Ward Primed for More Royal Ascot Success

Trainer Wesley Ward

Wesley Ward, the first American trainer to have winners at Great Britain’s famous Royal Ascot meeting, has a team of eight primed for next week.


The Keeneland-based handler is in a confident mood as he bids to improve on his tally in 2009 when he sent out Strike The Tiger to win the Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed) and Jealous Again to land the Gr2 Queen Mary.


“We’re ready for battle,” Ward said.


Once again Ward is pinning his hopes on the juvenile prizes and has all six races for two-year-olds covered with a squad of seven youngsters.


On Tuesday, June 14th, he has Italo entered for the Gr2 Coventry Stakes (Ascot Race 4; 11:25 am EDT) and both Holdin Bullets and recent Folkestone (UK) maiden winner Gentlemans Code in the Windsor Castle Stakes at 12:35 pm (Ascot Race 6)

On Wednesday’s card, Ward has Gypsy Robin and Judy The Beauty in the Queen Mary Stakes (Ascot Race 5; 12:00 noon) while on Thursday Everyday Dave will be entered in the Gr2 Norfolk Stakes (Ascot Race 1; 9:30 am).


Gypsy Robin and Judy The Beauty have alternative entries in the Gr3 Albany Stakes on Friday (Race 1; 9:30 am) and Tiz Terrific and/or Holdin Bullets will fly the stars and stripes in the Listed Chesham Stakes on Saturday at 9:30 am.


The elder member of the Ward raiding party is Holiday For Kitten, who goes for the Gr1 King’s Stand Stakes on Tuesday (Race 2; 10:05 am).


Ward’s string has been based at Xavier Nakkachdji’s stable at Chantilly outside of Paris since April under the supervision of his long-time assistant Blake Heap and most of them have been in winning action.


“Hopefully we’ll get some luck. I’d really like to thank Xavier who trains in France for helping us out,” said Ward.


The horses will travel over from France to Ascot on Saturday when the trainer himself will make the journey from the United States.


Ward has also been helped by Steve Leving, who he describes as “the world’s foremost racing authority.”


Leving has been instrumental in choosing the best races for the Ward team. He provided England’s Press Association with the lowdown on each Royal Ascot raider:


“We’ve entered Italo in the Coventry. He won at Longchamp first time out,” he said.

“Holdin Bullets will run in either the Windsor Castle or the Chesham, or both. “Holdin Bullets has not run in Europe yet. He was in a race but was scratched. He’s a bay colt by Ghostzapper and won first time out, breaking his maiden at Keeneland by a length going wire to wire in 51 seconds flat over four and half furlongs. He had a lot of public support in his first race.


“Gentlemans Code, the one British racing fans are familiar with, is in the Windsor Castle.


“Holiday For Kitten, the only older horse Wesley will be running at Royal Ascot, is in the King’s Stand Stakes.


“Gypsy Robin has been entered in both the Queen Mary and the Albany. It has not been completely determined yet which race she is going to run in. She could run in either of the two. Gypsy Robin has run just the once at Keeneland over four and a half furlongs in 50.2 seconds, a fast time, and she won by seven and a half lengths in an 11-horse field. She can really run.


“Similarly the horse that won in Paris, Judy The Beauty, is also nominated for both those races. She won in Keeneland in a fast time and then won again over five furlongs at Chantilly last month. Judy The Beauty beat Ruby’s Day by a neck who went on to beat an unbeaten colt (Family One) in her next race in France. Judy The Beauty has trained well and is a good one.


“Everyday Dave has run twice. He won his maiden easily at Keeneland and then he won at Chantilly by eight lengths in a time of 57.3 seconds. After that race Timeform gave him a rating of 104p. He’s slated to go for the Norfolk Stakes.


“Tiz Terrific is a filly who has been nominated for the Chesham and she won by two and a half lengths at Longchamp.


“So far, so good. You have to be lucky and it has been firm ground which was beneficial.


The horses were well-trained and they have talent” Leving continued.


“It is different now to what it was when Wesley won at Ascot the year before last.


“He won with Strike The Tiger, he won with Jealous Again, but the fashion he did it was a little differrent because the horses went directly to England [from America] for the races.


“Now this is new territory and when you’re running at Royal Ascot you’re running against the best horses in the world. It’s a difficult assignment.”




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Go get 'em Wesley!

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