Welcome to Valachi Downs
Valachi Downs is a boutique thoroughbred stud located near Matamata, in the heart of New Zealand's thoroughbred nursery: the Waikato. Established from modest beginnings, the farm has grown from the original 50 acre dairy farm purchased in 2005, and has developed into a 270+ acre horse breeding operation. The stud has been purpose built from the ground up and reflects the many terrains of the region. Hill country, rolling pastures and lush flat lands make up the landscape of the farm, along with first class stabling facilities and kilometres of post and rail fencing. The stud reflects the focus on quality and attention to detail that is synonymous with the co-founder of Ryman Healthcare and stud owner Kevin Hickman.
Valachi Downs has enjoyed success, in both the sales ring and on the racetrack.The stud's first draft at the New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sales in 2008 saw a record high Select Sale price of $300,000 for a Scardee Cat colt from Valachi Downs mare My Kinda Girl. Then in 2011 and 2012 it was Derby winners that bought the stud to the fore. Australian Derby winner Shamrocker was raised at the stud and sold through the Select Sale for $65,000 for Valachi clients.
RACING THIS WEEK
Valachi has nine runners in New Zealand: Riverton, Matamata, Waipukurau, Riccarton, and a stallion announcement: Savile Row (Makfi) to stand at Valachi Downs.
Wednesday at Riverton:
Weather: fine, Track: Heavy10, rail: out 4.5 metres
12.29 p.m. R2 1 Delacroix (8 g Zabeel – La Madelina), T: John & Karen Parsons, Balcairn. J: Buddy Lammas (a3); had a couple of runs on the flat, including a run here at Easter, and with weight relief to 67kgs he contests the $20,000 Open Hurdle (2500m). After winning the corresponding race last year, he was unfortunately brought down here at his next start in the Great Western Hurdle (2500m). There is competition from two ahead of him in betting: Jack Frost (Gallant Guru) and Zentangle (Chinese Dragon): Fixed odds: $6.00 & $1.60.
Wednesday at Matamata:
Weather: fine, Track: Slow9, rail: out 4 metres
1.24 p.m. R3 3 Colleraine (3 f Sakhee’s Secret – Tra Cee), T: Baker/Forsman, Cambridge. J: Matt Cameron; resumed with a very game third in the NZB Insurance Pearl Series 1230 metres on 13 April at Rotorua, and steps in distance for the $10,000 Maiden Fillies & Mares 1400 metres. With two thirds from two starts, she has acted on heavy going at the trials, and possesses the right attributes to rate top three again. Fixed odds: $3.80 & $1.70.
1.24 p.m. R3 4 Fistral Beach (3 f Rip Van Winkle – Rialto Bridge), T: Phil Stevens, Matamata. J: Danielle Johnson; debuted here a fortnight ago on Heavy10, with Johnson aboard, closing solidly late for second in the Maiden 1200 metres and steps in distance for the $10,000 Maiden Fillies & Mares 1400 metres. Natural improvement should see her competitive. Fixed odds: $4.80 & $1.90.
3.34 p.m. R7 2 Joe Cargo (5 g Authorized – Rialto Bridge), T: Phil Stevens, Matamata. J: Cameron Lammas; won the South Waikato Cup (Rating 70, 2000m) here in March, with Lammas aboard, and good through the line for third on 11 April in the Rating 70 2000 metres at Waipa (Apprentice Jockey Day). He has his share of pudding to carry (60.5kgs), but very good course/distance and slow track stats for the $11,000 Rating 70 2000 metres. Fixed odds: $5.50 & $1.90.
3.34 p.m. R7 5 Chou Chou (4 m Pour Moi – Villa Wanda), T: Roger James, Cambridge. J: Vinnie Colgan; travelled extra in the trail before drawing clear by 2.3 lengths in the Rating 65 2100 metres on 14 April at Te Rapa, with Colgan aboard, and should go well again if appreciative of track conditions in the $11,000 Rating 70 2000 metres. Fixed odds: $5.00 & $1.80.
Thursday at Waipukurau:
Weather: overcast, Track: Slow8, rail: true
1.25 p.m. R3 7 Elston (3 f Sakhee’s Secret – Our Lily Belle), T: John Bary, Hastings. J: Samantha Collett; finished fourth and fifth from three starts prior to Christmas and resumes off 140 days in the $10,000 Maiden 3YO 1200 metres. She is a half-sister to Lily Grecia (Zacinto), who recorded her debut win on rain-affected footing.
Saturday at Riccarton:
Weather: overcast, Track: Heavy10, Rail: out 4 metres
2.26 p.m. R6 6 Pippi Rea (4 g Pins – Smitten Kitten), T: John & Karen Parsons, Balcairn, J: rider to be advised; raced clear for an easy three-length win on 4 April in the Rating 75 1200 metres at Timaru, making it two wins and two seconds from his last four starts. Improvement in track conditions would assist his prospects in the $30,000 Rating 85 1200 metres.
3.01 p.m. R7 5 Villa Elba (6 m Zabeel – Villa Wanda), T: John & Karen Parsons, Balcairn. J: rider to be advised; made a midrace move when finishing second on 24 April in the Rating 75 2200 metres on Slow7 at Wingatui, and contests the $40,000 Great Autumn Handicap (2500m). She has been racing in good fettle and should acquit herself well.
4.19 p.m. R9 12 Lake Chalice (3 f No Excuse Needed – La Madelina), T: Kennedy/Furlong, Riccarton, J: rider to be advised; followed a stylish win here over 1400 metres, finishing third when up in grade on 21 April, and steps in distance for the $22,500 Rating 65 1600 metres. She brings the right form, but needs to handle the track conditions.
Valachi has celebrated wins by Pippi Rea (Pins) Lake Chalice (No Excuse Needed), Chou Chou (Pour Moi), and Ugo Foscolo (Zacinto) in April, while Za Za Gabor (O’Reilly) ran a great race for second in the Warstep Stakes (Listed, 2000m). Bella Court (Per Incanto) also won well on Anzac Day at Avondale, Villa Elba (Zabeel) ran a good second, and Zacinto sired a promising two-year-old stakes winner over 1400 metres at Flemington, Vassilator.
But the big news is that Group One performing entire Savile Row will commence stallion duties this season at Valachi Downs in Matamata.
Savile Row to stand at Valachi
Four-year-old entire Savile Row is set to become the first son of Makfi (Dubawi) to stand at stud in New Zealand.
Bred and owned by Kevin Hickman, who struck gold with Champion mare Silent Achiever (O’Reilly), Savile Row will stand at his Valachi Downs property, Matamata, for an introductory fee of $5,000 + GST.
Trained at Ballymore Stables by Mike Moroney & Pam Gerard, Savile Row was runner-up three times in Group One races as a three-year-old: to Ugo Foscolo (Zacinto) in the 2000 Guineas (1600m), Hall of Fame (Savabeel) in the Levin Classic (1600m), and Volkstok’n’barrell (Tavistock) in the weight-for-age Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m).
A versatile and athletic galloper, winning three times over 1200 metres, with the ability to act fresh, Savile Row is out of the Daylami (Doyoun) mare Fleece and carries a cross of Mr. Prospector, Shirley Heights, Mill Reef, and Green Valley, in his bloodlines.
“He was an easy horse to train, a beautiful natured horse and still is,” Gerard said. “He is very correct, with good bone and well proportioned, big and strong, yet light on his feet and athletic.
“He’s an outstanding looking individual that really took the eye and you don’t find many better looking than what he was as a racehorse.
“A little bit of physical immaturity, when still feeling his shins, probably prevented him winning a Group One, but he went close on three occasions and you have to be tough to do that if you’re still not quite mature enough.
“If he stamps them and could leave foals that looked half as good as him, they’re going to be very attractive to people. If he leaves them like himself, then people will have some outstanding individuals with good natures.”
His dam sire, Daylami, a powerful grey that stood 17hh, was a true international champion racehorse. Bred and owned by the Aga Khan, he won 11 of 19 starts, including seven Group One victories, in five countries, and became U.S. Champion Male Turf Horse and European Horse of the Year, earning a Timeform rating of 138 to equal Nijinsky and Cigar, and notably is also the dam sire of hot stallion Pierro (Lonhro).
Daylami is out of matriarchal broodmare Daltawa (Miswaki), making him a half-brother to the stallion Dalakhani.
With the sale of Makfi at the end of last season to Japan, following a very successful stint at Westbury Stud: producing NZ Horse of the Year Bonneval, NZ Filly of the Year Sofia Rosa, Champion Two-Year-Old Marky Mark, and stakes winner Cote D’or, the timing is ideal for Savile Row, Valachi, and breeders.
“Savile Row deserved to win a Group One race somewhere along the way,” said Westbury Stud general manager Russell Warwick. He ran very good sectionals, and one of the best performed by Makfi available for stud in Australasia.
“Makfi has a very good dual Group One winner standing in Ireland, Make Believe. He stands for 20,000 Euros when he went to stud and quite a high profile horse that won the Prix de la Foret (Gr. 1, 1400m), a very good race, in an exceptional time, at Longchamp. He would have yearlings on the ground, now.
“Kevin Hickman has been a great supporter of us and more importantly a wonderful supporter of New Zealand racing. Makfi has done a terrific job and Kevin was one of the big supporters of the horse and it’s quite fitting that he’s standing his first son at stud.
“Makfi is a very good sire. His strike rate in the Southern Hemisphere is enormous, sitting near eight-percent stakes winners to runners, which is an impressive stat. His progeny have done it in New Zealand, Australia, and he has a very good horse we bred called Win Beauty Win, in Hong Kong, that Paul O’Sullivan trains and rates him the best horse in his stable.
“We just don’t have a lot of that Dubawi blood down here (Australasia), from that sire line, and it offers a very good outcross with the bloodlines we have here.
“Savile Row is a very good-looking horse that had a turn of foot and ran 33.9 for his last 600m at Ellerslie. He was pretty serious performer and no reason why he wouldn’t make a stallion.
“Even though he got out to Group One distances at a mile and 2000 metres, we saw some of the sharp side of his pedigree to suggest he was a sprinter/miler more than anything else. And, there is versatility in the pedigree of Daylami to produce superior athletes over a range of distances,” Warwick said.
As to which mares Savile Row could attract at stud, Valachi Downs general manager Jonathan Scully said: “He should cross well with the Danehill sire line, mares by Darci Brahma, Keeper, Perfectly Ready, Shocking, and Zed, and those mares we have in New Zealand by Duke of Marmalade, Dylan Thomas and Rock of Gibraltar. And we also think he will be suited to mares by Dansili stallions: Zacinto and Zoffany, while mares by Dalghar, Rip Van Winkle, and Road to Rock should also mate well with him.
“His family on both sides of the pedigree is renowned for its genuine traits, consistency as racehorses and obviously its fair share of talent, so with all that rolled into one we can’t wait to see Savile Row sons and daughters out racing.”
Savile Row can be considered a very rare specimen, as too Makfi, Dubawi, and any stallions stemming from Dubai Millennium. A devastating six-length winner of 2000 Dubai World Cup (Gr. 1, 2000m) in track record time (1:59.5), Dubai Millennium was named the best racehorse in the world with his Timeform rating (134) ranking him ahead of Sinndar (132) and Montjeu (130). He ended his career with a Timeform rating of 140.
Unfortunately for the racing world, Dubai Millennium died after serving only one crop (56 foals) and although several were given a chance at stud, it was only Dubawi, a multiple Group One winner, unbeaten at two, winning five of his eight career starts that led the way. Standing for £250,000, Dubawi became the fastest to sire 50 group winners and has produced 36 Group One winners. In his last season at stud in New Zealand, his son Makfi stood for $25,000, making Savile Row very good value at $5,000.