SA CLASSIC (Grade 1)
Turffontein, Turf, 1800m
29 March 2014

Louis The King is just one brilliant run away from the R2-million bonus of the Sascoc Triple Crown after his courageous victory in the SA Classic at Turffontein on Saturday.

Having won the first leg of the three-year-old series, the Gauteng Guineas, by 5.25 lengths earlier in the month, Geoff Woodruff’s rangy colt started this second instalment as a short-priced favourite. It was felt that Louis The King would be better suited the Classic’s 1800m trip than he was to the 1600m of the Guineas.

The question will now be whether Louis The King stays the 2450m of the SA Derby in three weeks time, the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, which has only been won once in history - by the great Horse Chestnut.

Woodruff is certain his charge has the stamina for the Derby. “After this win, I’m bullish about the Derby,” the former champion trainer said in the post-race interview.

Winning jockey Robbie Fradd echoed this sentiment. “He only got going in the last 100m here. The Derby distance will suit him better.”

It was to have been Fradd’s farewell meeting in South Africa as he is departing on Monday for pastures new on the Gold Coast of Australia. However, asked about the chances of him returning to Joburg to try to land the Triple Crown, the veteran ace snapped back, “If I’m asked, I’ll swim back for a horse like this!”

As You Like, one of four runners from the Alec Laird stable, cut out the early fractions, from his stable companion Mister Cricket, with Supertube, Bezanova, Hillbrow, Umgiyo and Louis the King - who had been cut off and forced to check in his first few strides.

As the field came off the false rail, 700m from home, As You Like kept rolling, with Mister Cricket still in attendance and Bezanova and Bouclette Top making their presence felt.

Fradd eased Louis The King away from the inside rail for his run. It clearly wasn’t going to be another cakewalk for the bay, but he steadily wore his opponents down and went ahead to win by 0.75 lengths. “He just likes to get his head in front and stay there,” noted Fradd.

Mister Cricket, who disappointed when favourite for the Guineas, redeemed himself on this firmer ground and grabbed second position from the dogged As You Like, with Bouclette Top 1.50 lengths back in fourth.

Louis The King has now won more than R2-million in prize money with five victories from six starts.

Extract from Tab News