Ilovethiscity takes Showdown line to new generation

A DOUBLE at Geelong on July 4 and a Doomben winner on July 8 have helped put the spotlight on Randwick Guineas-Gr.1 winner Ilovethiscity (Magic Albert-Kensington Rose (NZ) by Kenfair) who retired to Larneuk Stud in 2012. The young stallion has had 12 winners of 21 races and $835,762 this season (early July), including stakes placed Chapel City, with his oldest runners just three year-olds. He is the leading sire of APEX ABC runners wih 100 year starters (<150).

The Geelong winners, Moonlover (ex Moondreamer (IRE) by Danehilll) in a 1200m benchmark 70 and Ville Chanson (ex Silksong by Commands) in a 1300m benchmark 64, are both from their sire’s first crop and were not offered as yearlings, while juvenile Doomben winner Ilovevegas (ex Ruparani by Red Ransom (USA)) is a colt who cost just $21,000 at the Magic Millions 2016 March Yearling Sale and returned $40,000 for his win over 1350m.

Moonlover, a filly, has now won four races and almost $80,000, Ville Chanson has won two of just four starts and $32,000, while Ilovevegas has two wins and has only been out of the money once in six starts for earnings topping $93,000. The best performer for this son of Magic Albert (Zeditave) and Kensington Rose, a daughter of the Silver Slipper-Gr.2 winner Kenfair, is the stakes placed Chapel City, a winner of three races to 1400m and $167,000.

His dam is by Peintre Celebre (Nureyev) and his second dam is by Kenfair’s sire Kenmare (4mx3f), who is also sire of Kanmary, third dam of Moonlover (4mx4f), while her second dam Brigitta is by that horse’s three-quarter brother Sadler’s Wells.

Nureyev also features as the sire of Theatrical, sire of the second dam of Ilovevegas. Kenfair’s dam Market Fair (Biscay-Heart of Market (USA) by To Market) is a sister to Golden Slipper winner and champion sire Marscay, a horse who appears in the pedigrees of good Ilovethiscity winners The Passage (dam by Encores, a son of Marscay) and City of Dreams (second dam by Weasel Clause, by Marscay), giving a sister/brother double.

Danehill features in many of the pedigrees of Ilovethiscity winners too, including the recent Geelong duo, while Plenty to Like, three wins and Listed fourth, is out of a mare by Stratum and winners Son of City and Beyond Passion are from daughters of Danehill Dancer.

Other sires who feature on the distaff side of Ilovethiscity winners include Encosta de Lago, Invincible Spirit, General Nediym, Last Tycoon and Yallah Prince. Surprisingly, for a horse who won four races including the Guineas-Gr.1, Hobartville Stakes-Gr.2 and NJC Spring Stakes-Gr.3 (1400m-1600m) and whose placings also include a second in the George Main Stakes-Gr.1 and a third in the Golden Rose-Gr.1, Ilovethiscity will stand at just $6600 at Neville Murdoch’s Larneuk Stud at Euroa this season.

Magic Albert

Considering he’s never served a book of more than 50 (2013), the chestnut is doing a really remarkable job with his limited amount of runners, having just 39 first crop foals and 37 in his second crop. Magic Albert BUT it’s a sure bet he’ll keep getting good winners as he’s a son of another underrated sire in Magic Albert (Zeditave-Sally Lou by Salieri (USA), now on the roster at the Lamont family’s Kooringal Stud at Wagga Wagga ($8800) after spending most of his career at Arthur and Harry Mitchell’s Yarraman Park Stud at Scone, starting in 2002.

He’s left more than 500 winners (67%) of $39m and his 22 stakes winners include four at Gr.1 level. In addition to Ilovethiscity they are Albert the Fat (Bureaucracy), successful in the Emirates-Gr.1 and BTC Cup-Gr.1 among 11 wins and earnings of $1.3m, the NZ 2000 Guineas-Gr.1 winner Magic Cape (Kaapstad) and the Greyville Golden Horseshoe-Gr.1 winner Fighting Warrior (Wallenda).

A winner of seven of his 13 starts including the Peter Pan-Gr.2 (1500m) and the NJC Spring Stakes-Gr.3 and runner-up to Lonhro in the Stan Fox-Gr.2, he also came to hand early and won four of six starts at two as well as placing in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic-RL behind Exellerator, a Gr.1 winner he subsequently defeated in the Peter Pan the following season.

Known for siring tough sprinter-milers who train on and win multiple races, he’s clicked with a variety of sire lines including Zabeel and his sire Sir Tristram, mares from the Star Kingdom line, Red Ransom, Nureyev, Last Tycoon and Danehill. His dam is by the Damascus line horse Salieri, a Gr.2 winner in the UK and then a very good sire for Widden Stud, leaving the winners of more than $20m including the champion sprinter Schillaci (eight Gr.1 wins) and six-time Gr.1 winner Shaftesbury Avenue.

His daughters have left 30 stakes winners (five Gr.1) of $36m including Lashed (Encosta de Lago) and Porto Roca (Barathea), the last named is dam of Dubai World Cup-Gr.1 winner Monterosso (Dubawi). Second dam Plunkett Street (IRE) is by champion sire Habitat and from School for Scandal by the Ribot-sired Belmont Stakes-Gr.1 winner Arts and Letters (US Horse of the Year at three in 1969) and from 1962 Champion English Sprinter Secret Step (Native Dancer-Tap Day by Bull Lea), family 2o.

Dam line WHILE this is a high-class female line, Ilovethiscity loses nothing in comparison. His second dam Sweet Rose (Sir Tristram (IRE)-Sweet Time by Summertime (GB)) is a three-quarter sister to the Epsom Handicap-Gr.1 winner and sire Dalmacia and a half-sister to the AJC Oaks-Gr.1 winner Gay Poss (Le Filou (FR)). Descendants of Gay Poss include Gr.1 winners Grosvenor and National Gallery (both by Sir Tristram) and their three quarter sister Ana Zeal (Zabeel), second dam of sprint star Lankan Rupee (Redoute’s Choice).

Gay Poss is also third dam of AJC Oaks-Gr.1 winner Mahaya (Sir Tristram) and Sweet Embrace Stakes-Gr.2 winner and dual Gr.1 runner-up Shadea (Straight Strike), dam of Gr.1 winners and sires Lonhro and Niello, both by Sir Tristram grandson Octagonal. Daughters of Lonhro, who was Champion Sire in Australia in 2010-11, could be an excellent choice for Ilovethiscity, especially as his grandsire Zabeel is out of a mare by Nureyev. This is family 8 and this branch has been making a mark on Australasian racing since the importation of the mare Locket (GB) (Thunderbolt) to NZ in the late 1870s.

Ilovethiscity’s fifth dam, Sweet Wren (Able Seaman (GB)) won the Welcome Stakes and Desert Gold Stakes in NZ and her Oaks-winning half-sister Najmi (Instinct (GB)) is the dam of noted stayer and SA Derby winner Ziema, a son of Summertime who was beaten a lip by Light Fingers in the 1965 Melbourne Cup, both trained by the great Bart Cummings.

Ilovethiscity deserves the attention of breeders not just for his race record, strong distaff line and the fact that he is siring good winners from modest opportunity, but because he is a direct male line link to one of the greatest sires to stand in Victoria in the shape of Showdown (GB) (Infatuation-Zanzara by Fairy Fulmar), who is his great-great grandsire.

This link comes via Showdown’s smart sprinting son The Judge (ex Bellition by Bellborough (IRE)), that horse’s outstanding sprinter Zeditave (ex Summoned by Crowned Prince (USA)) and to Magic Albert. Showdown WHEN showbiz impresario Jack Hylton sent his handy race mare Zanzara to the Nearco horse Infatuation in the northern spring of 1960 he could hardly have imagined the impact the resulting foal would have on the breeding industry of a country half a world away.

The foal from that union, Showdown (GB), turned out to be an outstanding two year-old, he would merit a Timeform of 133 at that age and then a superb sire from his base at the late Ken Cox’s Stockwell Stud in Victoria. In a time when our breeding industry is dominated by Danehill and his tribe, supporting and retaining lines which offer some diversity (and cross well with Danehill) is important for the health of our gene pool.

These “domestic” sire lines offer some certainty too as they have developed and thrived in this country and their progeny are suited to local training methods and race conditions, yet they are often overlooked by breeders as being “unfashionable”. But being by an unfashionable sire was probably the only reason an Australian syndicate was able to secure Showdown for $88,000 in time for the 1966 stud season.

His sire was the Dewhurst Stakes-Gr.1 winner Infatuation, a son of Nearco and the Molecomb Stakes winner and 1000 Guineas third Allure by Sir Cosmo, who proved disappointing at stud (8SW) and was eventually sold to Japan. Showdown was by far his best performer and his juvenile season included wins in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Middle Park Stakes-Gr.1, both by three lengths.

Disappointing at three, he went on to win the Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot at four and a success over Roan Rocket in a mile stakes race at Goodwood. Timeform rated him Leading Miler in 1965 and awarded him a rating of 126. His dam Zanzara turned out to be a fantastic producer for Jack Hylton and his heirs (he died in 1965).

Hylton had been a famous bandleader in Britain in the first half of the 20th century and raced Zanzara to win four races including the Acorn Stakes at two and she won two races at three including handicaps at Epsom and Newbury and was also third (beaten a neck and half-length) in the 28 runner in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood.

Her sire Fairy Fulmar (Fair Trial-First Flight by Felstead) was also a top class handicapper, winning the Cambridgeshire. Zanzara came from a talented family, her dam Sunright (Solario) is a half-sister to Republic (Prix de Chemin de Fer du Nord) and her grandam Democratie (Epinard-Queenly by Ramrod, a son of Carbine) was very fast, winning the Prix du Petit Covert.

Zanzara was outstanding at stud and in 20 seasons produced 17 live foals (the first 14 in succession) and with 14 of the 16 to race (by 11 different sires) becoming winners. Her notable winners also included top class sprinter Matatina (Grey Sovereign), whose five wins included the Nunthorpe Stakes (she became dam of a Gr.1 winner in Japan and her descendants include VRC Sires’ Produce-Gr.1 winner Rechabite); Farfalla (Crocket), winner of the Queen Mary Stakes; Listed winner and Gr.1 placed Duke Ellington (IRE) (Prince Tenderfoot), a sire in Australia; Enticement (Infatuation), winner of the Lavant Stakes and dam of Mussorgsky (GB); Listed winner Enrico (Sica Boy), a sire in South Africa and stakes placed Triaca (GB) (Molvedo), a sire in Australia.

Showdown was an instant success at Stockwell (now Stockwell Thoroughbreds) at Diggers Rest for Ken Cox, who purchased the property, then named Chelandry, in 1958 and renamed it after great English racehorse and sire Stockwell. Showdown went to stud in 1966 and became the Leading First Crop Sire of 1969-70.

His first two runners were the winners Prodromus and Dual Choice (16 wins, Champion 2Y0, twice winner of the Oakleigh Plate). Twice Champion Sire of Juveniles (1972-73, 1974-75) and then twice Champion Sire by earnings (1975-76, 1977-78), Showdown sired 297 winners of $5.5m and his 46 stakes winners (13 Gr.1) included the Golden Slipper winners Tontonan and Toy Show and classic winners like Show Ego, Leica Show, Royal Show (also second in the Slipper), Silver Sharpe (AJC, VRC, QTC Derbys), Autumn Talk and Kiss Me Cait and the top class Love a Show (Blue Diamond, third Slipper), Love Bandit (Brisbane Cup, third Melbourne Cup), Kapalaran and Palaban. He was also an outstanding broodmare sire, winning that title in 1982-83.

It’s a sire line worth nurturing and Gr.1 winner Ilovethiscity is a horse certainly worthy of enabling it to continue. Breeders looking for a tough, sound stallion at a very modest fee, one described by his noted trainer Graham Begg as “up there with the best I’ve trained”, could find this imposing chestnut is just what they have been looking for.