Tivaci seals spot at Waikato Stud
The combined forces of three Matamata entities stood together on the Randwick victory podium last Saturday when Tivaci won the A$600,000 All-Aged Stakes.
Trainer Mike Moroney and his bloodstock agent brother Paul, Waikato Stud principal Mark Chittick and Blandford Lodge part-owner Lib Petagna had plenty to gain from Tivaci’s breakthrough Group One win when he stormed down the outside with a career-defining performance.
For the Moroney brothers the Sydney autumn carnival success was yet another major win that underlined their respective sales selection and training skills, just as it was another big result for principal owner, Wellington businessman Lib Petagna, who last year joined Matamata couple Graham and Helen-Gaye Bax as a coowner of one of the district’s most historic thoroughbred properties.
And for Waikato Stud, Tivaci’s win at the highest level was a dream result just weeks after the handsome four-year-old had been identified as the next recruit for the stallion roster at New Zealand’s leading nursery.
In early March it was announced that Waikato had bought into Tivaci’s ownership, which until then had comprised Lib Petagna along with Mike Moroney’s Ballymore Stables and a number of Australian clients.
Paul Moroney’s keen eye had spotted the son of former New Zealand stallion High Chaparral at the 2014 Sydney Easter Yearling Sales, where he was offered in the Princes Farm draft of his breeder, legendary trainer Bart Cummings. Paul wasn’t the only scout impressed by the strapping bay colt, and unbeknown to each other he and fellow New Zealand agent Bruce Perry, manager of the Petagna JML Bloodstock port- folio, engaged in a bidding duel.
‘‘I had Lib on the phone back in Wellington and it was our bid at $240,000,’’ Bruce recalled this week. ‘‘Then I spotted Paul come in with the next bid at $250,000, so I said to Lib we may as well pull the pin and find another way to get into the horse.’’
The upshot was that JML Bloodstock became a 40 per cent shareholder in the horse that became known as Tivaci, whose racing career began from Ballymore’s Flemington stable with a win in provincial Victoria in the spring of 2015. By the midsummer of his three-year-old season Tivaci was the winner of the Gr. 3 C S Hayes Stakes at Flemington and he added the Sunshine Coast Guineas at Caloundra during the Queensland winter carnival.
Back in Melbourne for the spring carnival, his value increased with placings in the Gr. 1 Toorak Handicap and Cantala Stakes, and he returned from a break to win the Kensington Stakes over 1000 metres down the Flemington straight.
That set up a start in Flemington’s premier sprint, the Gr. 1 Newmarket Handicap, but Tivaci was a luckless fifth. So to Sydney for the Gr. 1 TJ Smith Stakes when the heavy ground made his fourth placing a meritorious effort, leading to the next throw of the dice in the All-Aged Stakes.
Now that Tivaci has broken through the Group One ceiling, a decision has to be made whether to retire the rising five-year-old now or take him north for the Queensland winter carnival.
Tivaci seals his future at Waikato Stud with victory in the All-Aged Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.