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Second Group One for King's Chapel

King's Chapel (AUS) (King Of Kings-Lower Chapel by Sharpo) yesterday extended the good recent record of three-year-olds in the WRC Telegraph H. 1200m G1 when he held off Sunlaw (Desert Sun) and topweight Sedecrem (Faltaat) by a short head and three-quarters of a length in the frankly unbelievable time of 1:06.80. He is the third three-year-old to win the race in the past decade after Vinaka (2002) and O'Reilly (1997). Before that the Telegraph had not been won by a three-year-old since the filly Elabama in 1969.

Allotted 52 kg by the handicapper, King's Chapel conceded one kilogram to Sunlaw, and carried 5.5 kg less than Sedecrem who did very well indeed to get within a length of victory.

King's Chapel was bred in Australia by Cambridge-based Norelands Stud which bought his in-foal dam for $A100,000 at the 2000 Australian Broodmare Sale. He was then purchased by syndicator and New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing board member David Ellis for $35,000 at the 2002 New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale. Unfortunately, Lower Chapel died after foaling her 2001 filly by Fasliyev.

Winner of three races and sixth in the ARC Ellerslie Sires' Produce S. G1 from four starts in 2002-03, King's Chapel has progressed brilliantly this season. He easily won the CJC NZ Two Thousand Guineas 1600m G1 on 12 November and ran third in Russian Pearl's Bayer Classic G1 over the same distance 15 days later. That was his last start before the Telegraph so his trainer Mark Walker and his team have done a fine job to fit him for a top-class sprinting effort in mid-January.

Direct New Zealand interest in King's Chapel's pedigree is somewhat limited. He's by the Coolmore shuttle sire and 1998 English 2000 Guineas winner King Of Kings whose achievements at stud to date are considerably less than might be expected from a horse described on Coolmore's website as "a leading young sire" and "The fastest and most precocious son of sire of sires Sadler's Wells."

From around 400 foals of racing age in both hemispheres King Of Kings has left six stakeswinners of which King's Chapel and Perth Cup G2 winner King Canute are the best by some margin. His 2003 southern hemisphere yearlings averaged less than $30,000 and he stood last season at Coolmore Australia at a fee of $A11,000.

Of more interest to New Zealand breeders is King's Chapel's female line which is well-known for quality speed horses including his dam's three-quarter brother, the Irish & French Group winner College Chapel who shuttled to Ra Ora Stud from 1995 to 1998. From 246 New Zealand-bred foals College Chapel has left several useful performers, including stake-placegetters College Union (eight wins) and Flowers (six wins), but not, so far, a single stakeswinner.


The NZTBA warmly acknowledges these information sources:
Arion Pedigrees, the New Zealand Stud Book Australian Stud Book and the Australian Bloodhorse Review



- Susan Archer