The talented Irish born owner of Valiant Stud worked for a number of years at famed Thoroughbred nursery, Segenhoe Stud working with top stallions like Merchant Navy, before realizing the dream of having his own farm.
Here Connolly describes their best yearlings from their 2021 draft and how anticipating buying trends has shaped their draft the way it has.
Q: Please share your pick of the top five headline horses from your spectacular Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling draft and tell us more about why they are special?
Q: Please tell us about your sale-toppers for this sale (in 2020) and your top-performing graduates from this sale historically?
A: In 2020 we had a nice select draft of horses and although she did not sell- Fake Love was our highest price yearling. She won the Debutante Stakes and is en route towards the Magic Millions.
We achieved A$240,000 for the Written Tycoon filly from Rockolicious who went to the stable of Matt Laurie - she was a beautiful athletic filly with ample scope. I think we will be seeing her very soon named Delicious Tycoon.
Graduates from our draft include So United, Alfoil, Whorunstheworld, Rusconi, Djounie, Saltoree, Lawyers Delights, Caspian Sea, Delicious Tycoon, Sudoko.
Q: Which sires do you expect to see do well in the 2021 edition of the MM GC Yearling Sale?
A: I Am Invincible, Snitzel, Pierro and Fastnet Rock of the proven brigade, as well as the first season, sires Capitalist and Shalaa and stallions with their first yearlings Merchant Navy and Invader.
Q: Given the resilience showing by the industry in this very difficult year, could you tell us what buying trends you are expecting in 2021 and how that has shaped your draft?
A: The racing and breeding industries have been very pliable through these tough times. Racing continued with amended conditions and it was a welcome distraction from the situation. I expect there to be a great show of support from buyers at all the major sales this year in response to the easing of restrictions. Our draft contains some representation from New Zealand, Western Australia, and Victoria so owners have targeted the Magic Millions to get some early sales.
Q: What are the other sales you will be attending over the next few months and could you tell us about the highlights of your 2021 combined drafts?
A: We will be preparing yearlings for the Inglis Classic Sale, the Inglis Easter sale, and Magic Millions National Sale again this year. I think the Fastnet Rock filly from Antillanca is a standout going to Easter.
Q: Please tell us about your top-performing graduates and what makes them special.
A: Fake Love would have to be one of the most professional fillies we have ever worked with. Her attitude towards her work was second to none and this has transpired into her racing career. She had an abundance of natural muscle right through her preparation and everyone anticipated she would be precocious.
Q: What would you say has been your most successful personal and professional achievement this year?
A: A horse I bred and race with some friends of mine went to a Sydney TAB Highway race and ran a super close 2nd.
Professionally I feel Ziva myself and the team adapted to the curveball Covid threw and we continued to prepare yearlings to a very high standard. Having to become an online business has really helped us grow in this space.