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Stakes Success for Victorian-based sire Toronado in Hong Kong

Toronado (Image: Swettenham Stud)

Swettenham Stud’s stallion Toronado (High Chaparral x Wanna Doo) has enjoyed a great start to 2024, with nine metropolitan winners since the turn of the year. In Hong Kong, he has made a blistering start to the year siring four winners, including two black-type winners, a fantastic return for the mare quality he has received according to General Manager of Operations and Nominations at Swettenham Stud, Sam Matthews.

“Everything that has raced so far is either off a $20k or $25k (service fee). It’s only now the yearlings that are off a service fee of $45k. He’s done it the hard way coming off a low service fee, but he upgrades those mares very very well.”

Matthews is encouraged by the success of Toronado, commenting “We’re pretty confident given what he’s done so far that he’ll be one of the best stallions in Australia for many years to come. He’s still so young. He’s only 13.” Big talk, but the way he is going at the moment, few people would argue. He is confident enough in his stallion’s quality to draw big comparisons too, saying “Zoustar is the easiest comparison. They’re about the same age. Zoustar started at $40k, and he’s obviously gone up to $200k. Toronado started at $20k, and he was up to $80k last year. Their ability to upgrade those mares has been exceptional.”

Victor The Winner - G1 HKJC Centenary Sprint Cup

After running a gallant fourth in the G1 Hong Kong Sprint Cup in December, Victor The Winner (Toronado x Noetic) was underestimated when it came to the G1 Centenary Cup. The five-year-old gelding proved everyone wrong, breaking quickly from stall ten under K C Yeung to make all the running and stay on strongly to win by a length and three-quarters, recording his seventh win for C S Shum, but first at the top level - becoming his sire’s fifth G1 winner. Bred by Adam Sangster, he was a $180k purchase from Collingrove Stud at the 2020 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale to Golden River Investments and Chu, he’s improving with every start.

Victor The Winner highlights the quality on offer at Victoria’s top yearling sale, the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, within which Toronado very much makes his presence felt with 29 yearlings catalogued. Matthews notes “We’ve seen most of them. 2021 was the first year that we purpose-bred a few. Until then it was basically first in best dressed. We make sure that we look at the pedigrees and try to work out what’s the best on pedigree and type. So if it goes well, that’s awesome. If it goes poorly, everyone can blame us,”

Helios Express - Listed Hong Kong Classic Mile

Helios Express (Toronado x Paris Texas) was due to step up in class to run in the Listed HK Classic Mile as the four-year-old had won four of his previous six starts. Trained by John Size, and ridden on this occasion by Hugh Bowman, Helios Express was a short price to take the class jump in his stride, and he did so emphatically. Tracking the leaders, on entering the home straight he saw daylight and pulled clear of his rivals to win well. Bred by C Wells, he was just a $10k purchase from Inglis Digital as a yearling to Emsleylodge. He is a horse improving quickly, and is an exciting one to watch in 2024.

Speaking of 2024, Matthews believes that the Autumn is going to be where Toronado stamps his mark in a big way on the major carnivals, saying: “If we look at Toronado’s best results, they are usually dry-trackers. So January through to May they seem to perform well, being on the dry tracks, picking up a couple of Group 1s in that period. Autumn should be a very good period for Swettenham stallions.” Exciting times ahead for Victorian stallions and breeders indeed!

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