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Valachi doffs cap to Baggy Green

Tofane on her way to her Group Two win on Saturday - Darryl Sherer
Tofane on her way to her Group Two win on Saturday

Darryl Sherer

Broodmare prospects by champion stallion Galileo (Ire) are prized commodities and a private purchase by Valachi Downs a few years ago has proved to be a blue chip investment for Kevin Hickman’s nursery.

He bought Baggy Green from Curraghmore’s Gordon Cunningham and subsequent events now make that deal one of the smartest pieces of business Valachi has completed.

Soon after changing hands, the mare’s half-sister Youngstar (High Chaparral {Ire}) won the G1 Queensland Oaks off the back of victory in the G2 The Roses and she is also a multiple Group 1 placegetter for Chris Waller.

This season has also seen the emergence of another half-sister from the champion trainer’s stable in Funstar (Adelaide {Ire}), who claimed the G1 Flight S. after also winning the G2 Tea Rose S. with the promise of much more from the high-class filly.

And at Caulfield on Saturday, Baggy Green’s daughter Tofane (NZ) (Ocean Park {NZ}) was successful for Michael Moroney in the G3 Bass Strait Beed Steaks S.

“When we bought the mare she had nothing. We just bought her because we wanted a Galileo,” Valachi manager Jonathan Scully said.

“Not long after we got her Youngstar came out, and now Funstar, and I had seen Tofane win at the Te Teko trials and she blew me away. She was a hell of a type and she looks like Group 1 material as well.”

Tofane was given her early education at the Matamata arm of Moroney’s operation under the guidance of Pam Gerard and the mare was subsequently purchased by the trainer and stable clients. She has now won three of her seven starts.

“We bought Baggy Green off Gordy and she ended up being in foal to Pins and we’ve got a Reliable Man colt and still undecided where he will go,” Scully said.

“It will either be Book 1 at Karaka or Easter or Melbourne and she’s in foal to Ocean Park again. She’s dry and didn’t have a foal this year and we’d love to get a filly out of the mare now.

“We won’t quote the numbers, but I negotiated the deal and got her a little bit cheaper than what Gordy wanted to sell her for.

“Then Kevin turned around and told me not to be so miserable and go back and give him what he wanted because it had to be a win-win for everyone. She’s one hell of a buy now and very, very valuable.

“There’s nothing like having a mare like Baggy Green and then having a family that’s on fire. There aren’t many of them around.”

Baggy Green, who was successful once at 1600 metres, is out of Starspangled (Ire) (Danehill {USA}), also a minor winner, and her dam is the former champion European 3-year-old User Friendly (GB) (Slip Anchor {GB}).

She won at Group 1 level in the English, Irish and Yorkshire Oaks, the St Leger and in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and has also produced Starspangledbanner’s dual Group 3 winning sister Downtown (Ire).

“We had a good day with Tofane winning and Secret Allure, by Zacinto, so we had a couple of Group winners within a couple of hours,” Scully said. “Kevin gets as much joy out of that as racing them himself. It’s just as big a buzz.”

Zacinto (GB) stands at Valachi alongside Savile Row (NZ) and the popular newcomer U S Navy Flag (USA) and his daughter Secret Allure (NZ) doubled her Group 3 tally when last season’s Desert Gold S. winner was successful in the Taranaki Breeders S.

The Lisa Latta-trained 4-year-old’s main spring aim is the G2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile during New Zealand Cup week. She is the only winner so far for Secret Scent (NZ) (O’Reilly {NZ}) and was bred by Gus Wigley of Inglewood Stud, where Zacinto began his career. - Paul Vitesse, TDN AUSNZ


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