Swettenham Stud sire Toronado

Swettenham Stud is coming off a record breeding season for the Adam Sangster-led operation while fellow Victorian farm Yulong’s foundation stallion Grunt (O’Reilly) also covered a near benchmark number of mares for a first season sire in the state.

Victorian breeders backed Toronado (High Chaparral), the sire of inaugural The Showdown (1200m) winner Prince Of Sussex, who also has boom Tasmanian filly Still A Star in his first crop, with 197 mares in 2019, the most mares covered by any stallion domiciled in the southern state.

The most popular sire was not the only success story for a rejuvenated Swettenham Stud, with Toronado’s barnmates Puissance De Lune (Shamardal) (153) and the relocated Akeed Mofeed (Dubawi) (133) also covering their biggest books by some margin.

Swettenham Stud’s Sam Matthews believes the farm’s strong season, and that experienced by many of their rivals, bodes well for the future of the industry.

“From our point of view, the more success in Victoria, whether its Swettenham Stud or our counterparts around the traps, we quite enjoy seeing that,” Matthews said yesterday.

“I haven’t looked at the numbers but I would say less mares travelled to the Hunter because of the increased quality in Victoria. Fingers crossed we can continue that.”

The implementation of the Vobis Sires race day at Caulfield in April, featuring the $1 million The Showdown, won last year by the Matt Laurie-trained Prince Of Sussex, and $500,000 Vobis Sires Guineas (1600m), is another boost for the Victorian industry. 

“Vobis, Vobis Gold, Vobis Sires, so there are so many additional sums of prize-money to race for in Victoria and the market’s strong,” Matthews said. 

“Our stallions, we follow closely and they have sold incredibly well and people are getting the returns on the track, which means they come back and buy more.

“We’re over the moon in Victoria as a whole and it was definitely a record season for us.”

Yulong Investments Yuesheng Zhang’s entry into the stallion ranks via the Australian Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) and Makybe Diva Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) winner Grunt also proved popular in the spring.

The Mick Price-trained Grunt, who covered 178 mares at a fee of $13,750 (inc GST), came close to the 186 mares Darley’s Impending (Lonhro) served in 2018, while he surpassed the number shuttler Toronado achieved in 2015.

Group winner Grunt is resident sire at Yulong Racing Photos).

Yulong chief operating officer Sam Fairgray was delighted with the number of mares Grunt covered in his debut year.

“He’s got 160 mares in foal and he ended up with about 90 per cent fertility which is fantastic for his first year at stud,” he said.

“Breeders supported him well and we’re really pleased. For our first stallion, he was the dream horse because he did everything so easily and he was popular.

“Every person who came and looked at him wanted to send their mare because he is a good-looking horse – they just loved him. That made it easier as well.”

Grunt’s fertility was a big factor and as news of his early pregnancies got back to breeders, more mare owners booked into the son of O’Reilly (Last Tycoon).

“That is a big factor for breeders knowing that they are going to send their mare and their mare’s got a high chance of going in foal,” he said.

“It is very frustrating for them having to send mares back time and time and again.”

Another Victorian operation with a relocated stallion on its roster was Rosemont Stud through Shamus Award (Snitzel), the sire of Queensland Derby (Gr 1, 2400m) winner Mr Quickie.

After standing his first five seasons at Widden Stud, the Cox Plate (Gr 1, 2040m) winner Shamus Award moved to Rosemont last year where he covered 149 mares, up on the 84 he served the previous season.  

Aquis Farm’s maiden Victorian stallion, the Group 1-placed Lean Mean Machine (Zoustar), was also well patronised by breeders, covering 147 mares at Aquis’ Seymour property.

His success was in stark contrast to Siege Of Quebec (Fastnet Rock), who was withdrawn from service early in the breeding season due to a lack of breeder support. 

Sun Stud’s first season shuttler National Defense (Invincible Spirit) covered 159 mares, while Palentino (Teofilo) covered 146 and stalwart Magnus (Flying Spur) also hit triple figures with 111. Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m) winner Fiorente (Monsun) covered 141 mares. 

Spendthrift Australia’s first season sire, dual US Grade 1 winner and Santa Anita Derby (Gr 1, 1m 1f) runner-up Bolt D’Oro (Medaglia d’Oro), covered 104 mares in his first year Down Under. Barnmate Overshare (I Am Invincible) proved more popular in his second season, serving 150 mares, up from 79 in 2018.

Victoria’s premier stallion, the 17-year-old Woodside Park Stud-based Written Tycoon (Iglesia), covered 135 mares last year at a fee of $110,000 (inc GST), down from 162 in 2018.

Darley’s Brazen Beau (I Am Invincible) covered 126 mares, while his Northwood Park barnmates Impending and Frosted (Tapit) covered 175 and 104 mares respectively.

Article courtesy of ANZ Bloodstock News by Tim Rowe