whose dam is a half-sister to Group Three galloper Rockwood out of dual Group One winner Foxwood. “He is just a lovely horse.”

As is lot 327, a colt by the late Atlante out of La Madelina, an imported daughter of dual Group One winner Gouache whose three stakes winners include Champion Older Female (Argentina) Guernika. A half-brother to the 11 times winner Delacroix, he is described as “an outstanding colt. I think Atlante is going to prove a real loss.”

Lot 394 is something different, a colt by Juddmonte’s four times Group One winner Kingman. His dam Miss Olive was owned in Europe by Hickman who had her served to southern hemisphere time. She is a half-sister to triple stakes winner Hostwin Donatello and the three times winner Zalika, dam of dual Group One winning W.S Cox Plate,Gr.1 2040m runner-up Humidor. His third dam is Eight Carat’s outstanding half-sister Habibti. “He is a very strong, forward colt and it was great to have his page updated by Humidor this spring.”

Another pedigree update is for Ocean Park who was recently represented by his first stakes winner Ocean Jewel. Lot 544 is a half-brother out to dual stakes winner Merion out of the Listed winner Sapphire Belle. “Ocean Park is starting to come on now and we have high hopes for this fellow’s half-sister Princess Sapphire.”

All Too Hard is another stallion to have enjoyed a good spring and he has lot 585, a “very nice second foal from a lovely German family.” His dam is Silke Top, an imported winning half-sister to German Champion 3YO Zazou who was also crowned Champion Older Horse in Germany and Italy.

Australian Cup-Gr.1, 2000m bound Odeon was one of the finds of the Melbourne spring and lot 647 is his half-brother by Declaration Of War. “We could not be happier with how Odeon has been shaping and we are delighted to be selling this colt who is a really nice style of horse.” His dam is a half-sister to the Group winners Tale Of A Champion, Mr Roary and Ilusora from the family of Storm Cat and Royal Academy.

Rounding off Valachi’s sale is lot 654, a colt by Makfi. He is the first foal for The Tidy Express, a two times Group Three placed five times winning half-sister to Listed winner Lady le Fay. “He is a neat package and with Makfi doing so well he is sure to command attention from buyers.”

Valachi also take four yearlings to the Book 2 session; colts by Zacinto, Carlton House, Charm Spirit and Shamexpress.

Q & A with Jonathan Scully

Who has been the most successful buyer of your yearlings?

Chris Rutten did really well with Vespa who we sold at the 2013 Select for $34,000. He won the Sires’ Produce Stakes-Gr.1, 1200m at Ellerslie and we have bought back into him. He stands at Wellfield Lodge and we are delighted with his first foals, he has some lovely types on the ground which we are really excited about.

Who have been your favourite race horses this year?

She Brings Joy winning the Royal Stakes-Gr.2, 2000m in January was a good start to the year and we are still looking back fondly at the previous spring when Ugo Foscolo and Savile Row quinelled the 2000 Guineas-Gr.1, 1600m.

Do you follow any particular breeding theories?

Kevin does and I leave it to him. He starts in about March and puts a lot of time and effort into the matings, it is a passion for him.

What is your favourite food and drink?

I enjoy a Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir and a meal of bluff oysters.

What is the best horse racing movie every made?

Has to be the American film Seabiscuit.

Who is your favourite comedian?

Jim Jefferies, he is a controversial Australian comedian who is better known in America.

52 Taotaoroa Road, RD 2, Matamata

Stud Manager: Jonathan Scully

+64 27 531 4949

jonathan.scully@valachidowns.co.nz