Swettenham Stud’s roster-topper Toronado was already receiving strong support from breeders before siring a stakes double on one of the biggest days on the racing calendar.
Progressive 3-year-old gelding Shelby Cobra added the Listed The Amanda Elliott to his record at just his third start before 4-year-old mare Affair To Remember finally got her nose in front on the line to win the G2 Matriarch S. on Derby Day, to become his third Southern Hemisphere stakes winner.
Both horses are again set to line up on Saturday with Shelby Cobra in the VOBIS Gold Eureka Stockade and Affair To Remember in the Listed Ballarat Cup, and Sam Matthews, Sales and Nominations Manager for Swettenham, said the farm was delighted to see Toronado’s stock perform on the biggest stage.
“It was obviously very exciting for him to have one stakes winner during the Flemington carnival but two in a day was just exceptional,” Matthews told TDN AusNZ.
“It was obviously very exciting for him to have one stakes winner during the Flemington carnival but two in a day was just exceptional." - Sam Matthews
“It just great for all of those people that have supported Toronado throughout the last few seasons, including this season, and gives them that extra bit of confidence when they go to the sales early next year, that they’re going to get a great result.”
While he has been able to produce some talented juveniles such as Prince Of Sussex, his progeny are improving in their 3 and 4-year-old seasons which Matthews said is a typical trait of the High Chaparral (Ire) sires.
“He can throw a 2-year-old with the likes of Prince Of Sussex, but we’re finding with the High Chaparral line with Dundeel, So You Think and Toronado, they seem to get better and better at 3-years-old and 4-years-old,” Matthews said.
“But he can throw something like Shelby Cobra who is very good over a short trip as well as something like Affair To Remember who can get over a bit more ground, so I think it’s the variety of distance ranges that makes him the exceptional stallion that he is.”
With his stock improving with age, he has only received increased support from breeders.
2019 was his fifth season standing in Australia and he covered his biggest ever book in the Southern Hemisphere with 195 mares.
After being fully booked two weeks after his service fee was announced in 2020, Matthews said his popularity is only growing and the quality of mares coming to him is getting better each year.
“Obviously when you look at him compared to some other horses, even the ones in this crop, he covered good books and really, really good books of quality mares without covering too many,” he said.
“Being a shuttle horse, he obviously has his Northern Hemisphere time as well so we do protect him with his numbers but this year’s book of mares is the best quality book of mares that he’s had so he’ll only go from strength to strength.
"This year’s book of mares is the best quality book of mares that he’s had so he’ll only go from strength to strength." - Sam Matthews
“Obviously in his first year and year’s two and three, the mare numbers weren’t quite as big as what they are now and the mare quality was good but it wasn’t where it is now.
“As we go through the next two, three and four years and start to see better quality mares producing better horses, I'd think that if he’s not the best stallion in Victoria, I’d be very surprised.”
While the demand is high to get a nomination for Toronado, Matthews said Swettenham is prioritising those that supported the young stallion in his earlier years at stud.
“He was fully booked within about two weeks of announcing his service fee this year and his fertility has been exceptional,” he said. “We’ve probably knocked back more than three times the mares that he has covered - we’ve knocked back about 600 and it was just purely first in best dressed and we wanted to make sure that whoever supported him early got a spot.
“We’ve already had a lot of enquires about trying to get nominations for him next year so we’ll make sure that those who have supported him can get in first but if we were to say that 'yes, you can book in right now for next year', we could have filled him already for the season that hasn’t even started.”
With Written Tycoon’s relocation to the Hunter Valley for the foreseeable future, there is a spot for a stallion to step up and fill his shoes as Victoria’s leading sire and Matthews can’t see why Toronado can’t be the one to do that.
“I think between Toronado, Brazen Beau and probably Shamus Award as well, they’re all doing an exceptional job,” he said.
“Obviously Toronado and Brazen Beau are both in the same age-group with their crops and I think they’re both doing great things for Victoria. I think they’ll continue to grow into that next-level but we’re always looking for the next level stallion ourselves and I think Victoria needs that $40,000 to $60,000 stallion.”