Animal Kingdom primed for Ascot mission
Caryl Williamson
06:11 AEST Mon Jun 17 2013

John Messara admits there will be a temptation to defer Animal Kingdom's stud career if he performs as expected at Royal Ascot this week.

The Dubai World Cup winner is odds-on to win the Queen Anne Stakes, the first race of the Royal meeting on Tuesday.

Messara bought a controlling share in 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom before his World Cup victory in March, with the intention of standing him at his Arrowfield Stud in Australia in the spring.

Sheikh Mohammed bought into the five-year-old after the World Cup with Messara now holding 50 per cent, the sheikh's Darley 29 per cent and Team Valor 21 per cent.

"At this stage of the game we've declared he will be retired after the race," Messara told Sydney's Sky Sports Radio.

"I know there's going to be a lot of pressure on if that (win) happens.

"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 that could fall his way - the Breeders' Cup, the Coral Eclipse here in England and even perhaps the Cox Plate in Australia.

"But we have already set a service fee for him and the present intention is to retire him after this."

Messara said although Animal Kingdom was clearly the best horse in the race there were a few challenges to overcome on Tuesday.

"It's a straight mile which he's never experienced and he's never been on an undulating surface," he said.

"But he loves grass. Unlike other Kentucky Derby winners he's not a dirt specialist and has won on all surfaces."

Animal Kingdom's announced service fee is $38,500 and he will serve the northern hemisphere season at Sheikh Mohammed's Jonabell Farm in Kentucky.

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