Star sprinters join burgeoning Valachi Downs roster

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Ten Sovereigns

In a strong message of support to the New Zealand breeding industry, Valachi Downs have announced two new additions to their stallion roster for the coming breeding season. Dual Group 1 winner Ten Sovereigns, the best and fastest son of outstanding young sire No Nay Never, will travel to New Zealand from Coolmore Ireland with U S Navy Flag, while exciting young sire Vespa will be relocated to stand at his place of birth, Valachi Downs.

Ten Sovereigns hails from a long line of Group 1-winning two-year-olds and leading sires and will stand at an introductory fee of $20,000+GST. Unbeaten in three starts at two, Ten Sovereigns made an auspicious start to his career with a seven-length maiden triumph before landing the Group 3 Round Tower Stakes (1200m) by just under four lengths. The quality colt confirmed himself as one of Europe’s best juveniles with victory in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes (1200m) for trainer Aidan O’Brien.

Returning as a three-year-old, Ten Sovereigns stamped his class when winning the Group 1 July Cup (1200m), comfortably beating fellow top-flight colt Advertise, who would go on to win the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest (1300m) at his following start.

Ten Sovereigns retired to Coolmore rated as the Champion 3YO Sprinter in Europe, GB and Ireland, and was one of the most popular young sires on the Irish farm’s roster this season. “Our goal is to pull together a stallion line-up of high-quality individuals that are genetically and physically suited to the New Zealand market, with a mix of local and international bloodlines,” Valachi Downs General Manager Gareth Downey said.

“While the industry is in a challenging place at the moment, New Zealand breeders are a resilient bunch and we want to support them in the best possible way with an elite and diverse roster. “We are delighted to further develop the partnership with Coolmore and stand the fast and precocious juvenile colt Ten Sovereigns this season. “Like U S Navy Flag, he has a speed profile and can physically be described as a beautifully scopey individual. We believe this exceptionally fast duo of elite sprinters will complement each other on the Valachi roster.”

The Kevin Hickman-bred Vespa has returned to Valachi Downs for the 2020 breeding season after a promising start as a sire when based at Wellfield Lodge. A Group 1-winning Champion two-year-old, Vespa’s first crop of juveniles have provided the sire with impressive results and his yearlings have fetched up to $75,000 in the sale ring.

Despite a small crop of 54 foals in his debut stud season, Vespa has had two Group-placed juveniles from his first eight runners, indicating his ability to pass traits of precocity onto his progeny. Vespa’s two-year-old daughter Kelly Renee was runner-up in the Group 2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) from the outside barrier and also placed third in the Group 1 Sistema Stakes (1200m), while his two-year-old colt Piaggio has delivered a win and three placings including a runner-up finish in the Group 3 Taranaki 2YO Classic (1200m).

“The team at Wellfield Lodge have done an exceptional job with Vespa’s early stud career,” Downey said. “We would like to thank them and the shareholders in the horse for their support of the decision by Valachi and Wellfield to move Vespa to the Waikato where he will have access to a larger broodmare pool.” Vespa will stand for a fee of $5,000+GST.

The two newcomers will be joining U S Navy Flag, Zacinto and Savile Row on the Valachi Downs roster. A son of sire sensation War Front, U S Navy Flag was warmly received by breeders in his debut New Zealand season, covering a full book of 150 mares.

Like Ten Sovereigns, U S Navy Flag achieved the rare feat of winning the stallion-making sprint, the July Cup, as a three-year-old against older horses. This followed his outstanding two-year-old season in which he was a dual Group 1 winner, including becoming the fastest ever winner of the Dewhurst Stakes (1400m).

U S Navy Flag will stand his second New Zealand season for $17,500+GST. “We have slightly reduced U S Navy Flag’s fee this season to support breeders in the challenging economic climate,” Downey said. “This is no reflection on our opinion of him, which has only grown after seeing the incredible physical types he has thrown in his first crop of Irish foals. New Zealand breeders should be very excited to see his first locally-bred foals arrive, as I know we are.”

Zacinto has continued to enhance his reputation as a reliable source of winners over the last 12 months, with black-type winners Secret Allure and Odeon adding to their respective records. The Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra-trained Brilliant Venture has labelled himself as a horse to follow, with stakes performances at Caulfield and Flemington. A full-brother to multiple Group winner Secret Allure sold for $270,000 at the Karaka Yearling Sale this year, when offered by Inglewood Stud and purchased by Peter Moody. Overall, his yearlings averaged more than $70,000 across all Books at Karaka this year.

Zacinto will stand for a reduced fee of $8,000+GST in 2020, which is again an indication of Valachi’s desire to ensure the stallions are affordable to breeders in the current economic climate.

Rounding out the Valachi Downs roster is Savile Row who stands for a very affordable $2,500+GST for his third season at stud. The son of Makfi has produced a lovely crop of first crop weanlings, with great types out of well-related mare Sister Celeste, who has produced stakes-performer Kelly Renee (Vespa), and smart race mare The Tidy Express.

Full Valachi Downs 2020 roster:

  • Ten Sovereigns (Ire) (No Nay Never {USA} x Seeking Solace {GB}) – $20,000+GST
  • U S Navy Flag (Ire) (War Front {USA} x Misty For Me {Ire}) – $17,500+GST
  • Zacinto (GB) (Dansili {GB} x Ithaca {USA}) – $8,000+GST
  • Vespa (Exlusive City {USA} x Miss Avalon {Ire}) – $5,000+GST
  • Savile Row (Makfi {GB} x Fleece {GB}) – $2,500+GST

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