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Killua Castle Overcoming Adversity

Killua Castle Overcoming Adversity



They always say there is a good story behind every good horse. The back story is a big deal now especially in the era of reality TV. Apparently you can’t sing if you haven’t got a good story. Killua Castle can’t hold a tune but he is looking as though he can live up to his back story. The Churchill Downs colt from the Encosta De Lago mare Prayers’n’promises was bred by Kevin Heffernan, grew out at Blue Gum Farm and was offered for sale in their 2011 Inglis Premier draft. Prayers’n’promises is currently at Blue Gum foal and is due to foal to All American and will be visiting the World Champion Miler Canford Cliffs in 2013. Killua Castle was purchased by Heritage Bloodstock for Champion South African trainer Geoff Woodruff and one of his stalwart clients Ashnee Devachander for $50,000 at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale. By the Bill Stutt Stakes winner Chuchill Downs, Killua Castle is out of the unraced Encosta De Lago mare Prayers’n’Promises who is a full sister to the group winners Gold Lottey and Besame Mucho. Paul Guy on Heritage Bloodstock said “He was a great moving yearling and was relaxed and easy going each time I saw him either at the sales complex or at the farm. He was well made with and excellent hind quarter and a very good head and eye, an all-round quality horse”.


The plan for the athletic colt was always to trade him through the Emperor’s Palace Ready to Run Sale, so once in South Africa he made his way to Summerhill Stud in the beautiful midlands of KwaZulu-Natal who are the leading consignors at the sale historically. All was well. He had developed into a much admired individual, he breezed up in good style and the talk was that he was one of the colts of the sale. On the eve of him going through the ring he suffered an attack of colic and instead of going under the hammer he went under the knife. Despite her distress, a clear thinking Ashnee Devachader convinced the auction house to offer the colt in absentia which allowed the colt qualify for the race associated with the sale. There was of course no buyer willing to put up their hand to buy a colt that was under general anaesthetic while being offered, so he was bought back by Ashnee. The colt recuperated well and made his way to Geoff Woodruff’s yard at Randjesfontein. 


A no nonsense type of horse he settled into the stable routine well and showed enough ability in his laconic style. But his bad luck was not done with. All ready to make his debut in the third race at Turffontein, saddled on the way to the parade ring the races were abandoned due to the heavily rain affected track. A fortnight later he did make it to the parade ring ready for his debut only to be kicked by another runner and withdrawn by the stewards. He finally got to go to enter the starting stalls on October 13th last year and he won in fine style defeating the future Group 1 winner Tellina amongst others. Two starts later Killua Castle finished third in one of South Africa’s richest races, the Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run Cup worth 2.5 million rand and he has subsequently placed in the Group 2 Gauteng Guineas and the Group 2 Dingaans Stakes. His last start saw him six and a half lengths to the good at the Vaal and he now heads back there on Saturday in his lead up to the Group 2 November Handicap. His luck seems to have turned, let’s hope it holds.


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