Royal reunion at Swettenham
Royal Ascot begins on Tuesday and the first three races have all been won by Swettenham Stud sires in recent years.
Incoming shuttlers Toronado (G1 Queen Anne Stakes) and The Wow Signal (G2 Coventry Stakes) were both successful last year and Equiano was a two-time winner of G1 King’s Stand Stakes in 2008 & 2010.
TORONADO (Ire) has just finished covering his first northern book at the English National Stud and the son of High Chaparral will arrive in Victoria in time for the Swettenham stallion parade at Nagambie on Sunday, August 30.
He impressed Gai Waterhouse on a visit to the National Stud this week. “I had a little looksee and Toronado really took my eye,” Gai said. “He looks very much like the late Northern Meteor and is the perfect specimen; exactly what I look for in a stallion.”
THE WOW SIGNAL (Ire) was dominant in the 2014 Coventry Stakes and kept improving to win the G1 Prix Morny at Deauville. He is the first son of Starspangledbanner to stand at stud and comes from a long line of Group 1 stars at Royal Ascot.
Starspangledbanner won the 2010 Golden Jubilee Stakes and his grandsire Choisir blazed a trail for Aussie invaders in the 2003 Golden Jubilee. Choisir’s grandsire was superior sire Danehill who won the 1989 Golden Jubilee when it was known as the Cork And Orrery Stakes.
Starspangledbanner filly Anthem Alexander will return to the scene of her victory in last year’s G2 Queen Mary Stakes. She will aim high for the King’s Stand Stakes or be reserved for her own age group in the G1 Commonwealth Cup on Friday.
EQUIANO (Fr) is among Europe’s leading second-season sires this year and has two entrants at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.
His progressive youngster Ocean Eleven was run down and beaten a head and a head on debut at Newmarket last month. He has been nominated for the G2 Coventry Stakes and LR Windsor Castle Stakes on Tuesday.
Recent Newbury winner Harvard Man is another of his sons paid up for the Windsor Castle.
Equiano defeated Takeover Target as an emerging three year-old in his first King’s Stand and Nicconi was among the beaten brigade when he doubled up two years later.
Swettenham founder Robert Sangster also won the King’s Stand twice alongside legendary trainer Vincent O’Brien. They combined with Godswalk (1977) & Bluebird (1987) and both colts enjoyed successful stud careers shuttling to Australia.