Former Derby winner Puccini to start stud career in New Zealand

Former Derby winner Puccini will return to New Zealand to stand at stud.
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Former Derby winner Puccini will return to New Zealand to stand at stud.

Former champion New Zealand three-year-old Puccini brings another healthy dose of Group I quality to the Mapperley Stud stallion roster.

The New Zealand Derby winner will stand his first season in 2017 at Simms Davison's Matamata nursery, already home to the top-flight performers Complacent, Contributer and He's Remarkable.

Puccini was the star performer in New Zealand in his classic season when, under the guidance of Peter and Jacob McKay, he triumphed in the Group I New Zealand Derby off the back of Group II wins in the Great Northern, Waikato and Avondale Guineas.

He came back the following term for Group III victories in the Merial Metric Mile and the Thompson Handicap. He was subsequently runner-up in the Group I Captain Cook Stakes and then went one better in the Group I Thorndon Mile.

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Puccini later had stints with Darren Weir and Wayne Walters in Australia where he was a multiple Group placegetter.

"He was the best three-year-old in New Zealand by a country mile and he trained on as a four-year-old for another great season," Davison said.

"He's a good-looking, correct horse with a great nature – he's very exciting."

A son of champion stallion Encosta de Lago, Puccini is out of stakes-winning Paris Opera mare Miss Opera. She is also the dam of the six-time Group I winner Sir Slick and from the family of Group II winner Amarula and Group III winner Little Wonder.

"The mare produces durable horses who perform at the top level," Davison said. "He's got a fantastic New Zealand pedigree and he represents outstanding value."

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Puccini was bred by the late Paul Smithies and his wife Cushla, of Monovale Farm, and the family will stand the stallion with Mapperley at an introductory fee of $5000 + GST.

"This is very much a family-orientated partnership and Monovale will be sending a lot of their top mares to Puccini, as will Mapperley," Davison said.

"We have formed the Puccini Club, which will offer huge rewards to breeders who commit to the horse for a number of years."

– NZ Racing Desk.

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