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Bit Of A Yarn

Towkay - Passes at the age of 29.

Chief Stipe

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Towkay pictured with stallion groom Helen Phinney. Photo: Supplied

Vale Towkay

2 November 2023
Father time finally caught up with the seemingly ageless Towkay, who was retired from stallion duties at Little Avondale in 2017, and the decision was made earlier in the week to humanely euthanise the son of Last Tycoon.
Full of personality and character, Towkay endeared himself to all the staff at Little Avondale Stud after arriving at the Masterton operation in 1999.
For LA studmaster Sam Williams, who got on with Towkay “like a house on fire”, the decision was personally very tough, despite the inevitability.
“He is the reason the farm is what it is today, we owe him a huge debt of gratitude," Williams said.
"Not only was he a most successful sire, but he was so endearing to everyone whose path he crossed."
Towkay sired 28 black type performers including three individual Group One winners highlighted by the multiple elite-level winner Viadana.
Perhaps his best performer, although he never won an officially recognised Group One, was the outstanding miler Armada. Bred by Tom Jamieson, Armada won some of the most prestigious mile races in Hong Kong in an era when the former British colony was blessed with some great milers, although arguably his best performance came when running second to the Champion Japanese mare Vodka in the Gr.1 Yasuda Kinen (1600m).
His progeny adapted perfectly to the training regime and climate in Hong Kong. He had a mortgage in the top five on the Hong Kong sires premiership for years, and one year he had three runners in the Hong Kong Derby.
Towkay did it the hard way, his biggest crop was 59 foals, and in the days well shy of today’s astronomical prizemoney levels, his progeny earnings totalled over $34 million.
Today his legacy continues through his daughters highlighted by this weekends A$10 million Golden Eagle (1500m) runner Legarto, who is out of the Towkay mare Geordie Girl.
Towkay was 29 years of age, something which Williams is proud of and that he attributes to the wonderful care and attention the horse received from LA’s longtime Head Stallion Groom, Helen Phinney.
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