Animal Kingdom, a hugely impressive winner of the world’s richest horse race, the Dubai World Cup at Meydan on March 30, looks set to take his chance at Royal Ascot in June with connections somewhat surprisingly favouring a drop back to a mile for the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes.
The Graham Motion-trained colt landed the £3.68 million first prize at Meydan in some style, taking up the running three furlongs from home and bounding away, never being threatened even as the gallant Ed Dunlop-trained, Red Cadeaux, stayed on best of the rest to finish a two-length runner-up.
His win in Dubai signalled a return to the top of the tree for Animal Kingdom, who made such a splash in 2011 when slamming Nehro by two-and-three-quarter-lengths to land the first leg of the U.S. Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
He failed by just half-a length to beat Shackleford in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico then appeared not to see out the 12 furlong trip when only sixth to Ruler on Ice in the Belmont Stakes.
Last term, the five-year-old only ran only twice but showed he remains a real force by finishing second to Wise Dan in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, and after winning his Dubai warm-up race – the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap – he duly routed the opposition at Meydan.
After learning that connections intended to come to Royal Ascot this summer, most Betfair betting pundits expected the Prince of Wales’s Stakes over the World Cup trip of 10 furlongs to be the obvious target. However, Motion believes that on the stiff Ascot track the mile of the Queen Anne Stakes may prove more suitable for Animal Kingdom and that now appears to be the race he will contest.
Also in the horse racing news, another star horse, the unbeaten Black Cavier, has retired.