The green pastures and undulating countryside of a small 50-acre dairy farm situated in Matamata, New Zealand was enough to convince owners Kevin and Joanna Hickman to start their passion for thoroughbred breeding in 2005.
From those modest beginnings, Kevin and Joanna have quietly built a stud that now operates on more than 600 acres and covers all aspects of breeding and racing, including significant expansions in 2018 with the standing of stallions in a new purposely built station and the acquisition of a private training facility adjacent to the nearby Matamata racecourse.
The stud’s ambitions remain focused on breeding elite athletes both to present its colts for sale at the annual yearling sales and with the fillies retained to race in the stud’s Old Gold and Royal Blue colours.
An illustrious record of success in both the sale ring and on the racetrack has been witnessed since the first New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sale draft presented by Valachi Downs in 2008. Karaka 2020 saw the best results ever for a Valachi draft with a Book 1 clearance rate of 92%. A new top price of $330,000 was realised when the Vadamos colt from Surooh sold to Paul Moroney, while another Vadamos colt from Sapphire Belle sold to Michael Hickmott for $300,000. The Vadamos colt from Silke Top topped the Book 2 session at $185,000, going to the bid of Paul Moroney and Ballymore Stables.
Valachi Downs has been purpose built from the ground up, incorporating the many terrains of the region. Hill country, rolling pastures and lush flat lands make up the landscape of the stud, along with first class stabling facilities and kilometres of post and rail fencing. Valachi Downs is a reflection of the focus on quality and attention to detail that is synonymous with the co-founder of Ryman Healthcare and stud owner Kevin Hickman, along with his wife Joanna.
Valachi Downs’ broodmare band is world-class, featuring superior global pedigrees. We have carefully hand-picked mares from Europe, Australia and New Zealand to visit some of the best stallions Australasia, and even the world, has to offer. As we strive to breed quality racehorses, selected fillies are retained to race and breed.
Home to Group 1-winning trainer Stephen Autridge, the Valachi Racing team is one of the country’s largest private racing operations, also complemented by our Parkvale property for breaking, pre-training and spelling of young racehorses. Our extensive facilities give the Old Gold and Royal blue colours the ammunition they need for success.