Two recent Flemington wins by Vassilator have added to the profile of leading young stallion Zacinto.
Matamata nursery Valachi Downs broke fresh ground with the recent announcement that home-bred Savile Row will take up stud duties there in the spring, and the ante has been raised with the news that leading southern sire Zacinto is set to transfer north.
Six years ago Valachi Downs principal Kevin Hickman joined Inglewood Stud and Windsor Park Stud to import the well-performed Dansili stallion and has since reaped the rewards with outstanding sale results by Zacinto yearlings as well as being co-owner of one his best performers, Ugo Foscolo.
Back in 2012 Valachi Downs was undergoing rapid change from its boutique beginnings and now hosts a broodmare band of more than 100, most of them based at the Matamata farm but others as far afield as Europe.
Valachi’s shareholding in Zacinto has already meant breeding a number of mares to him each year, and the support will increase come spring time, as will that of the 12-year-old’s other shareholder, nearby Windsor Park Stud.
Meanwhile the void left by Zacinto’s departure from Inglewood Stud in North Canterbury will be filled by another quality import, the Group-winning War Front horse War Decree. In a neat segue, Inglewood will retain an interest in Zacinto, while Valachi Downs and Inglewood have signed up as equal partners in War Decree.
That deal was struck earlier this week with original owners Coolmore Stud and War Decree, the winner of the Gr. 2 Goodwood Vintage Stakes for the Aidan O’Brien-Ryan Moore combination, is set to take up duties at the Wigley family’s Inglewood Stud at a fee of $6,500 plus GST.
“From the time we got involved with Zacinto it’s been a very successful partnership with Gus Wigley,” commented Valachi Downs general manager Jonathan Scully. “It’s worked for all of us and now we’re looking forward to the next chapter.
“We have bred over 40 mares to Zacinto since he retired to stud, so we certainly have an idea of the type of quality stock he leaves and the exceptional record he has started to amass at stud.
“His record of stakes winners to starters stands at something like 8.8 per cent, which is quite incredible for a young stallion with just three crops on the track.
“Valachi has had fantastic results taking Zacinto progeny to the sales and you only have to look at his returns from the last Karaka sale with an average of $116,000 to realise how popular he is with buyers.
“Those yearlings were bred off a service fee of just $4,500, which is a great result for anyone lucky enough to have offered one by him. His fee had gone to $12,000 for the 2017 season and we believe that a further rise to $15,000 this year is more than justified given his record. Zacinto will find a definite place in the northern market and with the opportunities he will get in a much wider broodmare pool the future is very exciting.”
Scully accompanied Gus Wigley to England and Ireland last week to inspect Zacinto’s Inglewood Stud replacement War Decree and the pair returned to New Zealand convinced the new horse will fit the bill for the proven partnership as well as for southern broodmare owners.
“He’s a grouse horse with the performance, type and pedigree to do the same job that Zacinto has done,” Scully said.
Juddmonte Farm-bred Zacinto, the winner of the Gr. 2 Goodwood Celebration Mile and second in the Gr. 1 Queen Elizabeth ll Stakes at Ascot, took little time to make his mark at stud with three stakes winners from his first crop.
Ugo Foscolo led the way with victory in the Listed Hamilton Vets Equine Stakes at Te Rapa as an autumn two-year-old, followed by spring wins in the Gr. 2 James & Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes and Gr. 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas.
Fellow first crop member Odeon made his mark in Australia as a Listed winner and placegetter in the Gr. 1 South Australian Derby, and Inglewood home-bred Zigwig won the Listed Champagne Stakes at Riccarton in her first season.
Again this year Zacinto filly Secret Allure has added another win for her sire in the Champagne Stakes, while his profile across the Tasman has been enhanced lately by the exciting two-year-old colt Vassilator, a stakes winner at Flemington last month and impressive again when winning at headquarters last weekend.