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  • Dennis Ryan –



Under the management of Simms Davison, He’s Remarkable revived Mapperley’s place in the breeding industry when he took up duties at the Matamata farm in 2013, followed two years later by the ill-fated Atlante.

Last year in partnership with Godolphin, Contributer and Complacent took up duties, and now Encosta de Lago’s classic-winning son Puccini will add further strength to the Mapperley roster.

Puccini was bred and raced by the late Paul Smithies and his wife Cushla, who have a relationship with Mapperley Stud going back to the first star performer they bred, multiple Group One winner Sir Slick, who was by former Mapperley stallion Volksraad.

As a half-brother to the 22-win iron horse, Puccini had a lot to live up to when the Smithies put him into work with Matamata trainer Peter McKay and he delivered in spades. After finishing third in the Listed Champagne Stakes at Ellerslie in his last start as a two-year-old, Puccini broke his maiden over 1800 metres and at his very next start finished fourth in Atlante’s New Zealand 2000 Guineas.

He didn’t race again for another six weeks when the breakthrough came in the Gr. 2 Great Northern Guineas (1600m), followed by a fourth in the Gr. 1 Levin Classic then a successful step up to 2000 metres in the Gr. 2 Waikato Guineas and after adding the Gr. 2 Avondale Guineas he was the obvious favourite for the big one, the New Zealand Derby.

The good-looking bay got no favours through the early stages and ended up in the rear of the big field. In a daring move Michael Walker then sent him around the field to lead with all of 800 metres to run and with a huge effort he was never headed.

The breaks didn’t go Puccini’s way in two starts at the Sydney autumn carnival, but his class and genuine qualities shone through again at four when he replicated Sir Slick’s victory in the Gr. 1 Thorndon Mile as well as winning the Gr. 3 Merial Metric Mile and Thompson Handicap and finish second in the Gr. 1 Captain Cook Stakes and third in the Gr. 2 Rich Hill Mile.

Puccini ended up being transferred permanently to Australia and although he was unable to register a win on that side of the Tasman, he never lost the same determination that had marked his three and four-year-old performances. He returned home recently and a deal has been struck between Mapperley Stud and Monovale Farm, which is now operated by the brothers Joe and Max following the tragic and sudden death of their father last year.

“My family and the Smithies go back a long way so it’s very pleasing to re-establish that relationship with a horse like Puccini,” says Simms Davison. “The boys are having a good crack earlier than they might have otherwise, but they’re as determined as I am to give Puccini his chance at stud.

“He has so much going for him as a stallion – a Derby winner who was able to repeat his Group One form beyond his three-year-old season, a highly rated son of one of the leading sires of stallions in this part of the world, a great type with so much scope and turn of foot, and a temperament and soundness that is so important for the job ahead.

“It’s exciting to think of the range of mares that will go well with him, the stats of Encosta de Lago over Danehill and Sir Tristram blood are fantastic and Mapperley and Monovale are committing a selection of their best mares to him.”

As part of their drive for success, Mapperley and Monovale have decided to introduce Puccini at a service of $5,000 plus GST, as well as forming what they refer to as the ‘Puccini Club’ to incentivise broodmare owners wishing to support the stallion.

“We want to look after the breeders who support the horse over a number of years,” added Davison. “Our intention is to ensure they are well rewarded for the part they will play in making his stud career a success.”

For enquiries contact Simms Davison on +64 27 495 0082 or email

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