The signs are very good for young stallion Vespa, whose move north to Valachi Downs this season gives him the chance to move up a gear.
In spite of limited numbers, Vespa boasts some slick results from his first crop of runners and finished the 2019-20 season runner up on the New Zealand First Season Sires list by earnings, just a short $3,285 behind Sweynesse.
Vespa topped the same list by wins with four, while also finishing second equal with Savabeel on the overall New Zealand 2YO Sires list by wins.
The son of Elusive City was a Group 1-winning Champion 2YO of his year, capturing the Diamond Stakes and the lucrative Karaka Million. He began his stud career at Wellfield Lodge, where his first three seasons saw him cover a total of 209 mares.
From just a small handful of runners, he was represented by Chokito, who won three and placed in two of her six starts, as well as Piaggio and Kelly Renee who both placed at black-type level.
The below table ranks New Zealand’s leading first season sires over the last five seasons, including the number of mares covered in their first book. Considering his relatively small numbers, Vespa’s results are impressive. He compares favourably with some higher-profile and higher-priced stallions.
Homebred Valachi Downs filly Kelly Renee may still be a maiden after her two-year-old season, but she put her sire’s name in lights with her black-type performances during the 2019-20 season.
She made her stakes debut in the Group 2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes, enduring a gruelling wide run without cover but refusing to throw in the towel. She kept coming all of the way down the straight, finishing a close and brave second.
Kelly Renee stepped up to Group 1 level in the Sistema Stakes and starred again, charging out of the second half of the field to run third.
Piaggio, meanwhile, showed precocity with an impressive victory in the early spring, and he has placed in three of his other four starts. That includes a second in the Group 3 Woburn Farm 2YO Classic at New Plymouth in February.