Pencarrow Stud a Spectacular Source of Racetrack Success

Throughout the more than three decades since Sir Peter Vela founded Pencarrow Stud in partnership with his late brother Philip, the stud’s name and its recognisable ‘V in a box’ brand have become renowned as an outstanding nursery of thoroughbred talent.

The breeders of 20 individual Group One winners, the Velas boast an extraordinary record across multiple generations of their blue-blooded thoroughbred families. The brothers were named New Zealand Breeders of the Year in 2000 and 2002.

The most recent addition to that Group One list is Dunkel (NZ) (Dundeel), who was offered as part of Pencarrow Stud’s Book 1 draft at Karaka 2021. He was bought for $40,000 and has turned that into almost A$700,000 in prize-money, with six wins from nine career starts headed by the Group One South Australian Derby (2500m) in May.

That continued a proud tradition of success in coveted three-year-old classic races for Pencarrow graduates, who have also won:

  • Group One New Zealand Derby (2400m) – Cavallieri (NZ) (Gaius), who was sold at Karaka in 1990.
  • Group One New Zealand Oaks (2400m) – Vapour Trail (NZ) (Jetball), who was New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year in 2002.
  • Group One New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) – the Riccarton classic holds a special race in Pencarrow’s history, with victories by Noble Heights (NZ) (Sir Tristram), Clear Rose (NZ) (Deputy Governor) and Insouciant (NZ) (Keeper).
  • Group One New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) – Darci Brahma (NZ) (Danehill), who was sold through Pencarrow’s Karaka yearling draft in 2004, scored a spectacular win in the Riccarton classic in 2005. A decade later, the 2000 Guineas was won in similarly emphatic fashion by Turn Me Loose (NZ) (Iffraaj), who was bred by Mana Park’s George and Maryanne Simon with their leased Pencarrow mare Indomitable (NZ) (Danehill). Pencarrow will offer a half-brother to Turn Me Loose as Lot 139 in their Karaka 2024 draft.
  • Group One Thousand Guineas (1600m) – the prestigious fillies’ classic at Caulfield was won by Riverina Charm (NZ) (Sir Tristram), an outstanding racehorse who won a total of four Group One races including three in Australia.
  • Group One Rosehill Guineas (2000m) – this Sydney classic also features on Riverina Charm’s CV, while another Pencarrow graduate to win the Rosehill Guineas was De Beers (NZ) (Quest for Fame), who was sold at Karaka in 2004.
  • Group One Australasian Oaks (2000m) – the Adelaide showpiece delivered Group One glory for Grand Echezeaux (NZ) (Zabeel), who went on to become a wonderful member of Pencarrow’s broodmare band with four black-type performers among her five winning foals.
  • Group One South Australian Oaks (2400m) – Marmalitre (NZ) (Wolverton) won the Adelaide feature in 1987.
  • Group One South African Fillies’ Guineas (1600m) & Group One Cape Fillies’ Guineas (1600m) – both won in the 2000-01 season by the exceptional Hoeberg (NZ) (Maroof). She was a $350,000 purchase at Karaka in 1999.

These results are proof of the Velas’ strength in their select broodmare band of richly bred mares in the fertile paddocks of Pencarrow Stud.

Their greatest success story is undoubtedly the immortal Ethereal (NZ) (Rhythm), whose legacy is enshrined with a statue at Pencarrow Stud.

Born at Pencarrow in the spring of 1997, Ethereal soared to international fame four years later with superb victories in the Group One Caufield Cup (2400m) and Melbourne Cup (3200m). She was the 11th horse to complete that legendary double in the same season.

Overall, Ethereal won four Group One races among her total of eight wins, amassing more than $5 million in prize-money. She was Champion Stayer in Australia and New Zealand in the 2001-02 season.

Pencarrow has also bred and raised many other top flight performers of the last couple of decades, such as Eleonora (NZ) (Makfi), Silver Eclipse (NZ) (Darci Brahma), Dolmabache (NZ) (Redoute’s Choice), Our Ella Belle (NZ) (Encosta De Lago), Darci's Dream (NZ) (Darci Brahma), Rhythm to Spare (NZ) (Pins), Wildflower (NZ) (Keeper), Te Akau Coup (NZ) (Thorn Park), Rasa Lila (NZ) (Darci Brahma), Supera (NZ) (Savabeel) and Pearl Of Alsace (NZ) (Tavisock).

A recent addition to that list is Pearl Of Alsace’s half-sister Zourion (NZ) (Zoustar), who was offered in the Pencarrow draft in Book 1 of Karaka 2022 and was bought by Te Akau Racing’s David Ellis for $475,000. She was a Group Two winner as a two-year-old in last season’s Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m), and she placed in the Group Two Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) in Melbourne. She is becoming a valuable prospect for Cambridge Stud owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay.

Pencarrow’s proven track record has generated hot demand in the sale ring, with more than half a dozen yearlings reaching the $1 million mark. That group includes the 2004 sale-topper Darci Brahma, who put Pencarrow’s name in lights in the sale ring, on the racetrack and at stud.

By Danehill out of Group One-winning Pencarrow homebred Grand Echezeaux, Darci Brahma was bought by Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis for $1.1 million.

Darci Brahma won 10 of his 19 starts and more than $1.2 million, including Group One victories in Brisbane’s TJ Smith Classic (1600m) and the New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m), Otaki-Maori WFA (1600m), Telegraph Handicap (1200m) and Waikato Sprint (1200m). He placed in another five Group One races including the Australian Guineas (1600m), and was named New Zealand’s Champion 2YO and Champion 3YO.

Darci Brahma and his fellow sale-topping sibling Burgundy (NZ) both followed up their multiple stakes successes on the racetrack by making a real impact at stud.

Other elite Pencarrow graduates include the multiple Group One winner Star Dancer (Star Watch), electrifying sprinter Guiseppina (NZ) (Johar), Sydney Group One winners Allez Suez (Canny Lad) and Linesman (NZ) (Touching Wood) and Group One-winning Tethys (NZ) (Kings Island).

Romanee Conti (NZ) (Sir Tristram) might be best remembered as the dam of Ethereal, but she was a high-quality racehorse in her own right, winning five Group and Listed races including Sydney’s Group Three Queen of the Turf Stakes (1500m), which is now a Group One race, along with flying the New Zealand flag on the world stage with a victory in the Hong Kong Cup (1800m).

Pencarrow Stud will offer another high-quality draft of 24 yearlings during Book 1 of Karaka 2024, which runs from Sunday January 28 to Tuesday January 30.