Arrowfield Stud boss John Messara has hinted that a start in the Cox Plate could be on the cards for Animal Kingdom if he was to win the Group 1 £350,000 The Queen Anne Stakes (1 mile) at Royal Ascot today.
The US sensation will start a short priced favourite at Royal Ascot and the original plan for the recently acquired Animal Kingdom was to start his stud career at Arrowfield Stud in the Hunter Valley this season but a change of thinking could see the high profile stallion line up in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley in October.
”At this stage of the game we’ve declared he will be retired after the race,” said Messara who is also Racing New South Wales chairman.
”I know there’s going to be a lot of pressure on if he wins.
”We’ll have to sit down and think about it after the race, but we’ve just got to win it first.
”But if he wins he’ll probably be the highest rated horse in the world and there are a lot of nice races … the Breeders’ Cup, the Coral Eclipse here in England and even perhaps the Cox Plate.
”But we have already set a service fee for him and the present intention is to retire him.”
Animal Kingdom has already been listed on the Arrowfield Stud stallion roster at a first year service fee of AUS$38,500 and will stand the Northern Hemisphere season at Sheikh Mohammed’s Jonabell Farm in Kentucky.
Messara bought into Animal Kingdom along with Sheikh Mohammed with the intention of adding to his win in the 2011 Group 1 US$2m Kentucky Derby (10 furlongs) at Churchill Downs with wins in Dubai and at Royal Ascot before commencing his stud career, and the plan is almost complete.
The first half of the assignment has been successful with Animal Kingdom having no trouble winning the Group 1 US$10m Dubai World Cup (2000m) at Meydan on March 30 and is now primed for Royal Ascot.
“Winning at Royal Ascot is one of those bucket list issues for me to do and I feel very privileged to be here with the favourite for the first race of the first day,” Messara said.
Animal Kingdom is the $2 favourite for The Queen Anne Stakes, the first race of the five day Royal Ascot Carnival which goes from June 18 to June 22.
The William Buick trained Elusive Kate is next in the betting at $6.50 with Aidan O’Brien’s Declaration Of War on the third line of betting at $9.