TDN Q&A with Graham Motion ahead of Spendarella's (KARAKONTIE) Royal Ascot unveiling.

“Royal Ascot Is Right Up There With The Breeders' Cup And All The Biggest Meetings”

Brian Sheerin: You have come close to Royal Ascot success in the past. Can Spendarella (KARAKONTIE) make the breakthrough for you next week?
Graham Motion: She has always been very straightforward and has handled everything since she won [the GII Appalachian S.] at Keeneland. I had a plan in my head going there that, if she ran well, we would take a shot at Royal Ascot but didn’t think it made sense to give her another run before then as she’s already run three times this year. With that in mind, I think she has done well and we’re hopeful.

BS: Wesley Ward is putting his faith in Irad Ortiz, Jr., who will ride all of his horses at the royal meeting. Would you prefer to book a European rider who has knowledge of the track over someone who has ridden your filly and knows her well?
GM: It’s something I think about a lot and I guess I have done it both ways in the past. I thought Tyler Gaffalione rode her great last time and Jose Ortiz had ridden her before but is due to ride Pizza Bianca (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) in the Coronation S. William Buick became available at the last entry stage and I just felt that, if I could get William or Frankie, who are two of the top guys in Europe, it just gives you a little advantage to have someone familiar with the course.

BS: You have travelled horses all over the world. Is there a right way to do things? I know a lot of the American horses are flying in a little later than usual this year.
GM: I have done it both ways. When I brought Animal Kingdom over, he came straight from Dubai so would have spent a good couple of months in England and the result wasn’t great. I’m not knocking that process but I do like to travel closer to the race. Spendarella (KARAKONTIE) actually left on Tuesday morning but we are a little bit in the hands of the airlines and don’t have a lot of control. Ideally, I like to get all my work done in America but, because she travelled over on Tuesday, she’s going to have to do some work next week. That makes things a little bit more complicated as you are doing work on an unfamiliar surface and in unfamiliar surroundings. My philosophy is to try and keep things as simple as possible.

BS: Sharing was sent off a 16-5 chance before finishing second in the Coronation S. two years ago. Spendarella (KARAKONTIE) is available at odds as big as 10-1 in places for the same race. Is that a fair reflection of her chances comparable to Sharing’s in 2020?
GM: I have been asked to compare the two fillies and it’s quite a hard thing to do as Sharing was quite accomplished at this stage of her career having won at the Breeders’ Cup the previous year. Spendarella(KARAKONTIE) has come around quite a bit later than her, but she has done nothing wrong and keeps on improving. To answer your question, I think 10-1 is a very fair price. Herself and Pizza Bianca (Fastnet Rock {Aus}), who is probably a bit more established having won at the Breeders’ Cup, have similar chances.

BS: It’s a pretty obvious thing to say but I think you feel the best is still to come from this filly?
GM: She keeps on improving. I have been pleasantly surprised by how comfortably she has won all three of her starts and she has yet to be fully tested. I think the mile at Ascot will really suit her, which is part of the reason why we’re coming, and the opportunity to run in a Group 1 over this track is a brilliant opportunity for her. It’s also a race I’m pretty comfortable with as I’ve had runners in it before.

Read the full TDN Q&A Here >