Graham Motion is an American trainer but he was born in Cambridge, England, is married to an Englishwoman and many of the key members of his staff have English heritage.
His father and mother, Michael and Jo, ran Herringswell Manor Stud in Newmarket. He lived there until, when his son was 16, Michael decided to move his family to the USA in order to further his career as a bloodstock agent and overseas representative for the world-renowned horse sales company, Tattersalls.
Jo’s racing claim to fame is that she looked after the 1951 Grand National winner,
The first six years of Motion’s working life were with trainer Jonathan Sheppard and included travelling back across the Atlantic with Flatterer, who finished runner-up in the 1987 Champion Hurdle.
Motion then spent a brief period in France (working for trainer Jonathan Pease) when he met his future wife, Anita, who at the time was working for another French handler, Alain de Royer-Dupre.
Anita is the niece of successful National Hunt owner, Ron Shaw, and the couple have two children, Jane and Marcus. Upon his return to America in 1991, Motion began working for Bernie Bond, who gave up his training licence two years later, allowing Motion to take over.
Although immediately successful in terms of number of winners (21 in his first season), he had to wait over a decade to register his initial Grade 1 success, courtesy of Film Maker, who landed the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland in October 2003.
Film Maker went on to be placed in three consecutive renewals of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Outside the career of Animal Kingdom, Motion’s other big victories have been provided by Better Talk Now (2004 Breeders’ Cup Turf), Shared Account (2010 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf) and Toby’s Corner (2011 Wood Memorial Stakes).
His assistant trainer is Adrian Rolls, a one-time jump jockey based with Captain Tim Forster, while another Brit, former event rider Alice Clapham, is his travelling head groom who has stayed with Animal Kingdom throughout his Dubai World Cup/Royal Ascot adventure.
BCS Career statistics
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