More than a year has passed since the closure of Kevin Hickman’s Valachi Downs operation, but a black-type double over the weekend showed that his influence continues to be strongly felt in the Australasian thoroughbred industry.
The first of the Hickman-bred feature winners was Benaud in the Listed Wyong Gold Cup on Friday afternoon, which was followed less than 24 hours later by Chantilly Lace in the Listed HS Dyke Wanganui Guineas.
That was the second stakes win for Chantilly Lace, who had previously won the Listed Castletown Stakes in June. The daughter of U S Navy Flag has now had nine starts for three wins and three placings for Foxton trainer Chrissy Bambry, who shares ownership with her parents, Tony and Judith.
Chantilly Lace was one of 52 yearlings, two-year-olds and racehorses offered in the Valachi Downs Unreserved Young & Racing Stock Dispersal on Gavelhouse Plus in July of last year. The Bambrys teamed up with Paul Moroney Bloodstock to secure Chantilly Lace for $66,000.
The classy filly has now returned $115,875 in stakes and is building towards the Gr. 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas at Riccarton in November. Her residual value has already clearly surpassed her purchase price, with the promise of much more yet to come.
Chantilly Lace is just one of the success stories to come out of the Valachi Downs dispersal. Fellow U S Navy Flag filly Aprilia was a $72,500 purchase by Brown Thoroughbreds and Lib Petagna’s JML Bloodstock. She had three starts as a two-year-old last season for a win and two placings, including a second to Pignan in the Gr. 1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes on April 1. She was a recent trial placegetter at Cambridge and is also potentially on the New Zealand 1000 Guineas trail.
Another subsequent black-type performer to come out of the dispersal is Val Di Zoldo, who was bought by Frontier Bloodstock and Kinsale Bloodstock for $285,000.
The daughter of War Decree had already performed up to Group Three level in Hickman’s gold and blue colours, running second behind Maven Belle in the Gr. 3 Taranaki 2YO Classic in her second start. Her three-year-old season produced two wins and three placings for her new connections, headed by a valuable victory in the Gr. 2 Lowland Stakes, and she also finished fourth in the Gr. 2 Eight Carat Classic, Gr. 2 Royal Stakes and Gr. 3 Soliloquy Stakes.
Syndicators Go Racing secured Savabeel filly Sedaka for $125,000. She had nine starts as a three-year-old last season for a win and four placings, finishing second in the Gr. 2 Royal Stakes and Gr. 3 Sunline Vase before a last-start fifth in the Gr. 1 New Zealand Oaks.
Charbano (by Vespa) changed hands for $16,000 and joined the Riccarton stable of Michael and Matthew Pitman. He was a maiden winner last spring before running fourth in the Gr. 3 Barneswood Farm Stakes, sixth in the Gr. 3 War Decree Stakes, fourth in the Listed Gore Guineas, third in the Listed Dunedin Guineas and fourth in the Listed Southland Guineas.
Elsie May, by Time Test, was a $22,500 purchase and won twice from five starts last season. She also finished sixth in the Gore Guineas and seventh in the Dunedin Guineas.
Fellow Time Test filly Persual was bought for $9,250 and won a maiden race worth A$30,000 at Ipswich in March, while the $90,000 purchase Delphine (by Vadamos) was a maiden winner at Otaki earlier this year.
Add to that list U S Navy Flag filly Tears Of Victory, who was bought by Tim Harrison for $18,000 during the dispersal sale. The three-year-old filly was a smart debut winner at Matamata in late August and is nominated for the 1000 Guineas. Another daughter of U S Navy Flag, Semper Supra, sold for $23,000 and was a two-year-old winner at Riverton in April.
Talented mare Aris Aris, who was bought for $72,500 to add to the Nearco Stud portfolio, has now had 13 starts for four wins, five placings and $78,205 in stakes.
Meanwhile, Friday’s Wyong Gold Cup hero Benaud became the third individual stakes winner out of the sensational broodmare Baggy Green, who is also the dam of Group One winners Tofane and No Compromise.
Benaud, who had previously been runner-up to Hitotsu in last year’s Gr. 1 Australian Derby, was bought by trainer John O’Shea for $280,000 from the Karaka 2020 draft of Valachi Downs. His 22-start career has now amassed more than A$720,000 in stakes for his connections.
Baggy Green also played a starring role in the Valachi dispersal last winter. The mare herself was secured by Yulong for $1.75 million, while her yearling filly by Ocean Park – a full-sister to Tofane – was bought by the same powerhouse operation for $460,000.