14:30 Royal Ascot: Animal Kingdom will beat weak competition
Such has been the faith installed in Dubai World Cup winner Animal Kingdom that he could go off as the shortest price favourite of the entire week in the Queen Anne Stakes.
In his latest lucrative Meydan victory, Joel Rosario tracked the leaders for just under a mile, before pushing Graham Motion’s profitable saddle into the lead 3f out and ran on well under a hands and heels ride to win comfortably.
That win pushed his career earnings to $8,387,500, illustrating the five-year-old’s ability to perform consistently at the very highest level.
Priced at 5/4 to secure the opener at Royal Ascot, one might be concerned about backing a horse whose best performances have so far not come on turf. However, he is an extremely versatile sort and has so far taken to any surface with ease – his win in the 2011 Kentucky Derby was his first run on the dirt after three runs on the polytrack and one on turf.
He also ran exceptionally well in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on turf behind the imperious Wise Dan and had the 2012 runner-up of this race, Excelebration, behind. After almost a year off the track, he quickened well inside the final 110 yards to grab second after being trapped on the inside rail for much of the race.
While much of Motion’s success has come overseas, he will be confident of victory against a field of debatable strength, especially given the absence of Lockinge hero Farhh. However, given how short he is, value seekers may still be tempted to look elsewhere.
The ever-impressive Aiden O’Brien enters Declaration Of War in an attempt to recreate his 2006 success with Ad Valorem. The four-year-old won five of his six starts in Ireland before ending up a short price beaten-favourite in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
He was not on his game that day, getting out of the stalls slowly and weakened in the final furlong to finish fifth. However, his form in Ireland suggests he must be better than that run and those willing to forgive it can get 6/1 about him.
John Gosden’s exciting filly Elusive Kate is also likely to generate interest getting 3lbs off the boys. She hasn’t been seen since finishing third in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes last year but handles the track well and at 5/1 should be in and around the places.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.