Louis The King, a South African racing hero, became the first horse since the great Horse Chestnut to land the Triple Crown last season. This season the Black Minnaloushe colt won a third career Grade 1 when carrying 59kg to victory in the SANSUI Summer Cup.
The Alchemy Stud-bred horse was the ultimate rags-to-riches story. He went through the ring at the Suncoast KZN Yearling Sale unsold and was later purchased for just R60,000 in a deal brokered in the sale's car park. Woodruff had only gone to the sale to pick up some Vodacom Durban July tickets and bumped into The Alchemy’s owner Philip Kahan who looked rather dejected at not having sold his “best colt on the sale.”
Louis The King was later bought by a client of Woodruff’s, Tiaan van der Vyfer, who then named him after his son Louis and gave him to the latter as a gift. He was the first racehorse that Louis van der Vyfer had ever owned.
Louis The King followed his SANSUI Summer Cup win with a flying 0,75 length second to arguably the best horse in the country, Futura, in the Grade 1 L’Ormarin’s Queen’s Plate in January. However, he ran below par in his next outing in the Grade 1 J&B Met and then ran dismally in both the Grade1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes and the Grade 1 President’s Champion Challenge at his favourite stamping ground, Turffontein.
Rather than gelding him, a decision was then made to remove one testicle, which he had apparently been pulling up while galloping, causing pain. A previous Woodruff campaigner Royal Air Force had the same operation and it did not affect his subsequent stud career.
It is a pity Louis the King could not have had his swansong in the country’s premier race, the Grade 1 Vodacom Durban July, especially considering the roar he received from the crowd on the way to the start last year before having terrible luck in running.
Extracts from Gold Circle