Above: King of Hastings with Craig Williams on board (image Grant Courtney)
Chapel City’s boilover win in the Group 3 R.A. Lee Stakes at Morphettville on Saturday has given his Victorian sire – llovethiscity – another reminder of the stallion’s ability to produce a big race winner.
The six year-old gelding started at 100-1 to narrowly score for Victorian apprentice jockey Georgina Cartwright over the 1600m trip, defeating Group 1 winner Seabrook and the highly fancied Harbour Views.
llovethiscity, a son of Magic Albert, is a Group 1 winner and racked up nearly $1 million in prize money when trained at Randwick by Grahame Begg. Three of his four wins were at Group level.
Now standing at Noor Elaine Farm at Euroa, the stud’s manager Mark Calwell said they couldn’t be happier with the stallion as they attempt to resurrect his career in the breeding barn.
“We are just happy with IIovethiscity overall,” Mark Calwell said.
“Since we took him on it’s just got better and better.
“He always seems to have had a stakes horse hanging around.”
After Chapel City’s triumph, the stallion’s promising three-year-old King of Hastings went down by a head at Flemington over 1000m after starting $3.20 favourite.
“King of Hastings was really good too,” Calwell said.
“I don’t know whether he is a major group horse, but he is certainly a good horse. Chapel City is a good horse that just keeps achieving results.”
King of Hastings trained by Anthony Freedman at Flemington has had nine starts for three wins and four seconds.
IIovethiscity previously stood at Euroa’s Larneuk Stud but has had two seasons at the neighbouring Noor Elaine Farm.
His fee when he joined Noor Elaine Farm in 2018 was $4400 and he served 70 mares which was the largest number of his stallion career which began in 2012 with 43 mares.
Last year he served 59 mares when his service fee was increased to $5500.
Calwell says it is an unbelievably competitive market for stallions at the lower end of the market.
“It makes it tough,” he said.
“But we have got some really nice horses by him on the farm that are weanlings and we will see how we go.”
Calwell hopes that llovethiscity will get a big boost if the Greg Eurell trained llovemyself performs during the spring carnival. The gelding was bred and raced by Neville Murdoch who stood llovethiscity at his Larneuk Stud Farm.
Ilovemyself won on debut at Flemington, claiming the listed Very Special Kids Plate (1000m) and was then unplaced as the favourite in the Group 3 Pago Pago at Rosehill before heading to the paddock.
Calwell said the spruik on the two year-old colt is pretty big.
“If the spruik on him lives up to it, I think IIovethiscity will be very popular this year.” Calwell said.
“I hope to match the 59 mares we got last year or go a little bit better. You have to be a realistic with everything that is going on at the moment.”
“And I don’t know whether people will just sit on their cash in that lower end of the market or whether some of them will think we should be breeding because two years down the track things might be better.”
Calwell said they had provided llovethiscity with the best possible mares and it was now up to the stallion to produce after having modest books of 28 and 27 in 2017 and 2016.
He said they had some nice colts by the stallion to go the sales next year.
“We have got a fair few of our mares in foal to him, so we are backing him as much as we can.” Calwell said.
“Horses like him probably don’t get top mares which you have to be a realist about it.”
Chapel City was bred by South Australian based Margot Noack who has been a big supporter of Victorian based stallions.
Margot owns the dam of Chapel City – Chapent – and believed the breeding of IIovethiscity was a good mix for her unraced mare that is now 16 years-old.
“I just thought it matched up so well,” she said.
“I went to look at the horse and he was just magnificent. He is very masculine which I liked and he was a good racehorse.
“I thought why is he so cheap which was ridiculous but I’m jolly glad he was because that’s all I could afford.”
Margot has another colt by IIovethiscity from Chapent and sent another two of her mares – A Sweetee and Wings of An Angel – to the stallion for two fillies.
“We have got three on the ground by him now and I sent Chapent to Puissance de Lune last year,” she said.
Margot believes that IIovethiscity is extremely underrated.