Valachi Downs Finish on a High

Media Release - Friday June 17

There were mixed emotions at Karaka on Friday as 20 weanlings presented as Valachi Downs’ final offering at a physical sale found new homes when sold at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Weanling Sale.

The youngsters sold for an aggregate of $1.3 million, headlined by lot 1005, the Savabeel colt out of Bohemian Lily, who was purchased by Te Akau principal David Ellis for $360,000.

Lot 1005, the Savabeel colt out of Bohemian Lily, was purchased out of Valachi Downs’ draft by Te Akau principal David Ellis for $360,000. Photo: Trish Dunell

“I thought it was a great opportunity to buy from Valachi,” Ellis said.

“These are the best foals that they bred that year. They are here for a really genuine sale.

“I love the pedigree. We have got three Savabeel colts that are now at stud – Noverre, Embellish and Cool Aza Beel.

“I thought this is a Group One colt in the making if ever I have seen one. We are thrilled to have him for Te Akau Racing.”

Valachi Downs General Manager Gareth Downey was pleased with the result and he expected the colt to make that sort of money.


“It was a really pleasing result,” he said.

“I think we brought a very nice line-up of horses here that were very well received by the buying bench.

“They got somewhere between weanling and yearling prices, and it was a yearling quality draft that came to a weanling sale. They deserved to be appreciated like they were.

“I thought if he stopped at $300,000 then there could still be some pinhookers that would be interested because it is reasonable to think he could be a $600,000 kind of yearling if everything went well between now and then,” he said.

“I thought somewhere between $300,000 and $400,000 is where he would be sitting and that was exactly the money he made.

“It was great he went to Te Akau where he will be able to race in New Zealand and he will get opportunity.”

It was an emotional sale for the Valachi Downs team, headed by General Manager Gareth Downey (centre). Photo: Angelique Bridson

With the quality of their draft, the Valachi Downs team have been rushed off their feet with inspections this week and Downey was proud to see his team perform so well under pressure.

“Kevin (Hickman, Valachi Downs Principal) has such an appreciation for his team and they have such an appreciation for him,” Downey said.

“it was inspiring to watch the way the team worked together over those last few days for that last draft, where motivation could have been struggling.”

It was a bittersweet day for Downey, who is overlooking the final stages of Valachi Downs’ stock dispersal.

“This will be the last time Valachi will ever sell at a public auction,” he said.

“Valachi have been such big supporters of New Zealand, and particularly New Zealand Bloodstock.

“It is great to be here with the final draft. It is very bittersweet, we would love to be carrying on for many more years, but it felt important to go out on a high note to honour Kevin, and it feels like that is what we have done.

“It is great to see the product honoured the way it was and the team effort was absolutely phenomenal. We are so lucky to have the team of people that we have at Valachi.

“This is the first stage of the four-stage dispersal process. Tonight 51 broodmares will go online (on and they will sell over the next week.

“As the hammer comes down on them, 52 of the racing stock go live online, and they sell for a week.

“We then have two weeks respite until the last of the horses, which is 21 weanlings and a few other mixed stock will go online right at the end of July.” – NZ Racing Desk

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