Big, red and beautiful: Begg loves his guineas charge

7th Oct 2010

Sydney Morning Herald - Andrew Garvey - Thursday 6 October 2010

Boom Sydney colt Ilovethiscity is set to shake up the Caulfield Guineas, writes Andrew Garvey.

Most judges were impressed by the appearance and trackwork of Caulfield Guineas second favourite Ilovethiscity yesterday morning.

His chestnut coat, just like his sire Magic Albert and forbears, including Zeditave and Showdown, has a gloss to it that would match the best Dulux could offer and after giving stablemate All Silent - a notoriously lazy trackworker - a four-length start and four-length beating, the motor inside appears just as good as the duco.

Advertisement: Story continues below ''His coat's absolutely glistening and he's really thrived since he's been down here. He's done unbelievably well,'' said trainer Grahame Begg, who put him on a float to Melbourne last Wednesday.

Begg said he decided to partner up with All Silent to try and get the younger horse focused in his first gallop around Caulfield and could not have been happier with the result. ''He got around the turn nicely and it was exactly what I wanted. He's got wonderful acceleration.''

Ilovethiscity was ridden by race jockey Glen Boss, who is still scratching his head as to how he managed to get the ride ahead of his Sydney rivals.

''I can't believe how someone hasn't seen this horse at Randwick and said 'I'll walk over broken glass to to get on this.' I'm baffled by it,'' Boss said of the colt, which has had a different rider in each of his seven starts. While Boss might be baffled now, yearling buyers at the Inglis Classic sale last year also missed a bargain, with Ilovethiscity being knocked down to Begg for just $40,000 and he actually only cost connections $8000 in cash.

Most of the owners of Ilovethiscity raced another Begg-trained horse, Hands Up For Detroit, which won a race with a $16,000 BOBS bonus attached to it.

However, by electing to take the bonus as a rebate on a yearling buy, it doubled to $32,000, making Ilovethiscity an absolute steal. Begg said he had already trained a colt by Magic Albert which stands at the Mitchell family's Yarraman Park Stud at Scone and liked what he had seen.

''I'd trained one for the Mitchells and I love the way they [Magic Albert's] handle themselves, so I was very keen to buy one,'' he said.

Begg inspected all 15 lots on offer by Magic Albert, which on the racetrack won the Spring Stakes at Newcastle just as Ilovethiscity did, before running seventh behind Lonhro in the 2001 guineas.

While he picked out Ilovethiscity, the modest Begg admits that he could just as easily bought several of the others. ''I looked at every Magic Albert at the Classic [Sale] and could easily have bought another one but he just fell through the cracks at the right price,'' he said.

Fortunately for Begg and his wife, Sue, a couple of Hands Up For Detroit's owners elected not to go into the new horse, allowing the couple to buy into ownership of the colt. Begg could well have bought one of the other Magic Alberts, but Ilovethiscity's pedigree had several attractive aspects to it.

While Ilovethiscity's dam, Kensington Rose, retired a maiden after nine starts, her dam was a three-quarter sister to Dalmacia, an Epsom Handicap winner for Begg's father Neville, as well as being related to Mahaya, which won the 1993 AJC Oaks for Grahame.

''We had a bit of history there with the family, with dad training Dalmacia and I trained Mahaya, so there was always that bit extra with him,'' he said.

And for those punters who like things in threes, Ilovethiscity, whose birthday just happens to be today, is closely related to Caulfield Guineas winners Lonhro and Grosvenor.

The scene is set for a return bout with guineas favourite Toorak Toff, which beat Ilovethiscity narrowly in the group 1 Golden Rose.

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