A big Autumn ahead of Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom has given notice of a big Autumn with a 3YO winning double, courtesy of Peaceful State in Melbourne on Wednesday and Raw Emotion at Kembla Grange on Tuesday.

Luke Sheehan at Racing.com summed up Peaceful State’s storming victory from near the back of the field, achieved in the style of a genuine Classic prospect and despite giving weight to older horses:

Peaceful State stamped himself on the scene with a huge win in the Mitavite Summer Challenge Heat 1 (1300m) for Japanese owner Katsumi Yoshida, punched out strongly by popular Irish hoop John Allen. He reeled in the likes of Call Me Handsome and Kaching in the shadows of the post, and is as short as $7.50 (Sportsbet), but as much as $15 (Bet365), for the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m).

Watch Peaceful State win at Sandown.

Bred by the partnership of Arrowfield and Mr Yoshida’s Northern Farm, Peaceful State is the last foal of Weekend Beauty (by Helissio), celebrated as the dam of 7-time Group 1 winner and 2008 Horse of the Year Weekend Hussler. The Darren Weir-trained colt has now won two of his four starts and was a close second to Villermont in last November’s Sandown Guineas G2.

Animal Kingdom’s daughter Raw Emotion confirmed her progress over three starts in the past month with success over 1600 metres at Kembla Grange. 

Watch Raw Emotion win at Kembla Grange.

The first foal of Lilac Garden (by Hussonet from stakeswinner Miss Bussell), Raw Emotion was bought for $135,000 by Star Thoroughbreds from Arrowfield’s 2016 Inglis Easter draft and is prepared by Chris Waller. Lilac Garden has a weanling colt by Olympic Glory and is in foal again to Animal Kingdom. 

Earth Angel (also an Australian Guineas contender and a pleasing second in her campaign debut at Caulfield last Saturday), Lord Cecil (a dual acceptor for Canterbury on Friday, and Saturday’s ATC Eskimo Prince S. G3), debut winner I Am Queen and New Zealand Oaks prospect Toy Kingdom are all set to keep the ball rolling for Animal Kingdom through the Autumn. 

Meanwhile, in the United States where Animal Kingdom finished 4th on the 2017 First Season Sires’ premiership, his Grade 2-winning son Untamed Domain remains on the Kentucky Derby trail after his season-opening third in last Saturday’s Dania Beach S. G3.

Animal Kingdom has 7 yearlings, including two fillies & two colts in Arrowfield’s draft for the Inglis Classic Sale which begins on Saturday evening at the new Riverside Stables in Sydney. 

Animal Kingdom's first Flemington winner

It’s easy to imagine Animal Kingdom’s progeny relishing Flemington’s big open stretches and 2YO colt Royal Phoenix gave a hint of that future with a dead-heat victory at the famous track on Saturday.

Watch Royal Phoenix win at Flemington.

Racing on the challenging 1100-metre course, Royal Phoenix and his fellow dead-heater Andaz settled together without cover, just behind the early leaders. They joined serious battle at the 250 metres when Royal Phoenix extended impressively to take the lead before Andaz fought back to level up right on the line, with Evil Cry a neck away away in third.

Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said of Royal Phoenix, “He didn’t get cover but neither did the other, but they both fought it out very strong to the line. He will get better – it’s never easy first time up the straight, but he did it beautifully.”

Royal Phoenix is the second foal of Helena Girl, a winning daughter of Commands and also the dam of Macau stakeswinner Sparta (by Beneteau). He’s prepared for a group of owners, including his breeder Tony Pistikakis, by Team Hawkes, who bought him for $240,000 from Arrowfield’s 2016 Magic Millions draft.

The Hawkes stable also bought Royal Phoenix’s year-younger full brother at this year’s Magic Millions Sale and Helena Girl, now in foal to Dundeel, has a weanling filly by Smart Missile.

Royal Phoenix is the fifth winner from Animal Kingdom’s first Australian crop, sufficient to hold third on the First Season Sires’ premiership by winners.  His best performer this term, Group-placed winner Lord Cecil, ran a meritorious sixth, beaten less than two lengths, in Saturday’s BRC J.J. Atkins G1 after racing very wide for much of the race.

Add six placegetters from a representation of only 14 runners and the Dubai World Cup champion is a big watch for 2017/18.

Animal Kingdom’s second-crop yearlings averaged almost $155,000 at 2017’s major sales and his top price of $340,000 was paid by Solis Litt Bloodstock at Inglis Easter for Arrowfield’s filly out of Sammy’s Girl. Other buyers of his second-crop yearlings include Andrew Williams, Phil Cataldo, Damon Gabbedy, Champion Thoroughbreds, Liam Birchley & Paul Perry.

Animal Kingdom's first stakes performer

First season sire Animal Kingdom posted his first stakes performer when 2YO Lord Cecil finished strongly for third in Saturday’s Gold Coast TC Ken Russell Memorial Classic 1200m G3.

Lord Cecil’s late surge took him within a length of the winner Taking Aim and runner-up Dissolution (by Snitzel), and under-lined the promise of his debut win at Muswellbrook on 21 April. Trained by Paul Messara for Arrowfield, Lord Cecil is nominated for the J.J. Atkins G1 on 10 June over what should be a very suitable 1600 metres.

The gelding was bred by Arrowfield in partnership with Klawervlei Stud and is a half-brother to the very good juvenile Time For War (by Snitzel). Their dam Lady Zabelia (by Zabeel), from the family of champion Might and Power, has a yearling filly by Snitzel bought for $170,000 by Darby Racing & De Burgh Equine at the Magic Millions Sale and a weanling colt, also by Snitzel. Lady Zabelia is in foal to Olympic Glory.

Animal Kingdom, whose second-crop yearlings have sold up to $340,000 in 2017, has three Australian winners (Earth Angel, Platinum & Lord Cecil) and six placegetters from 13 first-crop runners.