Toorak Toff

published: 10 Aug 2014 in Stallion profiles

It’s now more than 60 years since Star Kingdom (IRE) began his stud career at Baramul Stud in the beautiful Widden Valley, and his name remains at the heart of the pedigrees of many of our best performers. Rosemont Stud’s dual Gr.1 winner Toorak Toff is a perfect example with two lines of this sire giant and he is one of the few remaining Star Kingdom male line descendants available to breeders.

‚ÄčTHE death of Golden Slipper winner Canny Lad in June has left Glenlogan Park’s four-times Gr.1 winner Show a Heart as the only significant male line representative of the once-dominant Star Kingdom clan. While Canny Lad had no major son, Show a Heart, who is still going strong in Queensland, is already represented by dual Gr.1 winner Toorak Toff who is off to a positive start in Victoria, being well supported in his first two seasons at stud.

Toorak Toff (ex Orong by Grand Lodge (USA)) won six races and $1.2m including the Golden Rose-Gr.1 and MRC Invitation Stakes-Gr.1 and retired to Rosemont Stud in 2012 covering 99 mares in his first season and 120 last year on a fee of $16,500. He’s available on the same fee in 2014. 

The pedigree of this young sire shows the influence of some notable thoroughbred breeders, people who helped shape the Australian thoroughbred as it is today, including Stanley Wootton, George Ryder, Lionel Israel, Nelson Bunker Hunt and more recently Jack and Bob Ingham, H.E. Nasser Lootah, Colin McAlpine, Robert Sangster and Jon Haseler. For example, Toorak Toff’s fifth dam, Passing Cloud (IRE) (Golden Cloud-Moving Up by Pay Up), raced with success in Sydney before becoming a broodmare for George Ryder when he owned Woodlands Stud. 

Her daughter Vivace (Sostenuto (ITY)) went to stud in NZ where she left Swahili Princess (NZ) (Frontal (USA)), a mare bred by Nelson Bunker Hunt. Swahili Princess returned to Australia and became a very good broodmare for the Koureas family (Dalama Stud) in the Hunter Valley, her runners including Sandown Guineas-Gr.2 heroine Blixen (Mighty Avalanche). Blixen, in turn, became one of the high class mares owned by Jack and Bob Ingham when they had Woodlands.

Canny Lad, who stood at Woodlands and then Darley, is by the Stanley Wootton-bred Bletchingly (Biscay-Coogee (GB) by Relic), a grandson of Star Kingdom. Show a Heart and Toorak Toff are also descendants of this dashing brown speedster via the Bletchingly son Cossack Warrior and his son Brave Warrior. 

It’s really something of a miracle that this branch continues at all as Brave Warrior, who was bred by Emirates Park in Victoria from the imported Nijinsky mare Nothing to Do (USA), stood just two seasons (1996-1997) at the McAlpine family’s Eureka Stud and left only 117 live foals.

Brave Warrior won eight of his 22 starts and more than $1m including a trio of Gr.2 events at Rosehill at three, the Peter Pan (1500m), Gloaming (1900m) and Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) and he was also a pretty smart juvenile, bagging the Ken Russell Classic-LR (1400m) and the rich Magic Millions Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast. His seven seconds included four Gr.1 events, the George Main, Spring Champion Stakes, George Ryder Stakes and Queensland Derby, while his two thirds included a placing in the Doncaster Handicap-Gr.1 at Randwick.

Like so many of the broodmares assembled by Nasser Lootah for his Emirates Park operation, Nothing to Do hailed from a pretty impressive female family, although she, and her dam Heart a Dancer (Raise a Native), were unraced and Brave Warrior’s third dam Tim Marie (Tim Tam) started four times without winning. 

Tim Marie was a very good producer though and her seven winners included Gr.1 winner Life’s Hope and Listed winner Little Happiness (whose descendants included Australian Gr.1 winner A Little Kiss). Her dam Russ-Marie (Nasrullah-Marguery by Sir Galahad) was also dam of the tough stakes winner Margarethen (16 wins in 64 starts), dam of Trillion and second dam of champion Triptych.

Cossack Warrior was anything but a typical Bletchingly speedster, his major win coming in the Herbert Power Handicap-Gr.2 (2400m) although he was sharp enough to win over 1200m and 1250m. He also placed third in the Caulfield Cup-Gr.1. Bred by the late Robert Sangster (Swettenham Stud), his dam Mary is by the stoutly bred Hermes (GB), a grandson of Hyperion, whose runners included the Melbourne Cup winner Van Der Hum and is from Petine, by the Alcide son Persian Garden (GB). 

Mary also left the Sandown Guineas-Gr.2 winner and VRC Derby-Gr.1 and Caulfield Cup-Gr.1 runner-up Cossack Prince (Sir Tristram). Cossack Warrior sired the Railway Stakes-Gr.1 winner Slavonic, top class Singapore performer Smart Bet, Gr.3 winner Darbaas and Listed winner Star Cossack in a stud career lasting nine seasons (1989-1997) and left 334 live foals. It’s fitting Stanley Wootton play a part in this tale as he was the man responsible for buying Star Kingdom (IRE) (Stardust-Impromptu by Concerto) at the end of his career on the track after the nuggetty chestnut had proved one of the best juveniles in the UK in 1948 winning his first three starts and then going down by a short half-head to Abernant in the National Breeders’ Produce Stakes at Sandown (third placed Hindostan five lengths astern) before winning the Richmond Stakes and the Gimcrack Stakes to end the season with five wins from six starts. 

He raced on at three and four, winning the Greenham Stakes at Newbury, Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot and Hungerford Stakes at Newbury at three and the Coronation Stakes at Chester at four for a record of nine wins, two seconds and a third in 16 starts.

Wootton sold part of his young sire to partners Alf Ellison and Reg Moses, and the grandson of Hyperion stood his first season in Australia in 1951 at Ellison’s Baramul Stud in the beautiful Widden Valley (a property now owned by Gerry Harvey). Star Kingdom became an instant success with his first crop including the brilliant Kingster and his third crop including the first Golden Slipper winner in Todman (bred by Wootton). 

Biscay, who came in Star Kingdom’s 14th crop was also bred by Wootton. He set an Australian record for four furlongs when he won the Debutante Stakes on debut for trainer Angus Armanasco. Also from this crop came Kaoru Star, later to prove such a successful sire for Lionel Israel at his Segenhoe Stud (now Vinery) and also part of Toorak Toff’s pedigree through Blixen’s sire Mighty Avalanche (Kaoru Star).

Although he was an outstanding sire, leaving Golden Slipper winner Marscay, Oakleigh Plate winner Zephyr Bay and Breeders’ Plate winner Blue and Gold, and other sons who met with stud success, the only really commercial link in the Biscay line today comes via Bletchingly, whose dam Coogee (GB), foaled in 1959, was also imported by Wootton. A winner of three races, she was by the good French sire Relic (War Relic-Bridal Colors by Black Toney), a grandson of Man o’War. Relic was a first class racehorse in the US and left the French 2000 Guineas winners Buisson Ardent and Mincio, the US Gr.1 winner Olden Times, the Champion Stakes and Eclipse Stakes winner Pieces of Eight (sire of superb broodmare Eight Carat) and the Prix de l’Abbaye winners Texanita and Texana among his stakes winners.

Coogee, a half-sister to UK Group winner Quick Decision, left the Gr.1 winner Beaches to Todman and Bletchingly to Biscay and minor winners and sires Seaman (Todman), Mospey (Star Kingdom) and Langley Vale (Todman) among eight named foals. Her daughters Ayala (Biscay) and Manila (Star Kingdom) have had modest stud success, the former the dam of Listed winner Northern Bisque (dam of Bond Street), while the latter’s descendants include Rubicall, Dial Tones, Mingling Glances and Sportivo. Bletchingly won four of his five starts and was runner-up in the other. He won the MVRC Windarra Handicap (1200m) at his only run at three and then the VRC Moomba Handicap (1000m) in course record time and AJC the Galaxy-Gr.2 (1100m) at four.

Best remembered as sire of champions Kingston Town and Emancipation, Bletchingly also had many sons go to stud, notably Lord Ballina (sire of Bureaucracy), True Version, Best Western (sire of Ivory’s Irish), Take Your Partner, Private Thoughts, Opera Prince, Atlantic Flyer, Pilgrim’s Way and Bletchencore, although Slipper winners Canny Lad and the short-lived Star Watch (sire of now-pensioned Hurricane Sky) gave the most promise of continuing the line. 

Perhaps in the end they were overwhelmed by the sheer weight of numbers from the shuttle invasion, the books of those early Star Kingdom line sires coming nowhere near the huge number covered today by the likes of the Danehill tribe. Perhaps it was the fact that the diminutive Derby winner and great sire Hyperion had reached into the far corners of most pedigrees and nature decreed a change, there are as many theories as there are breeders to explain the rise and fall of sire lines.

Hyperion (1930-1960), a son of Gainsborough and Selene (Chaucer) was bred by the 17th Earl of Derby and stood just 15.1 1/2 hands. He won the Dewhurst Stakes at two and the Derby and St Leger at three and was the GB/Ireland’s Champion Sire six times between 1940 and 1954. His many sons (including Aureole, Heliopolis, Owen Tudor) and daughters (he is dam sire of Nearctic for example) spread his bloodlines throughout the world including Australasia (Empyrean, High Peak, Helios, Ruthless and Red Mars), where his grandsons Star Kingdom and Smokey Eyes (both sons of Stardust) also had a profound influence.

However with many “domestic” lines hanging on (Sir Tristram via Lonhro in Australia, or Broad Brush in the US for example and Bold Ruler too, although that line has had a strong revival of late) it’s intriguing to see two Gr.1-winning Hyperion line sires in Queensland in the shape of newcomer Spirit of Boom (Tracing to Argentinian champ Forli, a son of Aristophanes by Hyperion), fittingly on the roster at Eureka for Scott McAlpine, and Show a Heart (Brave Warrior-Miss Sandman by Regal Advice) at John Haseler’s Glenlogan Park.

Show a Heart, who won six races and $2.29m including the Stradbroke Handicap-Gr.1 (1400m), Caulfield Guineas-Gr.1 (1600m), T.J. Smith Classic-Gr.1 (1600m at two) and VATC Toorak Handicap-Gr.1 (1400m) was also runner-up in the Newmarket Handicap-Gr.1 (1200m) to Toledo, Doomben 10,000-Gr.1 (1350m) and William Reid Stakes-Gr.1 (1200m). Inbred 5mx5f to Relic (the other line coming via a son Bismark II (GB) who stood with success in NZ).

Show a Heart retired to stud in 2002 and has 407 winners of $34m (66.1% of starters, winning distance index 1311m). His 21 stakes winners (3.4%) also include the dual Gr.1 winner Heart of Dreams (Royal Academy), Oakleigh Plate-Gr.1 winner Woorim (Canadian Silver) and Gr.2 winners Mimi Lebrock (St Covet), Luke’s Luck (Redoute’s Choice), Vo Heart (Red Ransom) and Gr.3 winners Rightfully Yours (Royal Academy), Gotta Have Heart (Red Tempo), I’m Your Venus (Rory’s Jester) along with Singapore Gr.1 winner Super Ninetyseven (Zabeel) and stakes horses from daughters of Lion Hunter, Green Desert, Centaine, Snippets, Honour and Glory, Citidancer, Danzero, Rocket to Mars, Rory’s Jester, St Jude and Volksraad.

Like Toorak Toff, who carries Star Kingdom 6mx5m and several additional lines of Hyperion (through Stardust, Vaguely Noble etc), many of Show a Heart’s best runners have doubles (or more) of Star Kingdom in their immediate pedigree including several with the same Biscay/Kaoru Star double found in Toorak Toff (Choisir mares could be ideal for Toorak Toff to add a female line of Biscay).

Toorak Toff, who was bred by Glenlogan Park, was a $135,000 Magic Millions yearling in 2009 for Bill Van Rooy who sent the horse to trainer Rick Hore-Lacey. Both men also appeared in the ownership of the colt along with T. Morrissey, P. Coffey, P. Mcnamara, S. Cheng and the Shandy Kristo Syndicate when he hit the track at two. Toorak Toff had his first start at the Sandown Lakeside track on January 23, 2010 in the Midnight Fever 2YO Plate (1200m) and scored a solid win on a heavy track. Unplaced in an 1100m Listed race behind Crystal Lily a month later, he then headed to Adelaide, winning the Magic Millions Classic (1200m) there on March 8 from Lone Rock.

He graduated to a stakes performer next time out, winning the SAJC Jansz Stakes-Gr.3 (1200m in 1:10.18) at Morphettville on March 20 and then travelled to Sydney where he was fourth of 12 behind Yosei on a dead track in the AJC Sires’ Produce-Gr.1. He ended the season with a seventh behind Skilled in the Champagne stakes-Gr.1.

Back in action early in his three year-old season, Toorak Toff took the Listed Vain Stakes (1100m in 1:07.12) at Caulfield from Soul and Star Witness on August 14, coming from last and prompting his trainer to jokingly call for an oxygen mask. “My heart is going boom, boom, boom,” Hore-Lacey said. “I didn’t think he could win, he has come from last and gone round them and made it look easy.”

Hore-Lacy had declared Toorak Toff as potentially a better horse than his Blue Diamond and Caulfield Guineas winner Redoute’s Choice but wasn’t getting carried away. “It is still a bit early to compare him with a horse like Redoute’s Choice, but if he (Toorak Toff) hadn’t been shin-sore he could easily have won the Blue Diamond,” Hore Lacy said. He said Toorak Toff was also unlucky at his two starts in Sydney where he drew wide and finished fourth in the Sires’ Produce and seventh in the Champagne Stakes. “Bad gates cost him and he could have won both those races.”

The three year-old then broke through for his first Gr.1 win in the Golden Rose (1400m in 1:21.90), beating Squamosa (half-neck) and Ilovethiscity at Rosehill on August 28. Damien Oliver, who notched a treble in winning the Gr.1 feature, was delighted with the win. “It was a great effort,” the champion Melbourne jockey said. “He was chasing some pretty smart horses there. There wasn’t a lot left in the tank at the finish there but that’s the true sign of a very good horse, when the chips were down he kept answering to the challenge. He’s a strong horse and he’s got a good turn of foot. He finished right over the top of them.”

He was then second in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude-Gr.3 behind Anacheeva and then fourth again to that horse in the Caulfield Guineas-Gr.1 on October 9. He had one unplaced run in December and then was well back in the Goodwood Handicap-Gr.1 in May and had a throat operation, which kept him off the scene until September 3 when a strong fifth in a Gr.3 behind Lone Rock. He then scored a stunning win in the MRC Invitation (Sir Rupert Clarke) Stakes-Gr.1 (1400m in 1:21.95, final 600m in 34.32) at Caulfield for jockey Craig Williams, beating stable mate Pinnacles by 1.5 lengths and with Master of Design third. “He’s always been a good horse but with all the problems he’s had it’s wonderful to see him come back and beat a good field like that the way he did,” Hore-Lacy said.

“He flew the machines and I had to be positive, and I got into the box seat,” Williams said. “He’s quite a strong, keen horse, similar to riding a train I imagine. He got on the back of a horse and took a while to come back under the bridle but he was good and solid late.”

Unplaced in the Toorak-Gr.1 and then third behind Oakleigh Plate winner Woorim in a Gr.3 event, Toorak Toff had just two more unplaced runs in Gr.1 events in November 2011 and March 2012 before retiring with six wins, a second, a third and two fourths in 18 starts and earnings of $1,293,520.

Toorak Toff’s dam Orong (Grand Lodge) was bred by Woodlands, but spent her breeding life at Glenlogan. Toorak Toff was her first foal and she also left the gelded Economic (Bradbury’s Luck) in 2008, the filly Toorak Show (Show a Heart) in 2009 and a filly by Jet Spur in 2010. Orong died just two weeks after foaling that filly. Grand Lodge (Chief’s Crown (USA)-La Papagena by Habitat), who was bred by the ninth Baron Howard de Walden, won the Dewhurst Stakes-Gr.1 at two and St James’s Palace Stakes-Gr.1 the following season and was a leading sire in Europe (for Coolmore and his breeder’s Plantation Stud) and shuttled to Woodlands (1995-2002) when the stud was owned by Jack and Bob Ingham.

He died at the height of his popularity as a sire after being injured in a paddock accident in 2003. Among the runners he left from those southern seasons was Orong’s sister Avilde, whose six wins included the BTC Doomben Roses-LR and Gosford Belle of the Turf Stakes-LR, while a half-sister Bogani (Sir Tristram) is second dam of stakes winners Happy Forever (Commands) and Super Lacuna (Grand Lodge). 

Grand Lodge also left Gr.1 winners Ambulance, Freemason, Grand Zulu, Hotel Grand, Lovelorn, Shogun Lodge locally and the likes of Grandera, Indian Lodge and English/Irish Derby and Arc de Triomphe hero Sinndar in the north.

His daughters have left more than 900 winners of $78m and their 47 stakes winners include Gr.1 winners Appearance (Commands), Wall Street (Montjeu), Joshua Tree (Montjeu), Zipping (Danehill), Xtension (Xaar), Lucayan (Turtle Bowl), Voleuse de Coeurs (Teofilo) and Strategic News (Strategic). His daughters have crossed well with Commands, Lonhro and Canny Lad (all fellow barn mates at Woodlands/Darley) as well as mares featuring Sir Tristram, especially via sons Sovereign Red and Marauding (dam by Biscay). Daughters of Lonhro, Commands, Canny Lad and Marauding should also suit Toorak Toff, the last two would provide inbreeding to Bletchingly or his sire Biscay, while Commands and Lonhro would bring another line of Relic via Eight Carat. Stratum (whose pedigree features Canny Lad and Kaoru Star), is another whose daughters should suit this young sire.

Second dam Blixen, who won seven races from 1100m-1600m up to Gr.2 level, is by Oakleigh Plate-Gr.1 winner Mighty Avalanche (Kaoru Star-Snow Valley by Small Time) a sire who left more than 400 winners (16SW). Blixen had eight winners from 11 foals but Avilde was her only stakes winner. Her dam Swahili Princess (by the Vaguely Noble horse Frontal (USA)) was unraced and produced 17 foals, 15 raced and 10 won including Blixen and stakes placed Kushinda (Double Century). Frontal was a really interesting horse bred by Nelson Bunker Hunt. Frontal did not race but was by Arc winner and Horse of the Year Vaguely Noble (a great-grandson of Hyperion and inbred to him 3mx4f) and from the French 1000 Guineas winner Pampered Miss by Sadair and from Peruvian champion Pamplona II, by Postin, whose sire Hunter’s Moon (Hurry On-Selene by Chaucer) is a half-brother to Hyperion.

Toorak Toff’s fourth dam Vivace is by the Ebor Handicap winner Sostenuto (ITY) (Never Say Die-Arietta by Tudor Minstrel) who became notorious as a sire of highly strung individuals, although they could gallop too (255 winners), as runners like Imagele and Regal Rhythm proved. Vivace placed in Sydney and produced six winners from her 12 foals, notably Kiwi Princess (by another Bunker Hunt horse in Decies), who won the SAJC Sires’ Produce-Gr.2 and is second dam of the stakes winners Laranto (sire) and Lusso.

Her dam, Passing Cloud (IRE) (Golden Cloud-Moving Up by the Fairway son Pay Up) won eight races in England and Australia and was runner-up in the AJC The Shorts-LR. Her eight winners included AJC December Stakes-LR heroine Bright Picture (Pipe of Peace) whose descendants include Gr.2 winner Seawinne and Gr.1 runner-up Marine Drive (both by Sea Road). Passing Cloud, family 13, is a RF (Rasmussen Factor) to Bromus (4mx5m) via her sons Hainault and Phalaris, while her fifth dam Surehaven (Sweetheart-Crossover by Lord Hastings) is a sister to Cesarewith Stakes winner Clarehaven.

Toggle Cross Duplications
Show/Hide Sibling Identifiers

Six x Six Enhanced Pedigree Grid for

TOORAK TOFF (AUS) 2007 Chestnut colt
by Show a Heart - Orong, by Grand Lodge


Ch. 1997
GW 6 wins
f:839 r:647 w:430 SW:21
  Brave Warrior
Ch. 1991
GW 8 wins
f:102 r:87 w:66 SW:7
  Cossack Warrior
B. or Br. 1983
GW 7 wins
f:290 r:244 w:167 SW:5
  Bletchingly   Biscay   Star Kingdom 1
  Magic Symbol 2
  Coogee   Relic 8
  Last Judgement 7
  Mary   Hermes   Aureole 2
  Ark Royal 11
  Petine   Persian Garden II 14
  Starophelia 1
  Nothing To Do
Ch. 1986
f:9 r:8 w:6 SW:1
  Nijinsky   Northern Dancer   Nearctic 14
  Natalma 2
  Flaming Page   Bull Page 4
  Flaring Top 8
  Heart A Dancer   Raise A Native   Native Dancer 5
  Raise You 8
  Tim Marie   Tim Tam 23
  Russ-Marie 4
  Miss Sandman
Ch. 1988
SP 12 wins
f:12 r:10 w:7 SW:1
  Regal Advice
B. 1980
GW 5 wins
f:131 r:91 w:46
  Vice Regal   Bismark II   Relic 8
  Gun Play 13
  Kind Regards   Le Filou 16
  Waft 3
  String of Pearls   Ardistaan   Charlottesville 14
  Danira 9
  Vivian Ann   Fair's Fair 6
  First Nibble 9
  Misty Morning
Ch. 1976
f:8 r:7 w:5
  Boucher   Ribot   Tenerani 6
  Romanella 4
  Glamour   Nasrullah 9
  Striking 1
  Farmer's Joy   Agricola   Precipitation 2
  Aurora 1
  Te Poi   Dogger Bank 8
  Celebrated 3
Ch. 2002
f:3 r:2 w:1 SW:1
  Grand Lodge
Ch. 1991
GW 4 wins
f:1611 r:1362 w:822 SW:62
  Chief's Crown
B. 1982
GW 12 wins
f:588 r:444 w:334 SW:46
  Danzig   Northern Dancer   Nearctic 14
  Natalma 2
  Pas de Nom   Admiral's Voyage 4
  Petitioner 7
  Six Crowns 1 Secretariat   Bold Ruler 8
  Somethingroyal 2
  Chris Evert   Swoon's Son 12
  Miss Carmie 23
  La Papagena
Br. 1983
f:14 r:12 w:8 SW:3
  Habitat 1 Sir Gaylord   Turn-To 1
  Somethingroyal 2
  Little Hut   Occupy 23
  Savage Beauty 4
  Magic Flute   Tudor Melody   Tudor Minstrel 9
  Matelda 1
  Filigrana   Niccolo Dell'Arca 4
  Gamble In Gold 14
Ch. 1985
GW 7 wins
f:11 r:10 w:8 SW:1
  Mighty Avalanche
Ch. 1978
GW 12 wins
f:684 r:600 w:411 SW:16
  Kaoru Star   Star Kingdom   Stardust 16
  Impromptu 1
  Kaoru   Emperor 20
  Pantomime 31
  Snow Valley   Small Time   Smokey Eyes 13
  Red Garter 3
  Winterworld   Natural Bid 14
  Ice Cube C1
  Swahili Princess
Ch. 1975
f:17 r:15 w:10 SW:1
  Frontal   Vaguely Noble   Vienna 14
  Noble Lassie 1
  Pampered Miss   Sadair 4
  Pamplona 2
  Vivace   Sostenuto   Never Say Die 1
  Arietta 2
  Passing Cloud   Golden Cloud 22
  Moving Up 13

Northern Dancer (CAN) 1961 : 5m x 5m
Star Kingdom (IRE) 1946 : 6m x 5m

Relic (USA) 1945 : 6f 6m x
Somethingroyal (USA) 1952 : x 6m 6m