New association off to a winning start

Zareeba winning at New Plymouth on Thursday. Photo: Race Images

The recently established association between Valachi Downs and newly retained rider Craig Grylls got off to a winning start at New Plymouth on Thursday, courtesy of Zareeba (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle) in the Epsom & Ascot With George & Wheels Maiden (2000m).

“Craig Grylls has been contracted to ride for Valachi, which means his priority is to our horses but obviously he can ride for other trainers as well on race days,” Valachi Downs Manager Jonathan Scully said.

“It’s a good result and we’re very pleased to secure a rider of his quality. He’s ridden nearly 800 winners, over 50 Group and Listed races, has overseas experience, and he’s a good, solid, individual that works hard.”

Zareeba was Grylls’ first ride for the Kevin Hickman-owned establishment under the new agreement and he made the best possible start, winning by 1-1/4 lengths over Not Usual Dream (NZ) (Shocking), with 1-1/4 lengths back to Detonate (NZ) (Shocking) in third.

Zareeba had been placed in her previous two starts and trainer Jamie Richards was pleased to secure the maiden victory with the daughter of Rip Van Winkle.

“Valachi have been trying to get her in foal, hence why her races have been spaced, but the team at the middle barn are doing a great job with her because she’s not the most straightforward mare in
the world,” Richards said.

“She tries hard and whatever she might lack in natural ability she makes up for with toughness, so if we place her right she could go on and win another one or two.

“It’s very pleasing to get a win for Kevin Hickman and Valachi. They’re a big part of the New Zealand racing and breeding industry and huge investors. It’s always good to see their colours win.

“Full credit to Craig Grylls for a lovely ride and it’s a great way for him to kick-off his new association with Valachi as their retained rider, with a first-up win.”

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