Wesley Ward Looking For More British Glory With Golden Pal In Nunthorpe Stakes

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Wesley Ward

Leading American trainer Wesley Ward is eyeing up more British glory this season with Golden Pal being targeted at the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at the Yorkshire Ebor meeting.

Ward, overall had a decent time of things with his runners at Royal Ascot with Campanelle landing the Group Two Queen Mary Stakes and he was unlucky not to have another winner across the week with Golden Pal denied on the line in the Norfolk Stakes.

It has now been 11 years since the US trainer first landed a winner at the royal meeting and he has had runners feature at the five day meeting every year since.

It was a very different experience for the Washington based handler as he watched all the action at the Berkshire track from Keeneland in Kentucky due to the ongoing travel restrictions in the world.

Ward was desperate for a winner this season having drawn a blank in 2019 and Campanelle provided him with a fourth win in the Queen Mary Stakes and an 11th Royal Ascot triumph overall under Frankie Dettori on Saturday.

(Credit AtTheRaces) Ward said: “We had a little celebration and a little champagne on Saturday afternoon, which was nice.

“It was a relief to get a winner, because we didn’t have one last year, and seconds are not what you want – nobody remembers you finishing second!

“The Prix Morny is where we’re headed (with Campanelle). She’ll come home now and have a couple of gallops on the beautiful grass here in Keeneland, and hopefully then she’ll be ready to ship to Deauville.

“It’s actually a good trip for a horse, because you can fly direct from Chicago to Paris. I’m certainly hoping I’ll be able to go, too.”

The trainer had stated at the start of the week that he believed his best chance to be Golden Pal in the Norfolk Stakes, who was touched off on the line by the Qatar Racing owned The Lir Jet.

Ward added: “He ran great, as I expected him to. If I’d known you could have got 18-1 I might have thrown a few dollars on him myself!

“He’s a fast horse with an explosive kick, but maybe Andrea (Atzeni) went a couple of seconds too soon and used up that kick a bit too early. These things happen – it’s Royal Ascot and it’s easy to talk about it afterwards.”

Golden Pal will be heading to the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York's Ebor meeting and if getting quick ground can not be ruled out off the back of what he achieved at Ascot last week.

Ward has twice finished second with Acapulco and Lady Aurelia in the event and is now looking to gain his first victory in the black type contest.

“I’ve spoken to the owners, and we’re going to aim for the Nunthorpe,” said Ward, who has a high-profile jockey booking in mind.

“I’ve been second in the race twice, and it would be great to win it.

“Irad Ortiz Jr travelled over to ride Acapulco when she ran in it as a two-year-old – because obviously the two-year-olds carry a light weight. I would hope by the time York comes around, he’ll be able to travel over to ride Golden Pal – that’s the idea.”

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