Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Trainer Graham Motion has kept close tabs on Animal Kingdom ever since the horse came to England. Geoffrey Riddle
Trainer Graham Motion has kept close tabs on Animal Kingdom ever since the horse came to England. Geoffrey Riddle

Animal Kingdom aimed at Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot

Graham Motion gives jockey John Velazquez the mount despite Joel Rosario's recent Kentucky Derby as well as riding Animal Kingdom to victory at the Dubai World Cup, writes Geoffrey Riddle.

ASCOT, ENGLAND// Graham Motion has given the greatest indication yet that Animal Kingdom will run in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot next month.

The mile contest has always been the main target for Animal Kingdom, but after Motion had walked the course at Ascot on Tuesday, there seemed little chance that the Dubai World Cup winner would remain at 10 furlongs for the Prince Of Wales's Stakes.

Chris Stickles, Ascot's clerk of the course, showed Motion both the straight mile to be used for the Queen Anne on June 19, and the round course on which the Prince Of Wales's Stakes is to be staged a day later.

"The Prince Of Wales's course has a pretty stiff climb all the way up from the mile and is stiffer than I thought, in terms of how far out from where is starts and how it just keeps on climbing," Motion said.

"The Queen Anne has always been our focus. I didn't see anything today that would steer me away from that."

Motion has chosen John Velazquez to ride Animal Kingdom over Joel Rosario, who was in the saddle when the horse won the world's most valuable race at Meydan Racecourse on March 30.

Velazquez has previous experience at Ascot, having partnered Strike The Tiger and Jealous Again to victory in 2009.

Motion was not swayed by Rosario's heroics in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday when the Dominican rider teamed up with Orb to win the Kentucky Derby and will stick with Velazquez, who rode Animal Kingdom to his career-defining victory in the same race at Churchill Downs two years ago.

"I feel very comfortable with my decision," Motion added. "It is no slight on Joel's ability. Jonny has ridden the horse before and knows the course.

"If we run in the Queen Anne Stakes, Joel would be going into the race cold turkey, as it is the first race of the meeting."

Animal Kingdom's preparation has stepped up a gear since Motion last visited England three weeks ago and the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner is undergoing serious work at his Lambourn base under the guidance of Alice Clapham, Motion's head groom.

Animal Kingdom was put through his first proper piece of work during Motion's initial visit, and the trainer is delighted that the gallops at Lambourn are up a steep incline in total contrast to Meydan or in America.

"He trains on an incline every day there," Motion said. "You don't really have a choice over here. It is all part of the process of getting him used to it and the fitness over here is different; it is more a stamina-based fitness."

Sajjhaa and Cityscape, the past two Dubai Duty Free winners, are also entered in the Queen Anne, while Soft Falling Rain, who won the Godolphin Mile on World Cup night, could also take part.

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Glenn Maxwell's knock that followed ensured Brendon McCullum's knock went in vain after his explosive half-century took Chennai Super Kings past the 200-mark. Ravindranath K / The National

All is well with Punjab as Maxwell and Miller seal win against Chennai

The Australian missed out on a century but his 95 runs, along with Miller's unbeaten half-century, ensured Kings XI scaled a mighty peak of a target in a hot first game of Abu Dhabi's double-header.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet protests during the Premier League match against Crystal Palace at The Stadium of Light in Sunderland, northeast England, on March 15, 2014. Ian MacNicol / AFP

Sunderland going out of Premier League with a grumble

Northeast club have underwhelmed during seven-year stay in the top flight

 Hamburg players leave the field after the match against Borussia Moenchengladbach on March 30, 2014. AFP

Hamburg the dinosaur’s time may be up in Bundesliga

Ever-present for 51 years in the German top-flight, Hamburg face the prospect of relegation, writes Ian Hawkey.

 At 105 kg, Gabrielle Garcia has dominated the world circuit and loves many things about being in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Garcia seeks fresh challenge in MMA after her jiu-jitsu domination

Brazilian prides being a lioness in the sport but feels she can shed 25kg weight to pursue her MMA debut aspirations.

 England's Jonathan Trott hits out during the ICC Champions Trophy semi final match against South Africa at The Oval cricket ground, London June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Philip Brown

England’s Jonathan Trott sidelined with stress-related illness again

Jonathan Trott is to take a second break from professional cricket because of his stress-related illness as England and Wales Cricket Board and Warwickshire confirmed he will stop playing with immediate effect.

 Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium on April 13, 2014 in Swansea, Wales. Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

‘That’s why we are a top club’ says Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech

Jose Mourinho’s men will temporarily claim the Premier League top spot if they beat Sunderland, leaving them in control of their own destiny in the title race ahead of a crucial trip to face Liverpool at Anfield on April 27.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National