Staying loyal to his young jockey after the Sansui Summer Cup has further boosted trainer Geoff Woodruff’s burgeoning J&B Met prospects as the 24 year old Mauritian-born Akash Aucharuz booted home the Australian-bred Killua Castle to win the R250 000 Gr3 London News Stakes at Turffontein on Sunday.
Aucharuz came in for plenty of stick after looking a winner in the Sansui Summer Cup on the same horse and eventually being being beaten narrowly by the wizardry of Piere Strydom aboard Louis The King.
But he made good on Sunday in no uncertain terms and showed that he has learnt a few tricks from his nine straight rides on the quirky 5yo son of Churchill Downs.
Aucharuz, who can now look forward to his first Met ride, scored a fine double for Mike De Kock at the Vaal on Thursday. The champion trainer complimented the young jockey on his confident handling of both winners, saying: “Akash puts his head down and he rides them hard – I like him!”
On Sunday, he produced Killua Castle with a sustained burst at the 300m marker after his stablemate Rake’s Chestnut had folded tamely and stormed home to win by 2,50 lengths in a time of 109,03 secs. He started favourite at 22 to 10.
The Woodruff yard claimed a happy winning exacta as the Var gelding Sabadell maintained his consistency and stayed on well under replacement rider Raymond Danielson, with Tyrone Zackey’s Judicial and the Mike Bass-trained Mountain Master filling the next two places.
Aucharuz said: “I am so thankful. The owner kept me on the horse. I get on really very well with Killua Castle. I ran three wide here but the fact that they kept me out may have worked in my favour.”
Assistant trainer Tim Woodruff exclaimed that he was ‘flabbergasted with his incredible performance’ .
“We put the brakes on after the Summer Cup and he definitely won’t be making up numbers in the Met!” he said with tangible pleasure.
Geoff Woodruff has a strong hand in the big one with Louis The King having run a superb trial in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate on Saturday. He also has Tellina and Rake’s Chestnut entered – the last mentioned looks unlikely to take his place on today’s poor showing.
Killua Castle has now won 5 races with 15 places from 32 starts and R1 705 425 in stakes.
Killua Castle was bred in Australia by Blue Gum Farm and was purchased by Paul Guy’s Heritage Bloodstock for A$50,000 at the 2011 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale.
He was bought by the Devachanders for R100 000 on the 2011 Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run Sale, where he was consigned as lot 127 by Summerhill Sales.
The winner is by Danehill stallion Churchill Downs out of the unraced Encosta De Lago mare, Prayers ‘N Promises.
Gr3 London News Stakes (SAf-Gr3)
Turffontein, South Africa, January 11, R250k, 1800m, turf, good, 1.49.03
1- KILLUA CASTLE (AUS), 60.0, b g 5, Churchill Downs (AUS) – Prayers’n’promises (AUS) by Encosta De Lago (AUS). Owner Mrs A Devachander; Breeder bred in Australia; trainer GV Woodruff; jockey A Aucharuz
2- Sabadell (SAF), 59.0, ch g 5, Var (USA) – Girl From Grenada (SAF) by Badger Land (USA)
3- Judicial (SAF), 60.0, b g 4, Miesque’s Approval (USA) – Lady Advocate (SAF) by Dolpour (IRE)
Margins: 2.50, 0.10, 0.15