We’ve had our eye on King’s Cross for quite a while now and have mentioned her frequently in recent Pedlines. Once we had a chance to do some real research on her, we decided to go ahead and name her a Reine-de-Course. This is a family line that can only grow stronger.
Background And Pedigree
King’s Cross was a member of the Paraffin family via the Rhona branch. Her half sister, Trouble by Caerleon (1927), is the fourth dam of American Handicap winner Mister Wonderful, a former California stallion.
Her full sister Belbroughton is the second dam of Lucy Lufton by Nimbus, dam of Preakness winner Greek Money and Delaware Handicap winner Open Fire. Lucy Lufton’s half sister, Lady Lufton by Petition, is the dam of Corpora by *Ribot, winner of the Prix Eugene Adam.
King’s Cross was bred by Captain A. Fitzgerald and raced at two in the colors of Captain Lionel Montagu. She never won, but did run second and third in six of her eight races. She finally broke her maiden as a three year old.
King’s Cross was sired by King Salmon, a half brother to Derby winner and major sire *Blenheim II, and as mentioned above was a half sister to Trouble, a winner who produced Britannia Stakes winner Burpham. The pair of sisters was out of Doublure by Comedy King, a filly who could only place as a juvenile.
Second dam Rhona by St. Leger winner Hurry On ran second in the Prince of Wales’s Two Year Old Stakes and produced stakes winner Epilobeum, winner of the Union Jack Stakes. Third dam Verve and fourth dam Valve were major producers tracing to the previously mentioned Paraffin clan.
Building Her Branch
King’s Cross first began to make a name for herself as a producer with the advent of her stakes winning son King’s Counsel by Fair Trial, winner of the Blue Riband Trial Stakes. But she improved on that colt when his three-quarter brother King’s Bench by Court Martial came along and was one of the most impressive two-year-olds of 1951, winning the Coventry and Middle Park Stakes.
King’s Bench raced in the colors of Mr. A. J. Tompsett and was kept for racing after not meeting his reserve as a sale yearling. He had earlier been purchased by Tompsett from his breeder, Mrs. Lionel Montagu for 2600 guineas at another yearling sale.
It was written of him in The British Bloodstock Review that, “As an individual, there is much to like about King’s Bench. He is a beautifully compact colt of excellent quality and just the right size. His action is smooth and all that could be desired and his future will depend entirely upon himself.”
As it turned out, King’s Bench did not train on to become a classic horse, but did win the important St. James Palace Stakes at Ascot at three. He did, however, become a good sire and is, in fact, sire of Reine-de-Course Pange. As a result, King’s Bench can be found in the pedigree of horses carrying Dancing Count and more importantly Theatrical and other Pange kin.
The Surprising Sibling
King Bench’s half brother, Cross King, a stakes placed son of Derby winner Never Say Die appears in a surprising American pedigree, that of Western Playboy. Cross King is the sire of Parlor, Western Playboy’s second dam.
Parlor, a descendent of Reine-de-Course Khara, established quite a family. Besides Western Playboy, there is $850,000 stakes winner Bungalow, G2 winner Marquette, and Hawthorne Derby winner Architect, to name just a few.
The Great Daughter
Reines-de-Course are not all named for the same reason. However, we are most enamored of those mares who have not only a good sire son but a great daughter. And King’s Cross most certainly has the latter in the form of the winning Blue Peter mare Blue Cross.
It is from Blue Cross that English and Irish Derby winner Shirley Heights and his full sister, Millieme descend. Milleme is the mare most recently in the news, with her granddaughter Divine Proportions, winner of the French One Thousand Guineas and French Oaks making all the headlines.
However, even though Shirley Heights is no longer with us, he is still very much in pedigrees today, in large part due to his son Darshaan. Darshaan most recently is the sire of the truly great runner Dalakhani, winner of the French Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and a three-quarter brother to Daylami.
Darshann (and Shirley Heights) have also worked wonderfully well with the offspring of the ubiquitous Sadler’s Wells. A few examples of the best are In The Wings, Islington and High Chaparral.
Shirley Heights’ great sister is doing a wonderful job of carrying on the King’s Cross line via her daughter Myth to Reality (by – what a surprise – Sadler’s Wells). It is this branch that has given us Divine Proportions and her three-quarter brother Whipper, also a G1 winner, as well as stakes producer Mambo Jambo, a full sister to Divine Proportions. Mambo Jambo is the dam of Ocean Silk, a daughter of Dynaformer who was heighweight stayer in England at three.
At the moment, Millieme and her daughters are the family’s main future. However, there are some good mares from the family in Italy, Australia and Ireland. We’ll be watching them as well.
The Glorious Crosses
Like most superior mares, King’s Cross was no accident. She was inbred to the mare Vista via Bona Vista and Velasquez. Bona Vista, by Bend Or, won the 2000 Guineas, while Velasquez by Donovan won the Eclipse, Champagne, July and New Stakes.
The Bona Vista line is not King’s Cross’s only Bend Or. She also picked up another cross via Martagon.
Something that could not help but catch our eye were the names Goody Two Shoes and Altoviscar. Goody Two Shoes is the second dam of *Rough Shod II. Altoviscar is the fifth dam of Round Table. Later, these two lines would combine via their relations Round Table and Thong/Moccasin/Gambetta to account for stakes winners Drumtop, King Pellinore, and Apalachee. Is it merely wishful thinking, or was this the beginning of a blood affinity that works well to this day?
Getting back to basics, King’s Cross also carries a sex-balanced double of 2000 Guineas and Derby winner Ayrshire via Robert Le Diable and Gas, a 6 x 6 cross of Grand Prix de Paris winner Thurio supported by her dam only and four Hampton (Doncaster, Goodwood Cups) lines, two via Ayrshire, and two others via Darkie and Star, both females.
Hagioscope, a Vedette-line horse like St. Simon, is 6 x 6 and St. Simon himself, ever present, is x2 via King Salmon only. More Galopin/Vedette occurs via a Donovan double in her dam.
It is a classic pedigree with the beginnings of some speed via Bend Or and the Goody Two Shoes line. The family lines – Malva, Goody Two Shoes again, Altoviscar, and Gas, all were in place to be inbred to and enhanced as speed from horses like Never Bend (Mill Reef), Mr. Prospector (in Kingmambo) and various Native Dancer from both other males (Sharpen Up) and Northern Dancer’s Natalma line were laced through its stamina-based background.
This is the way a modern pedigree is built, especially in Europe where horses are trained differently and asked to withstand less stress. Divine Proportions may be the best horse this family has ever produced. Nothing like starting out well and having a current star to get your name in the news.
New Reines-de-Course are King’s Cross and Millieme. But we’ve got our eye on Gull Nook (GB), a three-quarter sister to Millieme. A G2 winner, she has to date a quite good German branch from her stakes placed daughter Kittiwake (GB) as well as the champion colt Pentire (GB). We think the best shot she has, however, is via the Sadler’s Wells mare Spring, a G3 winner. There are several young horses here that bear watching. We’ll do just that.