By Andrew Caulfield
Take a look back at the stallions which covered their first mares in 2014 and you’ll find that the highest-priced newcomers in Ireland were Declaration of War at €40,000, Dawn Approach at €35,000 and Camelot at €25,000. Over in Britain, Intello had the distinction of being the highest-priced freshman, at £25,000, with the next in line being Al Kazeem at £18,000 and Farhh at £17,500. Cityscape was some way down the pecking order at £5,000.
There was good news for several of these over the last couple of weeks and the TDN’s table of second-crop European-based stallions now shows Camelot in a narrow lead over the deceased Society Rock, with Dawn Approach in a solid third place. Intello is still awaiting his first black-type winner of the year, but that should soon change. He is getting plenty of winners over middle distances and appears to have smart prospects in Young Rascal, a five-length winner of an 11-furlong maiden race at Newbury last Saturday, and Godolphin’s unbeaten Nordic Lights, winner of a 10-furlong novice stakes at Newmarket’s Craven meeting.
I must admit that I was somewhat underwhelmed with Dawn Approach’s results with his first 2-year-olds last year. From a crop of 111, he failed to sire a single black-type winner, even though he had four individuals which were good enough to be placed at stakes level, including three at group level. Darley’s response was to reduce his fee from 2017’s €30,000 to €20,000.
What made Dawn Approach’s rather quiet start all the more disappointing is the fact that he had been the champion 2-year-old of 2012, when he showed a wonderful blend of precocity and durability. Winner of the first juvenile race of the Irish turf season, he was already unbeaten in three starts by the time he lined up for the G2 Coventry S. He won that too, defeating Olympic Glory, to initiate New Approach’s sensational first-crop 2-year-old treble at the Royal meeting. By the end of the year Dawn Approach was still unbeaten, having added Group 1 victories in the National S. and Dewhurst S.
It mustn’t be forgotten though that breeding racehorses is often a matter of compromise. Owners of big mares tend to look for a smallish stallion, and vice versa. If I remember rightly, the 15.2-hands Shareef Dancer was swamped with big mares when he initially retired to stud and this didn’t prove helpful to the G1 Irish Derby winner. Similarly, owners of backward or stoutly-bred mares which did little at two are wont to send them to stallions which possessed plenty of 2-year-old ability. Consequently, it isn’t always the stallion’s fault if his progeny fail to inherit a full measure of his precocity.
It also mustn’t be forgotten that Dawn Approach wasn’t just a 2-year-old. He confirmed his champion status at three, with victories in the G1 2000 Guineas and G1 St James’s Palace S., and with a creditable second to Toronado in the G1 Sussex S. Therefore we should be prepared to see plenty of talented 3-year-olds by the Kildangan resident.
His first group victory as a sire came via Godolphin’s French-trained Musis Amica, who recently landed the G3 Prix de la Grotte. This filly’s background supports my theories. Her dam White Star was by Darshaan out of a high-class daughter of Northern Dancer and was therefore bred to stay pretty well. Sure enough, White Star didn’t race at two before developing into a talented mile-and-a-half performer who was placed at Group 2 and Group 3 levels. White Star’s best previous winner was Harland, a smart 10-furlong winner who raced just once as a juvenile.
Dawn Approach’s second black-type winner is Mary Tudor, who showed a likeable blend of talent and enthusiasm in winning the Salsabil S. over a mile and a quarter at Navan on Sunday. Although she was group-placed at two, this grey filly looks to be better suited by a mile and a quarter and the chances are that she will stay further. Her dam Antiquities was another who never raced at two, prior to developing into a useful performer at around a mile and a quarter. Antiquities’s sire Kaldounevees, who stayed at least 1 3/8 miles, was another who never raced at two.
Rather surprisingly, Cityscape was the other second-crop sire who enjoyed a recent stakes double. I have to own up here to having always been one of Cityscape’s greatest admirers. He is a grandson of Sharpen Up, one of my all-time favourites, and he is by Selkirk, who sired more Group 1 winners–17–than any other son of Sharpen Up.
Juddmonte was one of Selkirk’s main supporters during his long innings at Lanwades Stud and the association proved mutually beneficial. From something like 75 foals by Selkirk, the Juddmonte team bred eight group winners and a listed winner. That’s around 12% black-type winners and among them were the Group 1 winners Wince (1000 Guineas), Announce and Cityscape. Juddmonte also bought a Selkirk colt on one of its rare ventures into the sales ring and that colt, Leadership, went close to winning the G3 September S. for Juddmonte before being sold to Godolphin, for whom he won the G1 Gran Premio di Milano.
Selkirk was an object lesson in why breeders should judge a horse’s conformation before he has had a chance to let down physically as a stallion. As a mature stallion Selkirk was an imposing individual, big and very powerful. But he looked much more refined and leggy while in training and he was arguably at his most impressive when on the move, with his long easy action.
I always felt that Selkirk benefited from a well-made, broad-chested mare. Wince was sired from a daughter of the neat and muscular Lyphard and Selkirk also thrived with some of Juddmonte’s granddaughters of Mr. Prospector. Announce was produced by Hachita, a small strong daughter of Gone West, and Selkirk also thrived with mares by the strong, medium-sized, close-coupled Distant View. From six foals bred this way, he sired Tranquil Tiger, a Group 3 winner, and Cityscape, who retired with earnings equivalent to just over £3 million.
Tranquil Tiger’s dam Serene View was just a minor winner but Cityscape’s dam Tantina was highly talented. Unfortunately, Tantina inherited Distant View’s distinctly offset knees. Although these ultimately compromised her career, it was not before she had won her first four starts, all over seven furlongs, including two listed races. One of her listed victories was gained by five lengths, to boost her Timeform rating to 115.
Tantina was to have only six foals but her second foal was Cityscape and her third was the similarly talented Bated Breath. Juddmonte has two of her daughters. The first, Scuffle, was useful and is now the dam of Suffused, who went close to becoming a Grade I winner in North America, and the other is Bated Breath’s sister Abated, whose first living foal is the 2-year-old Iffraaj filly Abanica.
I remember a visit to Ferrans Stud to view the Juddmonte yearlings in 2008. We found time to watch the 2:40 race from Salisbury, as it was expected to provide Cityscape with his first win at his second attempt. Win he did, with his winning distance of nine lengths suggesting that he could be something special.
Just how special became clear a few years later, when the 6-year-old Cityscape ran away with the hugely valuable Dubai Duty Free at Meydan, scoring by more than four lengths. I was always left wondering what he might have achieved had his career not been compromised by injuries or setbacks. He was off the course for nearly a year after finishing sore in the G1 2000 Guineas. Fast ground then kept him on the side-lines in the summer of his 4-year-old season but he returned to win two races in the autumn, including the G3 Joel S. by seven lengths. Timeform rated him 127 on the strength of that display. Two more Group 3 wins came his way at the age of five, when his rating held steady at 126, and the consistent son of Selkirk maintained that level as a 6-year-old.
A disappointing effort on his sole appearance at seven meant it was time for Cityscape to retire. With his younger half-brother Bated Breath having already joined the Banstead Manor stallion team, Cityscape was sold to stand at Overbury Stud in Gloucestershire.
Like most new stallions, he was popular in his first season, with 98 mares producing 61 foals. Since then, though, his book has stood at 50 mares in 2015, 38 in 2016 and around 48 in 2017. Hopefully he will be covering a bigger book this year, as there seems sure to be plenty of late interest in him following his black-type double last week. He sired the G3 Fred Darling S. winner Dan’s Dream from Royal Ffanci, a Royal Applause mare who never raced after selling for 27,000gns as a yearling. And he sired The Broghie Man, who defeated three smart performers from the Aidan O’Brien yard in the Committed S., from Suelita, a four-time Italian winner by Dutch Art. Keep an eye out too for his progressive daughter Give And Take, who holds an Oaks entry.