In a tremendous coup for Australian breeding, ground breaking Wootton Bassett sprinter, WOODED, will stand at Swettenham Stud on behalf of Toronado's owners Al Shaqab Racing in 2022.
A multiple group performer at 2 in France, WOODED would capture the prestigious Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye over "Arc" weekend at Longchamp over 1000m – a rarity for a 3YO colt – carrying 62kgs. In just 9 starts, WOODED won the Prix de Tour at Deauville at just his second start, having run second in his debut as well as running third in the Group 3 Thomas Bryon, as a 2yo and second in the Group 3 Prix du Petit Couvert. As an early 3yo, he smashed his rivals in the Group 3 Prix Texanita at Chantilly over 1200m then finished an outstanding fourth behind 3-time Group 1 winner Pinatubo in the famous Group 1 Prix Jean Prat over 1400m.
Wooded becomes the first son of boom sire Wootton Bassett to stand in Australia, although another Wootton Bassett Group 1 winner, Almanzor, has covered massive books at Cambridge Stud in New Zealand and has started in the best way possible with a Karaka Million winning 2yo.
Not surprisingly, Swettenham principal, Adam Sangster, is ecstatic at securing Wooded for stud duties down under.
“It’s ironic really, I was actually in France last month to negotiate Toronado’s permanent move to Swettenham,” Sangster reveals. “Toronado has been kicking goals all over the shop with horses like Masked Crusader (G1 William Reid) and Shelby Sixtysix (G1 Galaxy) eand covered a full book in each of the past 5 seasons.
“Toronado has been shuttling – courtesy of Al Shaqab – from Haras de Bouquetot in France and while I was discussing Toronado with Stud Manager, Benoit Jeffroy, he insisted I have a look at Toronado’s barnmate, Wooded … particularly his first foals!
“Obviously I was familiar with what Wooded had done on the track – apart from being an outstanding 2YO, he won the Abbaye carrying a big weight and on a surface that didn’t suit. But frankly, I was just blown away by the quality of his foals and I simply had to get him for our farm.
“A good example is the Sadler’s Wells mare Changing Skies … she’s a multiple Group winner and a full or half to eight stakes winners – 3 of them Champions. As you can imagine she’s been to the very best stallions in Europe but only thrown, to date, some fairly ordinary types. Yet Benoit tells me that her Wooded foal is by far the best yet.”
Leading French trainer, Francis-Henri Graffard, was similarly full of praise for Wooded and believes he’ll be an absolute dynamo at Swettenham.
“He (Wooded) is a Group performed 2YO sprinter with tremendous conformation and very sound, which should be perfect for Australia,” Graffard points out. “His ability to quicken was amazing and he had a high cruising speed with lots of power. I made a mistake early in his career by running him over 7 furlongs (1400m) and when we dropped him back to 6 furlongs at three, he came out and won a Group race first up. Wooded would have gotten over further as he progressed and I was very disappointed – due to COVID – that we couldn’t run him at Royal Ascot where I think he would have done very well.
“His preferred surface was firm tracks but we took the risk (on the heavy surface) in the Abbaye and he proved once and for all that he was a Group 1 horse.”
Benoit Jeffroy, Stud Manager for Haras de Bouquetot noted “Wooded was very impressive physically as a yearling, he had an imposing frame, athletic and a great mover. He stands at 16.2hh and is perfectly correct. As a racehorse he had so many qualities, class, courage, great temperament and so much speed.
His first foals this year are well stamped, consistently showing strength and depth as well as being good sized foals, proving quite similar to Wootton Bassett’s progeny.
We are delighted with his start at stud, as well as the Europeans breeders who have supported him again this year, especially as a sire with exceptional proven fertility. "
In fact, breeders supported him with such strength in his first season at stud in France that 88% of his mares were either black type earners themselves, producers of black type progeny or out of black type mares.
Mares covered by WOODED in his first season at stud include the dams of Incarville - 1st Prix St Alary Gr.1, Lord Glitters - dual Gr.1 winner and City Light - Gr.1 performer as well as the sisters of Great Heavens & Playful act - Gr.1 winners, Nathaniel - Gr.1 winner and proven stallion and Daryakana & Vahorimix - dual Classic winners.
The runner-up to Wooded in his Group 1 win was 3-time Group 1 winner Glass Slippers, who had won the Abbaye the year previously and, after her second in the Abbaye, captured the Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at her next start.
Wooded will stand at an introductory fee of $22,000 incl GST this spring.
“The ‘line’ clearly works in this part of the world,” Sangster enthuses. “Wootton Bassett is firing on all cylinders and stood at $71,500 in Australia last season (150,000 euro in Ireland). It’s little wonder that Almanzor is going great guns in New Zealand as well when you consider Wootton Bassett’s sire, Iffraaj, produced Jon Snow, Gingernuts, Turn Me Loose, Wyndspelle and Western Empire when standing across the ditch, while Irish sprinter, Jungle Cat, won the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes here in Australia.
“It’s worth keeping in mind that Wootton Bassett’s current 5YO crop – conceived at a fee of just 6,000 euro – has produced 12 stakes winners so I’m anticipating plenty of interest in Wooded right out of the gate.”
For further information on Wooded and Swettenham Stud’s 2022 roster – Toronado, Highland Reel, I Am Immortal, Puissance de Lune and Rubick – phone Adam Sangster on 0418 543 633 or Sam Matthews on 0487 851 572.