By Sarah Whitelaw
English Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) winner King of Kings has died at stud in South Africa. The son of legendary sire Sadler's Wells was 20 years old, and his death was attributed to heart failure.
King of Kings, who was standing at stud in Kwa-Zulu Natal at the time of his death, began his career in Ireland with Aidan O'Brien. He gave O'Brien his first British classic win when he won the 1998 Sagitta Two Thousand Guineas over a field that included champion 2-year-old and race favorite Xaar.
The Guineas was the final wiin of the bay's career, with King of Kings suffering a career ending injury in the Vodafone Epsom Derby (Eng-I) next time out, resulting in his retirement to stud.
Raced in England and Ireland at ages 2 and 3, King of Kings won a total five of seven outings and earned a Timeform Rating of 125 at three. One of the leading juveniles of his generation, King of Kings also enjoyed group I success at 2, when his four victories included the group I Aga Khan Studs National Stakes.
Out of the Habitat mare Zummerudd, King of Kings was a half brother to Prix Robert Papin (Fr-I) winner General Monash and a full brother to Irish One Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) second-place finisher Amethyst.
At the time of his death, King of Kings had been represented by more than 20 stakes winners during a stud career that saw him stand at various times in Australia, North America, and Switzerland before ending up in South Africa.
His best runners included New Zealand Horse of the Year King's Chapel (who is himself now standing in South Africa), Australian group I winners Ike's Dream and Reigning To Win, and Sweet Win, who ran third in the Del Mar Oaks (gr. I).
King of Kings' top South African winners were the stakes winning fillies King's Temptress and Zooming Zellie. He also enjoyed success as a broodmare sire and is the damsire of Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IIT) winner Regally Ready, among others.