Vale Towkay. You touched so many of us

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 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. Not only was he a most successful sire, but he was so endearing to everyone whose path he crossed” Williams said.

Towkay sired 28 black type performers including three individual Group 1 winners highlighted by the multiple elite level winner Viadana. Perhaps his best performer, although he never won an officially recognised Group 1, 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 Group 1 Yasuda Kinen, with the winner running 1.32 for the 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 $34million.

Today his legacy continues through his daughters highlighted by this weekends Golden Eagle runner Legato out of the towkay mare Geordie Girl.

Towkay was 29 years of age or 116 in human terms, 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.

No doubt there will be a trainer or two in Hong Kong this week who will raise a glass to Towkay. LA will certainly drink to that.

My huge condolences. I am weeping too. I had to bury his first born Heloise last year. His and her legacy lives on. What a brilliant stallion and great horse of mana he was.

Hon Dame Lowell Goddard, KC

Oh so sorry to hear that .. I really loved him as a racehorse - 29.. well done!

Caroline Searcy

Thank you for sharing your story of such a wonderful stallion. I’d also like to thank you for the wonderful care that you give to all of the horses, including our Bonny mare Subtle.

Bryn Rees

Wow so said to hear this bad news. Towkay was a great stallion and his progeny was so great to ride. So easy to teach and gave there best. RIP Towkay

Darryl Bradley

Sorry to read Towkay is no longer with you . We will certainly raise a glass to him on Saturday win lose or draw with Legarto

Team Legarto

Sorry to hear about Towkay, he was such a legend

Nicky Wallace

I wanted to take a moment to express my condolences for the loss of Towkay. He was the first stallion I ever encountered, and my time at your farm working with his progeny was truly a privilege. It was through that experience that I found my passion for the thoroughbred veterinary world, which has been incredibly rewarding and enjoyable. Towkay's impact on my career is something I will always cherish. Thank you for the opportunity to work with such remarkable horses. Wishing you all the best.

Steven Christopher

So sad to hear this news. I have tears in my eyes. Mum, Aunty Tina and the other syndicate members  having those fabulous moments with Viadana. Nothing will beat them.

Virginia Healey

I have one of his babies, Towzee (2002, out of Classic Realm). He now lives in Maryland (USA) and raced in three countries, and two continents earning just over $150,000 before retiring in 2012. I've owned him since racing retirement and can attest to the personality, quality and overall good looks that he got from Towkay. I have enjoyed him for many years, and if he's anything like his father- I will enjoy him for many years to come.

Thank you Towkay. may you rest easy and best wishes to your family, and all of your connections

Marie Coale

Rip towkay you were an amazing old boy. The paddock right by the office won’t be the same

Morgan Percy

A fantastic summary of an extremely talented sire

Jude Simpson