Louis The King (Black Minnaloushe) swooped late to tag his stablemate Killua Castle (Churchill Downs) just short of the post in Saturday’s R2-million Gauteng SANSUI Summer Cup (Grade 1) over 2000m at Turffontein.
That the 18-10 favourite's win was due to a brilliant ride by jockey Piere Strydom. Although running on, Louis The King seemed to have no chance of taking the honours 150m out where Killua Castle was a length to the good, but Strydom kept the four-year-old balanced and extracted just that little bit more from his mount when it mattered. The two gave trainer Geoff Woodruff a 1-2 and his fourth success in Johannesburg’s premier race.
KwaZulu-Natal raider Bold Inspiration (Horse Chestnut) led through the turn from Everest (Sarge) and Sovereign Mint (Judpot). No Worries (Kahal) was well there with Jet Belle (Jet Master), Earl Of Derby (National Assembly) and Wavin’ Flag (Silvano) while Killua Castle and Louis The King were further back. Bold Inspiration tired 400m out and Jet Belle found herself in front for a couple of strides, but Killua Castle, No Worries and Louis The King, who Strydom had moved to the outside for a clear run, were running on strongly and snapping at her heels.
Killua Castle under jockey Akash Aucharuz and Louis The King came to the front racing into the final 200m and the favourite was suddenly in all sorts of trouble as his stablemate quickened and pulled a length clear. Louis The King’s many supporters must have groaned in despair, but Strydom is not widely regarded as one of the best riders in the business without good cause.
His body language changed, he crouched lower on his mount’s back and started driving for all he was worth as the two stablemates charged to the line. Louis The King responded like the champion he is and put in a last-gasp effort, getting to Killua Castle 50m from the line and pulling ahead to win by a neck.
Judicial (Miesque's Approval) ran on from well back to finish third, 2.75 lengths behind the winner and 1.50 lengths ahead of Gold Cup winner Waivin’ Flag with Earl Of Derby fifth. Second-favourite As You Like (Tiger Ridge) was never in the hunt and finished nearly seven lengths behind the winner with his stable companion Bouclette Top (Giant's Causeway) 0.75 lengths further back. Woodruff charge Rake’s Chestnut (Horse Chestnut), the 8-1 third favourite, also never got in a blow and finished 10.50 lengths back.
Extracts from Tab News/JC Photography (p)