The ‘King’ Is Dead

The ‘King’ Is Dead

After the recent loss of Muhtafal, KZN lost another stalwart stallion in King Of Kings this week at The Fort Stud, due to cardiac arrest at age 20.

King Of Kings stood most of his South African career at Alan and Vera Sutherland’s Somerset Stud, before being relocated to Clifton and more recently The Fort Stud.

Topping the National Two Year Old log by Stakes earned on more than one occasion, King Of Kings was the last son of Sadlers Wells to stand in KZN at stud. A winner of one of the most exclusive races in England, King Of Kings gave trainer Aidan O’Brien the first of his 21 British Classic wins in the 2,000 Guineas.

King of Kings was sold as a weanling and consigned by the Barronstown Stud to the Tattersalls sales in December 1995 where he was bought for 250,000 guineas by the bloodstock agent Demi O’Byrne on behalf of Coolmore Stud. Interestingly – his original name was ‘Turner’. Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor must have picked up something special about the horse, and changed his name fittingly to ‘King Of Kings’ after the hero of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s famous poem Ozymandias. “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” Said Aiden O’ Brien: “He is simply breathtaking”.

King Of Kings raced in England and Ireland where he had five wins from 1200 to 1600m from just seven starts, achieving a Timeform Rating of 125. His wins included the Gr1 National Stakes over 1600 metres as well as the Gr3 Railway Stakes over 1200m, and placing second in the Gr3 Anglesey Stakes over 1260 metres and winning the Tyros Stakes.

He was given some time off after having knee chips surgically removed at the end of the season, returning to win the Gr1 2000 Guineas over 1600 metres from English Champion Two Year Old Xaar. Posted as favourite for the Epsom Derby, he injured his knee and as a result was retired. His jockey Christy Roche described him as, “The best two-year-old I’ve ever ridden.”

Previously standing at Coolmore Stud, King Of Kings shuttled extensively to America, Japan, Switzerland, New Zealand and Australia before coming to South Africa. His legacy is firmly imprinted both overseas and locally, where he is proving to be a broodmare sire of a number of Group winners.

As a sire of sires, his son King’s Chapel is a multiple Gr1 winner and was voted New Zealand’s Horse Of The Year. Now standing at Bush Hill Stud, his first runners are hitting the South African tracks with success whilst his grand-daughter Thurlow lines up to take her place in the Gr1 Blue Diamond in Australia. At the recent Magic Millions sale in Australia, his flashy grandson by Sebring sold for $150 000.

King Of Kings produced the likes of Zooming Zellie (the dam of Zambezi Torrent), debut Gr2 winner King’s Temptress (currently in foal to Duke Of Marmalade and residing at Highlands), King’s Entourage, Miss Zummerudd, Reigning To Win and Ike’s Dream.

Jill Fox, owner of The Fort Stud in South Africa, said on Wednesday: “He passed away two nights ago and I was very privileged to have had a horse like him in my care. He was super intelligent and loved his work when covering mares. The main thing about him was his intelligence.

“He was the most lovely horse. He got some more mares in foal last year so we have a few more babies to come and he always produces horses with lovely minds.”

Video of King Of Kings winning the Gr1 2000 Guineas (the race starts from 6:00)

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