Motion looking to Queen Anne for Kingdom
Monday 15 April 2013
By Geoffrey Riddle
Graham Motion is leaning towards running Animal Kingdom in
the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in June in preference to the Prince
Of Wales’s Stakes.
Motion was at David Lanigan’s Kingsdown Stables on Monday to put in
place the Dubai World Cup winner’s training programme following the
horse's arrival in Lambourn on April 6 after his blistering performance in the world’s most valuable race at Meydan last month.
Whereas Dubai Millennium added the ten-furlong Prince Of Wales’s
Stakes to his win over the same distance in Dubai in 2000, Motion feels
the incline at the Berkshire track makes the mile race the better
“Your mile at Ascot is much more gruelling and a mile and a quarter
to us in the States is like a mile and a half and may just be too much.
It is a relief that there is no Frankel,” he said. “The Queen Anne is an
interesting option and it is something that I think he can adapt to.
That’s the remarkable thing about this horse is that he can do a bit of
Animal Kingdom was ridden by Joel Rosario in Dubai, which was the
first time both horse and rider had raced at the billion-dollar venue.
Rosario previously had gone for home far too early on the
five-year-old son of Leroidesanimaux when the pair were beaten by Point
Of Entry in a prep race for the World Cup at Gulfstream Park in
It was Rosario’s first ride on the strapping chestnut, who has been
ridden by Rafael Bejarano, John Velazquez, Alan Garcia, Junior Alvarado
and Rajiv Maragh during his 11-race career.
Velazquez was in the saddle when steering Animal Kingdom to his
career-defining victory in the 2011 Kentucky Derby and Motion believes
the 41-year-old Puerto Rican rider should take the reins for the Royal
The Eclipse Award-wining jockey rode for Godolphin at Royal Ascot in
2000, partnering China Visit to tenth behind Giant’s Causeway in the St
James’s Palace Stakes and Teggiano to second in the Ribbelsdale Stakes.
He made his name in England, however, when riding all five of Wesley
Ward’s American challengers in 2009 including when guiding Jealous Again
to a five-length victory in the Queen Mary Stakes.
For Motion, Velazquez’s Ascot experience is crucial, especially as the Queen Anne is the first race of the meeting.
“It is asking a lot for an American jockey to ride here if he hasn’t
ridden here before, it is not as if he can watch a race first,” Motion
“The constant change of jockeys has been a source of frustration for
me. I don’t like the idea of putting someone new on him for what is
possibly his last race.
“Velazquez is one of the best jockeys in the world. He has ridden
Animal Kingdom before and has won at Ascot so is the logical choice.”
Graham Motion is on a whistle-stop visit to England to oversee Animal Kingdom's training programme
Animal Kingdom has done little with travelling head groom Alice
Clapham since striding clear of Ed Dunlop’s Red Cadeaux in Dubai but
will work for the first time in his new surroundings on Tuesday.
Motion had not seen Animal Kingdom since two days after the Dubai
World Cup but believes his charge is ready to step up a gear after
“I’m very pleased with him,” Motion added. “He has had an easy two
weeks. I wouldn’t say he has put all his condition back on but I’m
pleased with how healthy he looks and how bright he is.
“We’re going to press on but if there is any reason he shows us he is not up to it we are not going to force the issue.
“As long as he continues to work well and it all goes smoothly we will take a shot.”
Animal Kingdom would become the first Kentucky Derby winner to run at
Royal Ascot since Omaha in 1936 and Coral go 7-2 that he wins any race
at the Royal Meeting.