Above: Masked Crusader won G3 Southern Cross Stakes at Randwick (Image: Steve Hart)
With 25 of his yearlings headed to the Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale, Swettenham Stud stallion Toronado (IRE) has given the industry a timely remember of his potent results.
The highly sought after son of High Chaparral (IRE) continued his blitz around the globe two weekends ago with winners of high class races in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore – he also produced a $101 winner at regional Colac.
He is throwing both stakes winning colts and fillies.
The flurry of wins for Toronado began in Sydney on the Saturday with the Victorian bred Masked Crusader perhaps delivering on the huge wraps on him when he won his first stakes race by taking out the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) at Randwick for Team Hawkes.
And then a couple of hours later at Ascot in Perth, Toronado filly Solaia won the Listed WATC Challenge Stakes (1500m) for trainer Darren McAuliffe.
Producing two stakes winner on the same isn’t new for Toronado who achieved the same feat on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington last November when Shelby Cobra won the Listed Amanda Elliott Handicap (1400m) and Affair To Remember won the Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m).
Swettenham Stud principal Adam Sangster said Toronado now had five individual stakes winners in Australia – Still A Star is the other – and says having two doubles on the same day is like a case of “when it rains it pours.”
Over in Hong Kong, the highly regarded Master Montaro, trained by David Hayes, again lived up to his two impressive Victorian victories before he was off shipped to Sha Tin as a million dollar-plus buy.
Master Montaro’s victory, his second at Shan Tin, will only heighten interest in his yearlings by Hong buyers.
Sangster said it was good to see Toronado go from three to five stakes winners on the same day.
“Obviously Master Montaro capped off the weekend as well,” he said.
“And just to see Masked Crusader also finish off the race was great and I suppose what we are seeing with his progeny is that they can get out to a trip and they can sprint, they can get out to a mile and they just have a turn of foot that only good racehorses have.
“Masked Crusader was no chance at the 200 but he got there and it was similar with Master Montaro.
“They are exciting horses and the diversity of Toronado’s progeny is probably the most exciting aspect.”
Sangster said the demand for Toronado horses in Hong Kong continues to grow and he has 11 there and six have raced for five winners.
Hong Kong interests made massive offers for Masked Crusader which was bred by Rick Jamieson’s Gilgai Farm and sold for $340,000 at the 2018 Melbourne Premier Sale. Jamieson retained a share in the horse which is raced by several prominent owners including Rupert Legh.
With four wins and two thirds from his eight starts, Masked Crusader could win the race, in an expanding field, to give Toronado his first Group 1 winner.
Sangster said the stakes win of Solaia wasn’t a surprise to McAuliffe who has always had a high opinion of the three-year-old filly who is out of Isola Blue (Blackfriars), a metropolitan winner at Ascot, and a half-sister to Group 2 winner Goon Serpent (Reset x Capri Blue).
Solaia, a homebred, has been talked up by McAuliffe along with his unbeaten three-year-old filly Clairvoyance.
Sangster said that while Solaia was already a city winner, she had been a bit like Masked Crusader as a stakes horse in waiting.
And he said Toronado could throw quality colts and fillies, where some sons of High Chaparral or Sadler’s Wells descendants tend to throw some really good colts and the fillies can be a bit behind.
“Out of his five stakes winners, three are fillies and two are geldings,” Sangster said.
“Just to even that spread, or at this stage an ever so slight dominance to fillies, is a rarity and you’re not upset if you end up with a filly.”
Toronado stood his first season at Swettenham Stud in 2015.
Despite being a Victorian stallion, Sangster said fewer than 50 per cent of his book of mares from last season were from Victorians. He had strong support from New South Wales, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland.
Swettenham Stud closed the book early on Toronado before the last breeding season and admitted there were some disappointed breeders who couldn’t get their mares to the stallion.
After serving his biggest book of mares last season – 210 – Sangster said Toronado would do fewer numbers this season.
“We’ll limit his book to make sure his longevity is protected,” Sangster said.
“He is a highly fertile horse with a great libido so he can cover really good sized books but we are just going to make sure he covers a bit of a smaller book this coming season to make sure everyone gets the right opportunity, but also he doesn’t get too tired.”
The deeds of Toronado’s progeny on the track has been rewarded with the quality of mare being sent to him and Sangster estimates the stallion had an increase last year of up to two or three times the number of stakes winners and stakes produces compared to previous years.
“He is covering some of the best mares out there, like Out Of Caviar which is the unraced Snitzel daughter of Black Caviar,” Sangster said.
“And he has again covered Masked Crusader’s dam, She’s Got Gears.”
He said with the Hong Kong market also chasing Toronado, as well as his popularity in Australia, breeders with any of his progeny or mares in foal to him can expect a healthy return both as sellers or owners going to the races.
“And it’s just another reason why Toronado will be in hot demand at Melbourne Premier,” Sangster predicted.