The Irish National Stud are deeply saddened to announce that the great Kicking King has passed away. A Legend in every sense of the word, Kicking King was second in a Supreme Novices Hurdle, second in an Arkle and the winner of six Grade 1 races in an exceptional racing career. Back to back wins in the King George Chase sandwiched his greatest day in landing the blue riband of National Hunt Racing, the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
For his trainer Tom Taaffe Kicking King was the most special of horses. “Kicking King was a natural, athletic horse with balance. A great horse for Conor Clarkson, Barry Geraghty and all our staff. He was an ambassador for racing and was fortunate to have a second life in the exceptional care of the Irish National Stud.
He gave the Taaffe family many special moments, but I particularly recall the day he won the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown. John was a great friend to us all and that day Kicking King put up a special performance of jumping and galloping. The Gold Cup was what you dream of. We were lucky to have him.”
For jockey Barry Geraghty, who rode him in all but two of his twenty eight career starts, he was a horse that paved the way. “It is very sad news to hear Kicking King has passed away. He was a real star, a big powerful horse who loved his racing. He provided me, Conor Clarkson and Tom Taaffe with some special days. He put in brilliant performances winning the Gold Cup and two King Georges and gave us many more great days to remember. As a family we enjoyed visiting him in the National Stud where he had a lovely retirement and was so well cared for by everyone, especially Leona Harmon.”
For his owner Conor Clarkson, Kicking King was the horse of a lifetime. “Kicking King brought my family, friends and I on an odyssey in horse racing few are privileged to enjoy. My thanks to Tom Taaffe and his team for their magnificent handling of Kicking King that enabled him with the wonderful Barry Geraghty on board to achieve so much. I am so pleased that he spent so many happy years providing enjoyment to the public in the unparalleled care of the Irish National Stud.”
In 2008 Kicking King retired from racing and took up residence among his fellow Living Legends at the Irish National Stud. INS CEO Cathal Beale said, “Kicking King was a gentle giant. He loved his legion of fans coming to visit him. He lived out his days receiving the greatest of care from all the team here. I would like to thank his connections for entrusting him to us and pay special tribute to Leona Harmon who has been at his side throughout and has cared for him with great affection. He will be deeply missed by all of us who had the good fortune to be in his presence.”
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Irish National Stud & Gardens,
Brallistown Little, Tully, Co. Kildare,
R51 KX25, Ireland