There will be many disappointed punters whose money went down the drain – or perhaps in this case we should say up the Swanee with such a poor run. I would have liked Animal Kingdom to do well for an entirely different reason, an unusual and admittedly serendipitous connection to Sir Henry Cecil.
Few Kentucky Derby winners come over to England to run at Royal Ascot. Animal Kingdom did so with far more than hope, but was always going to find it hard when he drew an outside berth in stall 13. He just couldn’t get any cover in the early part of the race and pulled hard so that he was a spent force by halfway.
Animal Kingdom came to Ascot on the back of a storming win in the Dubai World Cup as well as his win in the Run for the Roses, but it’s the latter that provides the link to Cecil. The last Kentucky Derby winner to tackle the Royal meeting was Omaha in 1936, following on from his US Triple Crown the previous season.
At the start of 1936 he moved from the stable of American trainer Jim Fitzsimmons to Newmarket, where he came under the supervision of Cecil Boyd-Rochfort. He had two runs at Kempton, winning the first impressively and the second in a thrilling finish. That set him up for a tilt at the Ascot Gold Cup, in which he went down by a short head to the previous season’s Oaks winner, Quashed.
The link to Sir Henry? Boyd-Rochfort was his stepfather.