Latest news from Valachi Downs 5th March 2020

Valachi quinella in Group 3 Sunline Vase

Valachi experienced a fantastic result on Derby Day at Ellerslie (Feb. 29), when Communique (3 f Redwood – Al Bayan, by Zabeel) and Karalino (3 f Zacinto – Tawny Run, by Runyon) finished first and second, respectively, in the $70,000 McKee Family Sunline Vase (Gr. 3, 2100m).

Both trained by Stephen Autridge at Matamata, it was terrific to see the gold colours looming a furlong out and they were locked in battle until Communique got in the deciding strides under visiting rider Michael Walker (who went on to win the NZ Derby aboard Sherwood Forest (Fastnet Rock)).

After showing above average attributes to win a Maiden 1600 metres in January at Ellerslie, Communique had found the line solidly, with notable sectionals, a fortnight earlier in the Avondale Guineas (Gr. 2, 2100m).

“She felt enormous travelling into it and I think she’s got a big future,” Walker said. “She’s got the class to be competitive in Australia.”

Dam Al Bayan is a sister to multiple group winners Cronus (11 wins) and Pravda (8 wins), and a family of strong staying types.

Read the Love Racing story here.

Also at Ellerslie, Woodcote Lass (3 f Showcasing – Lady Woodcote, by Pivotal) produced a big effort for fourth in the $60,000 Mufhasa Fasttrack Stakes (Listed, 1300m).

Ridden by Craig Grylls, for trainer Stephen Autridge, the stakes placed (Canterbury Belle Stakes (Listed, 1200m)) filly navigated a path in tight quarters and displayed good determination.

Love Struck adds another victory

Out of a half-sister to dual stakes placed winner of nine, Pippi Rea (Pins), and four-time winner Maktoum (Makfi), Love Struck (3 f Sacred Falls – Twice Smitten, by Bernardini) recorded her second win in this campaign last Thursday at Pukekohe.

Given a nice trip in fifth by Craig Grylls, she was out after the leader at the 300m and remained defiant in a close finish to the Rating 65 1400 metres.

A fresh-up winner in the Maiden 3YO 1215 metres on 27 December at Rotorua, beating subsequent dual winner Our Alley Cat (Atlante), she was given time (34 days) by trainers Roger James and Robert Wellwood following the 3YO 1400 metres on 24 January at Te Aroha, won by unbeaten filly Levante (Proisir).

Her grand-dam, Smitten Kitten (Volksraad), also raced by Kevin, was a stakes winner at 1400 metres and multiple stakes placed among eight victories.

Valachi graduate Rainbow Thief records third win

Purchased as a yearling for $55,000 from the 2017 Valachi draft at Karaka, Rainbow Thief (3 g Rock ‘N’ Pop – Showzeel, by Zabeel) recorded his third win from seven starts in the $50,000 Benchmark 70 1500 metres last Wednesday at Sandown, Victoria.

He was a winner on the same course in July, before spelling. Ridden again by Dwayne Dunn on yielding ground, Rainbow Thief travelled comfortably in midfield before charging through to lead at the 200m and he powered away to win by three and a half lengths to suggest a good campaign lies ahead.

Selected by Paul Moroney, Rainbow Thief was educated and trialled by Ballymore co-trainer Pam Gerard at Matamata, before transferring to Mike Moroney at Flemington.

Around the farms with Gareth Downey

It was wonderful to have Kevin and Joanna at the farm last week, and their visit was capped off perfectly with them being at Ellerslie to witness the quinella by Communique and Karalino in the Gr.3 McKee Family Sunline Vase.

The racing team has been developing some excellent momentum recently. In the last 20 starts runners in the Valachi gold have produced five wins, including the Gr.3 win by Communique, and three seconds including the Gr.2 placing by Kelly Renee and the Gr.3 placing by Karalino.

The team at the Main Farm are making very good progress with handling and weaning the current crop of foals. There are 32 foals that have been weaned already and another 16 that have been handled and educated ready for weaning.

The team at the Parkvale Farm are also progressing really well in the early stages of the breaking in season, with 16 yearlings currently at varying stages of the process.

Finally, it has been superb to get a decent drop of rain this week and hopefully it will be the start of more to come, so we can start building the autumn flush of grass to carry us through into winter.

Racing previews

Thursday at Riccarton:

Weather: fine, track: Good3, rail: out 5 metres

3.57 p.m. R7 6 Baby Menaka (5 m Zed – Menaka, by Montjeu), T: John & Karen Parsons, Balcairn. J: Chris Johnson; resumed here with a good fifth in the Rating 65 2000 metres before a strong victory in the corresponding race on 21 February, beating last start winner Effervescent (Pentire). Remaining in the same grade for the $10,000 Rating 65 and Jumpers 2000 metres but up 3kgs to carry 57.5kgs, she rates an each way chance from barrier three. Fixed odds: $6.50 & $2.40.

Saturday at Ellerslie:

Weather: overcast, track: Dead4, rail: out 3 metres from 1000m – 400m, remainder true

3.40 p.m. R6 5 Kelly Renee (2 f Vespa – Sister Celeste, by Galileo), T: Stephen Autridge, Matamata, J: Craig Grylls; continued her good form with a cracking effort off the outside gate (12) for second to race rival Vernazza (More Than Ready) in the Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (Gr. 2, 1200m) a fortnight ago and contests the $200,000 Sistema Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m). She brings the right form to prove competitive from barrier three if appreciative of the course at her first attempt. Fixed odds: $23.00 & $2.80.

3.40 p.m. R6 7 Laced With Gold (2 f Showcasing – Malta Badia, by Fastnet Rock), T: Stephen Autridge, Matamata, J: Samantha Spratt; felt the pinch after co-leading a competitive pace on testing (Slow7) ground in the Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (Gr. 2, 1200m) and contests the $200,000 Sistema Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m). Strong winning her previous start on Good3 at Te Aroha, improved track conditions should coincide with a better performance. Fixed odds: $41.00 & $4.00.

Sunday at Gore:

Weather: overcast, track: Dead4, rail: true

2.17 p.m. R4 1 Pippi Rea (6 g Pins – Smitten Kitten, by Volksraad), T: John & Karen Parsons, Balcairn, J: Tina Comignaghi; remained rearward in the Open 1200 metres last Saturday at Wingatui, and backs up in the $15,000 Open 1200 metres. Placed in one of two course attempts, he reunites with the rider that won five in a row on him last season.

5.40 p.m. R10 13 Stirling Lady (4 m Falkirk – Pow Wow Jane, by Flying Spur), T: John & Karen Parsons, Balcairn. J: Tina Comignaghi; remained back when resuming and tracked them home again in the Rating 65 1600 metres on 21 February at Riccarton. Up in distance for the $10,000 Rating 65 and Jumpers 2000 metres and appears a softer assignment.

We wish you all the best for the weekend.

Get in touch with the team

Home of new three-time Group One winner U S Navy Flag (War Front), triple Group One placed stallion Savile Row (Makfi), proven horse Zacinto (Dansili), and associate sire War Decree (War Front) standing at Inglewood Stud, North Canterbury.

For any breeders who would like to inspect the stallions or find out more info, please get in touch with Gareth Downey on 027 205 6687 or gareth.downey@valachidowns.co.nz.

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