In an act of generosity, Valachi Downs principals Kevin and Jo Hickman have gifted a regally bred filly to the CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Research Trust, founded by Little Avondale Stud’s Catriona Williams.
The weanling filly is by Darley stallion Brazen Beau, who will stand at a fee of A$49,500 this coming season. She is out of Stepanova, a Danehill Dancer mare whose dam, Dance On By, is a full-sister to six-time Group One winner and champion sire High Chaparral.
“It’s a beautiful, strong family,” Valachi Downs Stud Manager Jonathan Scully said.
“Hopefully Kevin gets another filly (out of the mare), because he loves to keep his fillies and sell his colts.
“Not only is it a massive gesture giving her away, but how Kevin operates, to give this one away is pretty substantial.”
In a double dose of generosity towards the charity, the Hickmans also purchased the Brazen Beau service at a CatWalk Trust charity event a few of years ago.
The service fee was donated by Godolphin’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who has been a great supporter of the CatWalk Trust for more than a decade.
“Godolphin have had a reasonably long association with the CatWalk Trust. It is a foundation that we have taken seriously and appreciate the work they do,” Godolphin Head of Sales Alastair Pulford said.
“Sheikh Mohammed and Godolphin have always provided something worthwhile to help with their fundraising, because we obviously feel it is very important.
“We were very happy to donate a nomination to Brazen Beau back in 2017. I was there for the auction and witnessed a very spirited bidding duel between Kevin Hickman, whose generosity is unbelievable, and Tony Rider, who was the underbidder.
“Brazen Beau, at the time, had an advertised service fee of A$40,000, so it was a tremendous act of generosity both Kevin and Tony showed towards the CatWalk Trust. Godolphin are very grateful to them as well.”
Hickman selected Stepanova for the mating and at New Zealand Bloodstock’s Yearling Sales earlier this year he decided to gift the resulting filly back to the CatWalk Trust.
“Kevin has always wanted to do something for CatWalk and for Catriona with all the work she has done,” Scully said.
“Kevin came to me at Karaka this year and said he had come up with a cunning plan.
“We went around to see Catriona. I left Kevin to it to tell her (that he was gifting her charity the filly) and when I went back she was crying, she couldn’t believe what he was doing.”
The filly is earmarked to go through Valachi Downs’ draft at Karaka next January and Scully is over the moon with the amount of support this incentive is receiving from a number of people.
“We are hoping to put her through Karaka next year in Book 1,” Scully said.
“New Zealand Bloodstock have confirmed that they will waive the entry and commission fees, which is great, so all proceeds will go directly to the CatWalk Trust.
“Hopefully we might get someone prepared to stump up and pay top dollar for a quality horse and hopefully we can get them to go a bit further because it’s all going to a charity.
“Our vets and farriers are all coming onboard and everything they do for the horse is going to be at no charge, as a donation from them. We have got the full support across the board, so that is a great asset.”
Scully said Hickman has had a longtime interest in the CatWalk Trust and his close friendship with Snow Reardon was a driving factor for his support for the charity.
“One of Kevin’s great mates, Snow Reardon, has been in a wheel chair since he was 18 or 19 when he was injured in a car accident. Kevin has always been a great supporter of Snow his entire life,” Scully said.
“That’s probably given him that close affinity with the CatWalk Trust and Catriona. Snow is actually the one who came up with the name Valachi for the farm.”
Williams has been overwhelmed by the generosity shown by the Hickmans, which she said would help the Charity’s cause tremendously.
“CatWalk cannot thank Valachi Downs enough for their incredible generosity of gifting their stunning Brazen Beau filly to CatWalk.
“I’ve been fortunate to spend time with a number of former jockeys who have spinal injuries, most recently Sophie Grant and Sophia Malthus.
“Like me, they would give anything to be back on their feet again.
“Research is CatWalk’s focus and that’s exactly where the proceeds from the auction of this filly will go.
“CatWalk’s aim is to get Sophie, Sophia and anyone who dreams of walking back on their feet again.” – NZ Racing Desk