Kicking King

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kicking King
Racing silks of Conor Clarkson
SireOld Vic
DamFairy Blaze
DamsireGood Thyne
Foaled10 April 1998
Died21 March 2023 (aged 25)
BreederSunnyhill Stud
OwnerConor Clarkson
TrainerTom Taaffe
Record28: 12-8-3
Major wins
Byrne Group Novice Hurdle (2003)
Gowran Park Champion Chase (2004)
Arkle Perpetual Challenge Cup (2004)
John Durkan Memorial Chase (2004)
King George VI Chase (2004, 2005)
Cheltenham Gold Cup (2005)
Punchestown Gold Cup (2005)
Timeform rating: 182

Kicking King (10 April 1998 – 21 March 2023) was a National Hunt racehorse trained in Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland, by Tom Taaffe.[1] He is best known for completing the King George VI Chase-Cheltenham Gold Cup double in the 2004/05 National Hunt season. He was ridden in all his races over jumps by Barry Geraghty.[1]

Kicking King won a bumper at Leopardstown on his first appearance on a racecourse in January 2002. The following season he won three times over hurdles in Ireland before making his first appearance in Britain at the 2003 Cheltenham Festival, where he ran second to the favourite, Back In Front, in the Grade 1 Supreme Novices' Hurdle.[1]

In the 2003/04 season the five-year-old was introduced to novice chasing. After coming fifth and falling in his first two attempts, he won a novice chase at Punchestown and then secured his first Grade 1 win in the Arkle Novice Chase at Leopardstown. At the 2004 Cheltenham Festival he again came second, this time to Well Chief in the Arkle Challenge Trophy.[1]

The 2004/05 season was Kicking King's most successful, with four Grade 1 wins. He started his campaign with a win in the Grade 2 Gowran Park Champion Chase and was then beaten into second place by favourite Beef Or Salmon in the Champion Chase at Down Royal. His next race was the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown, where he beat the odds-on favourite Beef Or Salmon into third place.[1] On Boxing Day 2004, Kicking King started as favourite in the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park. He had a comfortable lead at the last when a bad mistake nearly unseated his jockey but he still managed to win by two-and-a-half lengths.[2] There was added drama on the run-in when a spectator dressed as Santa ran across the course and narrowly avoided a collision with Kicking King.[3] Kicking King then went on to win the Gold Cup at the 2005 Cheltenham Festival, followed by the Punchestown Gold Cup.[1]

Kicking King won his second King George VI Chase on 26 December 2005, when the race was held at Sandown while Kempton Park Racecourse was being refurbished. After the race he was found to have sustained a tendon injury which kept him out of racing for the rest of the season and the following season.[4] He returned to the racecourse in January 2008, finishing a close second to Nickname in the Normans Grove Chase. He was subsequently sent off favourite for the Red Mills Chase in February and finished third. He went on to contest the Punchestown Gold Cup but was pulled up.[1]

Kicking King reappeared for the 2008/09 season in the Grade 2 Gowran Park Champion Chase and fell in the race eventually won by Knight Legend. He made another appearance in a chase at Punchestown, where he was 2nd of 4 runners behind War Of Attrition.[1] It was his last race; his retirement was announced in November 2008. "I think he was a great ambassador for racing and for ourselves," his trainer said, adding that it was great that he had retired in one piece. Kicking King went to spend his retirement with the living legends at the Irish National Stud in County Kildare.[5] Over his career Kicking King amassed more than £800,000 in prize money and had six Grade One wins to his name.[1]

Kicking King died on 21 March 2023, at the age of 25.[6]


Pedigree of Kicking King (IRE), bay gelding, 1998 [7]
Old Vic
Sadler's Wells
Northern Dancer (CAN) Nearctic (CAN)
Natalma (USA)
Fairy Bridge (USA) Bold Reason (USA)
Special (USA)
Derring-Do Darius II
Sipsey Bridge
Camenae Vimy
Fairy Blaze
Good Tyne
Herbager Vandala
Foreseer Round Table (USA)
Regal Gleam (USA)
Fairy Tree
Varano Darius II
Varna II
Precision Time Arctic Time
  • Kicking King is 4x4 inbred to Darius II


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Kicking King". Racing Post. Retrieved 21 March 2023.
  2. ^ "Kicking saves worst for last". The Guardian. 27 December 2004.
  3. ^ "Weird and wacky tales from Kempton's recent history". Racing Post. 13 January 2017.
  4. ^ "Kicking King out for the season". The Guardian. 8 December 2006.
  5. ^ "Kicking King retires". The Guardian. 21 November 2008.
  6. ^ "Cheltenham Gold Cup and King George hero Kicking King dies at 25". Racing Post. 21 March 2023. Retrieved 21 March 2023.
  7. ^ "Kicking King Pedigree". equineline. Retrieved 3 April 2016.

External links[edit]