Golden Pal backed up his win at last year’s Breeders’ Cup with a scintillating display in the Turf Sprint at Del Mar.
A big disappointment for Wesley Ward in the Nunthorpe at York in August, the 2020 Juvenile Turf Sprint hero had this race won after 100 yards.
Immediately into a clear advantage, only Lieutenant Dan could keep tabs on him, but even then it was only at a respectable distance throughout.
Last year’s winner Glass Slippers and her Kevin Ryan-trained stablemate Emaraaty Ana were where they wanted to be coming off the bend but could not make any headway and finished just out of the places, as did Prix de l’Abbaye winner A Case Of You, who made up plenty of ground late in the race.
Ward could not hide his confidence in the build up to the Nunthorpe but that day he was beaten a long way out, leaving his trainer unable to explain what happened.
Back on home soil, he burst out of the stalls like lightning, with Irad Ortiz pushing him into an early two-length lead.
While he was able to get a breather before the final effort in the short home straight, those in behind were not allowed that luxury and just as they may have felt they were closing in, Golden Pal shot further clear.
Emaraaty Ana stuck to his task well and finished fourth, best of the Europeans under Andrea Atzeni, who said: “Five furlongs is a bit sharp for him and it was his first run round a bend. I couldn’t keep up with them, but he ran right to the line.”
Ryan said of his duo: “Emaraaty Ana’s run great, they went as we expected and he came good turning in, but they kept going in front. He’s run his heart out.
“The winner has unbelievable speed from the gate and he galloped all the way to the line.
“Glass Slippers was flat out all the way and never got a chance to fill up. She’s been great and that’s it now, she’ll be off to the paddocks.”
Ward confirmed Royal Ascot is likely to be on the winner’s agenda next year.
“I would like to keep him in training and take him to Ascot for the King’s Stand,” he said.
“He’s so sound, and lightly raced. We could boost his stallion value by showing he can do what he does here over there.
“Breeding-wise he is open to either surface (turf or dirt).
“He’s got the title – he’s the best horse (I’ve ever trained).”
Adrian McGuinness was more than satisfied with A Case Of You’s performance and another international target could now be on his agenda.
He said: “He ran a massive race and going past the line would have been placed with a bit further.
“He’s been invited for Hong Kong which is something we’ll discuss over the weekend and if he travels home well it’s something we’ll think about.”
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