Blue Gum Farm graduate Killua Castle upset the landscape for Durban’s G1 July Handicap with a tenacious victory in the G3 Jubilee Hcp (1800m) at Turffontein on Saturday.

Killua Castle (Aus) isn’t entered for the Durban July but he threw a spanner into the works for several candidates heading to the R3.50 million feature race at Greyville on July 5.

The four year-old son of former Blue Gum sire Churchill Downs won by a head in a tight finish from July candidates Halve The Deficit and Cherry On The Top.  The winner’s stablemate Tellina didn’t help her carnival prospects when beaten more than six lengths.

“We are thinking of the Group 1 Champions Cup for him on Super Saturday (July 26),” assistant trainer Tim Woodruff said.  “That will suit him nicely  It was very impressive the way he fought on today.”

Killua Castle (4g Churchill Downs — Prayers’n’promises by Encosta De Lago) was bred by the late Kevin Heffernan and cost $50,000 out of the Blue Gum Farm consignment at the 2011 Inglis Premier Sale.

“He was a great moving yearling and was relaxed and easy going each time I saw him,” Heritage Bloodstock’s Paul Guy recalled.  “He was well-made with an excellent hind-quarter and a very good head and eye, an all-round quality horse.”

Killua Castle had been pin-hooked for the South African Ready to Run 2YO Sale but suffered a severe bout of colic on the eve of the auction and was retained by owner Ashnee Devachander.  He was placed at Group 2 level in the Gauteng Guineas and Dingaans Stakes last season and has now earned R1.03 million (AUD 102,405).

His dam Prayers’n’promises is an unraced sister to Group 3 winners Besame Mucho and Gold Lottey.  She was covered by Blue Gum’s first-season shuttler Canford Cliffs last year.

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