LONDON NEWS STAKES (Grade 3)
Turffontein, Turf, 1800m
Defeated a shorthead by stable companion Tellina twelve months ago, Summerhill Ready To Run sales graduate Killua Castle went one better second time around scoring a fluent victory in the Grade 3 London News Stakes at Turffontein Sunday, a race named for London News one of South Africa’s racing greats.
The five-year-old was sent off a warm favourite, courtesy of a narrow defeat in the Grade 1 Sansui Summer Cup at the hands of stable companion Louis The King, who 24 hours earlier delighted trainer Geoff Woodruff with a sparkling second in the Grade 1 L’Ormarins Queen's Plate at Kenilworth behind Futura.
Long-time leader Victory Cruise brought them into the straight and he was soon challenged by Rake’s Chestnut, with Sabadell and Bouclette Top also prominent. Killua Castle, having raced amongst the backmarkers early on, unleashed his challenge in the centre of the track, picking off his rivals one by one. He quickened impressively to put the race to bed 100m out and powered home unthreatened, leaving in his trail the race for second.
In a three-way battle, the winner’s stable companion Sabadell put his head down at the right time to provide Woodruff with a back-to-back exacta in this event. Judicial just shaded the flying Mountain Master, who stormed up from stone last.
This was the second Grade 3 success for Killua Castle, following his success in last season’s Grade 3 Jubilee Handicap over the course and distance. The now five-time winner has been a sterling servant for the Woodruff stable, also boasting third-placed efforts in four Grade 2's; Dingaans, Gauteng Guineas, Charity Mile and Emerald Cup.
A millionaire with earnings of R1,674,175, Killua Castle is a Summerhill graduate of the 2011 Ready To Run Sale by Churchill Downs, a Grade 2 winning son of Danehill. The gelding is out of Prayers ‘N Promises, an unraced own sister to multiple graded stakes winner, and Group 1 South Australian Oaks third, Gold Lottey and Group 3 winner Besame Mucho, the dam of dual stakes winner Essington (Redoute’s Choice).
This is the extended family of the legendary Australian racemare Makybe Diva (Desert King) and Group 1 Irish 2000 Guineas hero Canford Cliffs (Tagula).
Extracts from Racing South Africa