The made in Australia stamp proudly sits on a rich crop of stallion Toronado’s progeny that have made their way to arguably the most competitive racing jurisdiction in the world – Hong Kong.
Toronado, the Irish bred and British raced son of High Chaparral, has turned into one of the most sought after stallions in Australia since shuttling to Adam Sangster’s Swettenham Stud at Nagambie.
The race results of his progeny on the racetrack are eye-catching and the money paid for his yearlings in the sales ring and for his youngsters that have raced and had trials in Australia and then sold to Hong Kong is eye-watering.
Mornington trainer Matt Laurie’s Prince of Sussex won last year’s inaugural The Showdown at Caulfield. The Toronado gelding was quickly sold to Hong Kong for $1.7 million and will soon race under his new name, Lucky Express. He has had several trials, including one this week, but has been held back from racing so he can compete against horses of his own age.
Prince of Sussex
Toronado is well represented in The VOBIS Sires Guineas tomorrow with Beehunter, Quail Hollow and Affair to Remember, whilst he has one chance to go back to back in The Showdown with Mrs Kansas gaining a start for Robbie Griffiths.
Perhaps his biggest spruik horse at Caulfield is the Team Hawkes trained Masked Crusader, which is favourite for the VOBIS Gold Dash (1100m) despite needing a few scratchings to make it into the 16-horse field as he is the third emergency. The Hawkes boys say the three year-old gelding is the real deal.
The success of Toronado at stud hasn’t surprised Sangster who has watched the Hong Kong interest in the stallion with admiration for those who could not resist the rich offers being made for their horses.
And there’s plenty to be made for the astute and lucky.
Sangster sold a Toronado yearling, out of Circus Polka, for $80,000 which was pin hooked and then sold after a ready to run sale to Cranbourne trainer, Richard Laming for $300,000. After a 3.5 length win on debut over 1000m at Pakenham on April 27, the three year-old gelding was sold to Hong Kong for an amount very similar to that of the 2019 Showdown winner.
“After Prince of Sussex was sold, we heard that another Toronado, Powertrain, was sold for what I believe was $500,000,” he said.
And trainer Will Clarken recently sold a Toronado two year-old gelding, Nova Force, for big money to Hong Kong off a trial.
Sangster said a lot of Toronado’s colts and geldings had been sold to Hong Kong and he doesn’t expect the trend to end anytime soon, especially after the results at this year’s Inglis Melbourne Premier where there been a huge return on investment for breeders who had gone to Toronado in his third season.
The yearlings at the premier session of the sale averaged $175,000 - nearly nine times his service fee.
“Last year the top five Toronado lots were bought by Hong Kong and they bought our top lot (Toronado/Noetic) offered through Collingrove for $180,000 at this year’s Melbourne Premier,” Sangster said.
“And while none of those by Toronado have raced at Hong Kong yet, we are really excited with the prospect of what they can do with top trainers like Richard Gibson, Ricky Yiu and John Size.
“While a lot of flagship horses have been sold up there to Hong Kong, we are really looking forward to seeing Masked Crusader for John Hawkes and owner Rupert Legh.”
Sangster said that advantage that Toronado had over other sire sons of High Chaparral, including Dundeel, was he had more speed which he has injected into his progeny.
Toronado, a dual Group 1 winner, served almost 200 mares last season as the most popular stallion in Victoria and is sure to prove very popular again in 2020.