Above: Tactical winning at Royal Ascot (Photo credit Ascot Racecourse)
The victory of the Queen’s two year-old colt Tactical at Royal Ascot in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes has given returning Australian sire Toronado yet another glowing endorsement.
The shuttle stallion is due back in Victoria in August to commence duties after he was exported from Australia to France last December following another successful season at Victoria’s Swettenham Stud.
His spectacular success with his progeny has made him an in demand stallion in Australia and the victory of Tactical, which was the Queen’s 24th Royal Ascot winner, was great publicity for Swettenham and Toronado.
Unfortunately for breeders, Swettenham Stud principal Adam Sangster has announced that Toronado’s book for the season is full.
After not knocking back any breeder last season, Toronado (IRE) served nearly 200 mares and is expected to cover a similar book of broodmares this year.
Sangster said it was disappointing to close Toronado’s book but it was important to look after the stallion who is consistently getting winners from his Australian progeny.
He has been standing at Swettenham Stud since 2015 and has covered a total of 778 mares.
His progeny are eagerly sought after by the lucrative Hong Kong market.
Sangster said the Queen, who bred Tactical from her mare Make Fast, owned a couple of horses by Toronado.
He said while it was great to see a Toronado win at Royal Ascot for such a high-profile owner, in reality the stallion doesn’t really need a boost at the moment because it won’t alter the fact that his book is closed.
“He has been fully booked for a while now, but it just reinforces his talent,” Sangster said.
“It’s good to have a two-year-old win a stakes race on the biggest day of the year at Royal Ascot. It all definitely helps.”
“A 1000m race up the straight is probably more of what we perceive with the Australian racing style being short course sprinting.”
Sangster said it showed that Toronado, a champion miler, can throw a lot of quality two year-olds that can sprint – and every winner helps his reputation.
Toronado has now sired seven stakes winners in the northern hemisphere across a wide variety of distances which again demonstrates his ability as a sire.
Sangster said his oldest progeny in Australia are three-year-olds and there are a lot of stakes quality horses among them.
“He was the most popular stallion in Victoria last year and will probably be again this year as well,” he said.
“There have been some big offers being touted for quite a few of Toronado’s progeny from here for the Hong Kong market.
“He will have a dozen racing from the northern hemisphere and he’ll have some racing in the southern hemisphere as well.”
Sangster said Toronado, along with Highland Reel which was exported to Ireland in December were scheduled to arrive back at Nagambie in August which is exciting for the stud.
He said Toronado would definitely cover his best quality of broodmares this season including Group winners and others that had produced Group winners.
And the Queen’s racing manager, John Warren, said after the race: “Her Majesty was saying how delighted she was to breed a two-year-old winner. It is obviously a great shame that Her Majesty is a not at Royal Ascot (because of COVID-19) to enjoy the buzz of a winner.
“The last two days she has been able to spend a little bit of time watching the races.
“This was the icing on the cake to have a winner for Her Majesty – it is tremendous.”
Trainer Andrew Balding said Tactical had shaped promisingly when third on debut at Newmarket on June 4 and showed the benefit of that experience with a length and a quarter victory over Yazaman .
“Tactical was showing a fair bit at home before we ran him first time out,” Balding said in his postrace interview
“He ran a nice race and learnt plenty, and James (Doyle) gave him a lovely ride today but we were quite hopeful especially when it looked like the draw was more of a help than a hindrance.
“He was showing plenty early on. He would have been ready to run in April which is very early for one of mine. He has got a great attitude and is very professional.
“We thought Tactical had learnt a lot (on his debut at Newmarket) and would be a bit sharper which proved to be the case. But he still had to get the job done and did it nicely at the end.
“I think he will be better over six furlongs (1200m), and we stuck at five (1000m) because we thought the Coventry Stakes would be a much stronger race, but he will certainly be going six furlongs and looks up to Group class.”
Choir Boy gave The Queen her first Royal Ascot winner in 1953 and this year’s meeting was the first she had missed in her 68-year reign.