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US happy to claim Dubai World Cup winner as its own

Media praise Animal Kingdom after classy victory in Dubai’s big race

Gulf News

Dubai: The world’s media on Sunday lauded American raider Animal Kingdom after his superb victory in the $10m Dubai World Cup on Saturday night.

The five-year-old son of Leroidesanimaux ended the US’s losing record on the Tapeta course at Meydan — no horse from the States had even made the top three since the World Cup was switched from Nad Al Sheba in 2010 — in impressive style.

Ridden by Dominican Republic-born jockey Joel Rosario, Animal Kingdom stormed past his rivals on the home straight to win by two lengths from the fast-finishing Red Cadeaux.

Trained by Graham Motion, the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner now looks set to compete at Royal Ascot this summer before being retired to stud in Australia, the home of Arrowfield Stud, who bought a controlling stake in the horse from Team Valor late last year.

Marcus Hersh, writing for the US-based Daily Racing Form, said Animal Kingdom’s home country should be proud of him.

“In many ways, Animal Kingdom is an international horse, but he made his first 10 starts in the United States and in 2011 won the grand prize of American racing, the Kentucky Derby,” Hersh wrote. “And after three years of World Cup flops at Meydan, and another night of forgettable performances earlier this night, Americans could feel free to claim Animal Kingdom as their own as he brilliantly won the $10 million World Cup.”

Australia’s Thoroughbred News, meanwhile, praised Animal Kingdom’s “effortless-looking but ground-devouring strides” that ensured he “crushed his competition”.

In the UK, The Guardian’s Greg Wood was impressed by the winner’s turn of pace, as he breezed past the much-fancied early leader Royal Delta to land the big prize.

“This was a polished performance by Animal Kingdom, far removed from the disappointing efforts of American challengers in the past three seasons,” Wood said.

“Joel Rosario, the five-year-old’s jockey, soon had him settled close behind his compatriot Royal Delta, who set the pace until the top of the home stretch. At that point, Rosario sent Animal Kingdom into the lead and, from there, they floated away down the straight, ghosting over the Tapeta surface that had proved such a problem for American horses in the past.

“This was a hugely significant success, a demonstration that the best American 10-furlong performers can win the world’s most valuable race on a synthetic surface and without the benefit of raceday medications.”

Meanwhile, the Racing Post’s Stuart Riley began his report by declaring: “Class will out.” He went on to praise Motion for getting the previously injury-hit and unpredictable Animal Kingdom to perform on the big stage.

“Animal Kingdom went into the 2013 running of the Dubai World Cup as the one horse capable of producing something special, and produce something special he did, blowing away his rivals with a display steeped in authority... He has not been an easy horse for his trainer Graham Motion to get right, but when fit and well Animal Kingdom has proved to himself to be a leader among his species.”