Guineas Victory for Valbuena

Pencarrow Racing celebrated a successful day on the turf at Ellerslie yesterday with Valbuena winning the $85,000 Group 2 The Falls Restaurant Avondale Guineas (2100m).

A lightly raced three-year-old, Valbuena (Darci Brahma x Vega Sicilia) put himself right into Group 1 NZ Derby contention yesterday under jockey James McDonald, racing a little better than mid-field before tearing away in the straight to a half-length victory in a strong staying performance.

“It was a great run and a great ride from McDonald,” said trainer Bruce Wallace. “I said to Peter and Philip (Vela) from day one that the horse has ability and he has had his share of bad luck but it was his race yesterday and it was great to see him run away from the field in the last 200 metres.

“He has taken his time to learn to race and he has still got a lot of growing to do, he will be even better as a four-year-old. We have been taking him along slowly and it was Peter’s idea to target this race rather than heading to the Waikato Guineas and it proved the right decision.

“Winning these races really comes down to a team effort and we had the horse right for the race so full credit to the team and to the Velas.”

Valbuena’s last start came in the Group 2 Wellington Stakes (1600m) where he finished an unlucky fifth to Weissmuller (Handsome Ransom) and he clearly enjoyed the step up in trip in yesterday’s race. The victory has seen his odds for the NZ Derby tumble to $6.

The son of Darci Brahma was bred and is raced by Peter and Philip Vela’s Pencarrow Stud and was offered by Pencarrow Stud at the 2011 Select Sale before being offered Kilgravin Lodge at the 2011 Ready to Run Sale.

Valbuena is the eighth stakes winner for his sire Darci Brahma who was also bred by Pencarrow Stud. Darci Brahma’s progeny are having a good season on the track with Nashville, Darci be Good, Sir Lovesalot and the crack two-year-old filly Recite also successful at stakes level.

Valbuena is from Group 1 placed Rodrigo de Triano mare Vega Sicilia and is from the family of Group 1 winner Star Dancer who was also trained by Bruce Wallace.

Vega Sicilia did not have a foal last season and was covered by So You Think.