Ridden by Piere Strydom, the 18-10 favourite got up in the final strides to beat stable companion Killua Castle (66-1) by a neck with Judicial (16-1) another 2.75 lengths back in third and Gold Cup winner Wavin’ Flag taking fourth place. TAB paid out six places and they went to Earl Of Derby and No Worries respectively.
After the race Woodruff confirmed Louis The King will be heading off to Cape Town with the J&B Met as his mission. “I’m very keen to take on Legislate and Futura in their own back yard,” said Woodruff.
While Louis The King’s victory might not look that good on paper, so many things went against him early in the race it was amazing he managed to win it all. The field slowed up shortly after the start and Strydom found himself further back than he probably wanted to be and was caught three horses wide around the turn. That forced him to pass some runners on the bend in order to get a handier position coming into the straight.
He was alongside Killua Castle in the straight but then had to switch wide. For a moment Louis The King hit a dead spot and allowed Killua Castle and Akash Aucharuz to kick away and the 66-1 shot looked about to cause a massive upset.
“I thought we were going to run second but when I asked him again, he dug down deep and gave me another kick,” said Strydom. “At the same time the leader started to fade slightly and that helped us get up.”
The field did not go that fast early on and that almost caused a sprint for him, something which would have suited Killua Castle. Woodruff looked almost bewildered that his big outsider had managed to run so well but nevertheless was delighted.
Strydom, still on a high since riding his 5,000th winner, spoke about his history with Woodruff. “Most of my winners have come from Geoff and we have won so many feature race winners in the past. This is just another cherry on the top.”
Bred by The Alchemy, Louis The King was the horse nobody wanted. He was rejected from all the select sales and when he eventually he did get into the ring, there were no offers for the son of Black Minnaloushe. Phillip Kahan almost had to beg Woodruff to take him off his hands for R60,000. Ironically, Woodruff was not even at the sales to buy, but just to give some Durban July tickets to some of his patrons.
With the Triple Crown under his belt and now the Sumer Cup, Louis The King has won more than R4.8 million – and that does not include the R2-million bonus for winning the Triple Crown.
“He really is a people’s horse, isn’t he?” said Woodruff with a smile. “We love him to bits and I love the joy he brings everybody. I just hope it keeps happening. We planned for this for a long time now and I am so happy it is all over.”
Readers of Racing Express would have had great assistance in catching the Quartet, which paid R42,115. Tyrone Zackey, trainer of Judicial, said his charge was the best Place bet on the day while Brett Crawford, trainer of Wavin’ Flag, said the Gold Cup winner was a must for the back end of Quartets.
The Dingaans went to Johan Janse van Vuuren-trained Unparalleled, who won at odds off 55-1 and was the main reason the Pick 6 paid R2,044,599.20. Ridden by Gavin Lerena, he easily beat favourite Harry’s Son by 4.50 lengths.
Woodruff was the star trainer of the day with four winners and in three of those races his runners finished first and second.