Nobody will be cheering louder for My Redeemer when he exits box one in Friday night’s TAB Melbourne Cup Final than John Shadlow.
Shadlow owned and raced My Redeemer’s grand-dam Demonica and he’s watched the Group 1-winning exploits of My Redeemer (pictured in rug two winning his Melbourne Cup heat) and his recently retired half-sister Up Hill Jill, a 2017 Melbourne Cup finalist, with enormous pride.
“I’m so proud of Demonica and I’ll be on top of the world if My Redeemer wins the Melbourne Cup,” Shadlow said.
“I’ve sent Dave Geall a text message wishing him luck and I’ll have my fingers crossed.
“I’ll be cheering him home and I really think the box draw brings him right into it. Up Hill Jill was in last year’s Melbourne Cup but she had box five and was very unlucky.”
Shadlow made a very astute decision when he purchased Demonica as a three-month old pup for the bargain price of $3000 from Timothy McGrath, unable to resist her regal bloodlines in his quest to unearth a foundation matron.
Demonica was a daughter of champion sprinter/sire Bombastic Shiraz, the 2003 Melbourne Cup winner, out of My Girl Ashlee, a daughter of Awesome Assassin and grand producer Floodgate from the potent Giles damline.
Demonica was a litter sister to multiple Group 1 finalist and Traralgon Cup victor Floodfawn, which in turn produced 2007 Australian Greyhound of the Year Flashing Floods.
“I did a hell of a lot of homework looking for a female greyhound to breed with and Demonica’s line was so good,” Shadlow explained.
“But I was actually really lucky that she made it to the track at all. I took her to Geelong for her first trial and she ran 20.04 on the old track over 347m. I was talking to Paul Bartolo at the time and Betty’s Angel (2006 Melbourne Cup winner) had run the same time a couple of nights earlier.
“But then I gave her a qualifying trial at Bendigo and she won but the other four dogs smashed into her in the catching pen and she broke her shoulder blade. I was up with her all night. I was waiting for my vet, Michael Bell, at 6 the next morning.
“Michael said to me that it didn’t look too good but I brought her home and gave her the best care in the world for the next six months.”
Shadlow’s dedication, care and patience paid off and Demonica made it to the track, winning 13 of her 47 starts, with 18 minor placings, retiring on a winning note with a last start victory at Geelong, before the breeding barn beckoned.
The fateful first of Demonica’s four matings was with the legendary stud dog Where’s Pedro.
This litter was headlined by Where’s Demonica, the winner of 23 races and mother of Topgun and Golden Easter Egg heroine Up Hill Jill, which sits fifth on the all-time Australian prizemoney list with $884,561 in earnings, and Group 1 Harrison-Dawson winner My Redeemer.
“I couldn’t use Bombastic Shiraz because he was Demonica’s father and Where’s Pedro was the best stud dog at the time,” Shadlow said.
“I sold Where’s Demonica at three months of age to a young guy called Glenn Dodd. After she broke in at Kevin McNamara’s Glenn asked me about a name and I suggested Where’s Demonica.
“I had a very good dog at the time called White River and Glenn wanted me to train Where’s Demonica. Not putting myself down, but I told Glenn to find a professional trainer and I mentioned Dave Geall. Before she’d raced she injured a metacarpal and I brought her home for eight weeks rehabilitation before she went back to Dave.
“Demonica had four litters and 14 pups. Eleven of those 14 pups made it to the races and those 11 dogs won 96 races.
“’Missy’ (Demonica) passed away last year; she was 12 years and eight months old. I loved her to pieces and I really miss her but life has to go on.
“I really get a big kick out of watching all the dogs that have come from her race, especially when the race-caller mentions the breeding. When they say Where’s Demonica I go all numb. I can’t describe the feeling. It’s just so exciting.”