HE may have been formerly known among thoroughbred industry participants as working for some big-name Upper Hunter Valley operations, but Fergal Connolly has branched out to establish his own operational farm – Valiant Stud, and will be offering its first draft of youngsters at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale this week.
More than $150 million is expected to be generated by the end of Saturday night the conclusion of the 853 catalogued lots of Book 1 – Valiant Stud’s 13 well-bred catalogued lots among them.
The Gold Coast has filled to capacity for its major summer event, where wallets will be loosened to cater for the big prices expected for the loyally bred thoroughbred youngsters.
Irish-born Fergal initiated Valiant Stud – a 200-acre boutique property near Aberdeen, about seven months ago.
He ventured to our shores because he wanted to see the Australian thoroughbred.
“I came out (almost 10 years ago) on a working holiday visa, and it has snowballed from there,” said Fergal who I found among the Magic Millions Bloodstock’s stable complex.
“I love Australia; and I am actually an Australian citizen now; I love the culture, the lifestyle, the people.”
Fergal does not believe that there is much of a difference in the quality of the Irish to the Australian thoroughbred, but admitted they can vary.
“Both the Irish and the Australian thoroughbreds have their own strengths, they (the Australian bred) are a different animal and are suited to the conditions down here.”
The Magic Millions is a renowned “hunting ground” for the wide range of international buyers that have descended upon the Gold Coast, many of them leaving many millions of dollars behind for purchased yearlings, some costing a million dollars and beyond.
Wonder mare Winx, and scintillating gelding Redzel, are prime examples of the Magic Millions mega-million dollar graduates of the sale.
The Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale – which kicks off the 2019 round of the Australasian sales’ season, has become a world mecca among industry people, as well as vendors flocking to the coastal resort for holidays while completing their thoroughbred commitments.
The Magic Millions Carnival is not just about the yearling sale (its 33rd edition), but has developed into 12 days of festivities, which also consists of the $10m Magic Millions Raceday this Saturday, and more recently hosts the Magic Millions Polo tournament.