Barry Irwin, President of Team Valor International, said Tuesday that Graham Motion will no longer train their roster of North American thoroughbreds. Motion had been overseeing training operations as a service to Team Valor, but continued to train for other owners. Irwin admitted :
"...due to the unique type of operation we run with partnership-owned horses, we feel at this time it would serve our needs better to have one trainer that was exclusive to our stable. Graham agrees."
The Team Valor-Graham Motion partnership was highlighted in the past with Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom. The partnership stole the spotlight again recently as Animal Kingdom won the Group 1 Dubai World Cup at Meydan. Motion will, apparently, remain Animal Kingdom's trainer.
Team Valor has hired Rick Mettee as its private trainer in the U.S., effective May 1. Graham Motion will continue to train Animal Kingdom.— Team Valor (@TeamValor) April 5, 2013
Mettee started out as an assistant in the late Richard Dutrow Sr.'s barn, but saw hiscareer take off as an assistant with California-based trainer John Gosden. While training on his own, Mettee's most prominent runner was Annoconnr, winner of the 1990 Grade 1 Santa Ana Handicap. Due to his success, Mettee was referred to the Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor where he assisted in the training of Godolphin's American operation.
Mettee will take over Team Valor's operations on May 1. Motion will continue his public training operation at Fair Hill and Keeneland.