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Kelly has winter back-up plans with The Kingdom

By Glenn Davis

Talented three-year-old The Kingdom faces an uphill battle to make the field for next month’s $2 million Magic Millions Guineas at the Gold Coast but trainer Les Kelly has a worthy back-up plan.

The Kingdom has won two of his three starts and makes his comeback following a short break in the Australis Roofing Class Two Handicap (1300m) at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday.

The Kingdom is a son of shuttle stallion Animal Kingdom who won the Group 1 Kentucky Derby in 2000.

The Kingdom was knocked down for $230,000 at the Magic Millions sales but has returned owners only $21,000 so far and is well short of qualifying for the Magic Millions Guineas.

“He needs more prizemoney to get into the Magic Millions and if he wins this race, he’ll probably need to run again in a Class Six Plate at the Gold Coast a week before the race to get in,” Kelly said.

“If he doesn’t win this race, I’ll probably give him a break and get him ready for the staying races like the Grand Prix in the winter.

“I think he’ll eventually run 2400 metres so he could even be a Queensland Derby horse if he stays.”

Kelly has no doubt The Kingdom will improve with age and distance and fears the 1300-metres might be too short for him first-up.

The Kingdom’s only defeat in three starts was on debut when he finished third in an 1100-metre maiden at the Gold Coast in September.

Kelly waited three weeks before he started The Kingdom again when he produced a stunning victory over 1200 metres at the Gold Coast.

At his latest appearance The Kingdom stormed home from midfield to easily account for his opposition in a Class One Handicap over 1400 metres on October 6.

Kelly is not worried by the lack of recent racing for The Kingdom but does have concerns with the journey.

“The track is going to suit him but I just feel 1300 metres might be a shade short,” Kelly said.

“He only had a short break after his last win at the Gold Coast and he’s had a trial.”

Racing Queensland webnews    December 23