Photo: Eclipse Sportswire - Kate Hunter
A battle for supremacy and an attempt at superiority in the kingdom of Queen Elizabeth II; Animal Kingdom will face twelve rivals as he bids for Group 1 glory in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.
For Graham Motion the countdown has begun towards an inaugural attempt at victory in his home country. Cambridge born and bred, Motion has never quite had that star to bring back to home shores in a bid for glory but the career of Animal Kingdom has provided an opportunity to achieve just that in his final start.
For the bookmakers the race is as clear cut as they come, heavily supported since his work at Ascot racecourse a fortnight ago Animal Kingdom is now a general odds-on favourite for the opening contest of the internationally renowned festival on Tuesday afternoon.
The days of Canford Cliffs, Goldikova and Frankel may have long gone for the Queen Anne Stakes and with Farhh missing the whole of Royal Ascot through injury, the Berkshire venue looks towards the American superstar to open the event in emphatic style just one year after the dominant performance of Frankel in the very same race.
Rain and soft ground are two factors of British racing that the connections of Animal Kingdom have been a tad uneasy about, but Animal Kingdom has dispelled those concerns thus far with good works and gallops on his unfavoured surface. However, on Tuesday morning Ascot looks to expect minor showers prior to the running of this Group 1 contest.
Farhh may be absent but his form is represented with the second, third and fourth from the Lockinge Stakes entered in Sovereign Debt, Aljamaaheer and Chill The Kite. Partnered by Ryan Moore, it'd be far from a shock to see Chill The Kite put up a bold bid in this contest.
John Gosden is double-handed in this contest as he enters the exceptionally talented Elusive Kate and recent Epsom victor Gregorian. Elusive Kate has been a vision of unparalleled progression since her uncharacteristically poor performance in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf contest of 2011.
Second in two Group 1 contests against her own sex, Elusive Kate also managed Group 1 glory in Deauville last season as well as a fine third-placed finish against the colts on the QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot. Partnered by William Buick once more, her chance looks to be the one Animal Kingdom must fear the most.
Uncharacteristically, Aidan O'Brien is represented by just one horse in this contest. Pacemakers, such as Windsor Palace, are absent on this occasion as Joseph O' Brien is sent into battle aboard the Lockinge Stakes fifth placed finisher, Declaration of War.
Trade Storm is an intriguing runner. Fourth in the Dubai Duty Free at Meydan, this star of David Simcock's yard has been progressing at an alarming rate. Owned by Qatar Racing, Trade Storm gets the guiding hands of Jamie Spencer.
The entries are rounded out by Richard Fahey's Gabrial and the Richard Hannon trained duo of Libranno and Trumpet Major.