Tag Archive for: Golden Pal

Golden Pal makes all for Turf Sprint victory

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).”

A Case Of You's connections will consider a Hong Kong run
A Case Of You’s connections will consider a Hong Kong run (PA)

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.”

Golden Pal firing on all cylinders for Breeders’ Cup repeat

Back-to-back victories at the Breeders’ Cup is next on the agenda for Golden Pal following his return to winning ways on Saturday.

So impressive when dominating from the front in the Juvenile Turf Sprint at Keeneland last year, Wesley Ward’s stable star missed the first half of the current campaign due to an early-season setback – ruling out an intended appearance at Royal Ascot.

But having looked better than ever on his belated comeback at Saratoga in July, the son of Uncle Mo was well-fancied to break Ward’s duck in the Nunthorpe at York the following month.

The Washington-born trainer was left scratching his head after Golden Pal could finish only a lacklustre seventh on the Knavesmire, but he showed his true colours back on home soil at Keeneland over the weekend to set up a tilt at the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar.

Ward said: “It was such a great disappointment for me in York. I really was very, very confident there and for whatever reason it just didn’t materialise.

“I hold that course (York) in such high regard, I thought we had the horse and I had my rider (Frankie Dettori) on, but I just can’t figure it out. That race eludes me, but we’re going to get there one of these years!

“If I didn’t hold Golden Pal in such high regard, I would have just chalked it up as an ‘oh well, we gave it a try and we didn’t win’, but this horse is just so special.”

While blistering early speed has been Golden Pal’s trademark, Ward was pleased to see him show a different side to his game in the Grade Two Woodford Stakes.

“He showed a (different) dimension as Johnny (Velazquez) just dropped his hands when he came out of the gate and then he got passed,” the trainer added.

“Johnny never really moved and then he just kind of shook the reins to him and the horse just took off. I was really proud of him to see him to do that.

“We’re looking forward to the Breeders’ Cup. I think he’s going to love Del Mar. It’s not that he doesn’t handle a little give in the track at all, but his weapon is his speed and when you get a fast or firm course, he’s going to be a bear!”

A decision on whether Golden Pal will return for a four-year-old campaign in 2022 is unlikely to be made until after the Breeders’ Cup, but Ward admits he would love to have a crack at the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot.

He said: “It’s not my decision, of course – the boys over in Coolmore will make those decisions.

“But he would certainly enhance (his stud value) significantly if he were to have a win in Ascot in the King’s Stand.”

Breeders’ Cup target for Golden Pal after York disappointment

Wesley Ward is targeting Breeders’ Cup redemption for Golden Pal following his disappointing performance in the Nunthorpe at York.

So impressive when winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Keeneland last year, the Uncle Mo colt’s return to action was delayed by an early-season setback.

But having made a sensational reappearance at Saratoga in July, hopes were high that Golden Pal could provide his American trainer with a first Nunthorpe success, having seen both Acapulco and Lady Aurelia finish second in the Group One contest.

However, while Golden Pal displayed blistering early speed on the Knavesmire, he ultimately weakened out of contention tamely.

“He came home safe and sound and is back here training at Keeneland like he never left,” said Ward.

“Every trainer is different, but historically for me, when I bring a horse back from a long lay-off and they run a big race like he did at Saratoga, they need a little bit more time before they run again.

“I knew how important the Nunthorpe was to the Coolmore team for his stallion career, as opposed to the Flying Five (at the Curragh in September), so I factored that in and there was no real reason not to run, with the exception of the time factor.

“Every horse is different and this horse trained beautiful going into it and came out of the race beautiful, so I think it was just a question of it kind of zapped him from the inside, that first big race he had (at Saratoga).”

Wesley Ward is keeping the faith in Golden Pal
Wesley Ward is keeping the faith in Golden Pal (Julian Herbert/PA)

Golden Pal is likely to have one more run before bidding for back-to-back Breeders’ Cup wins at Del Mar in November.

Ward added: “We’ll make a decision on whether we run him in the Woodford here at Keeneland (October 9) and then aim for the Breeders’ Cup – I think that will be the plan.

“Hopefully he can run right here on his home track and he’ll bounce forward right into the Breeders’ Cup and show what he is.”

Wesley Ward ‘all smiles’ ahead of Golden Pal’s Nunthorpe date

Wesley Ward is confident Golden Pal can provide him with a first victory in the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe at York on Friday.

The first American trainer to saddle a winner at Royal Ascot in 2009, Ward is now in double figures at the showpiece meeting – but a winner on the Knavesmire has so far eluded him.

It has not been for the want of trying, with Acapulco filling the runner-up spot in the 2015 Nunthorpe and Lady Aurelia going down by a nose to Marsha two years later, when Frankie Dettori famously celebrated as though he had won when passing the post.

In Golden Pal, winner of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint and scintillating on his belated return to action at Saratoga last month, the Washington-born handler appears to have unearthed another sprinting star.

Speaking after checking on conditions on Thursday morning, Ward said: “We’ve just walked the course and had a morning schooling session in the paddock. All is good.

“I looked at the French filly (Suesa) today and I’m sure she’s going to run a good race, but our guy has really travelled over very well and has done everything right to this point – I’m very, very pleased and happy.

“I’m happy with the rider (Dettori) and the horse and the race conditions here at York.

“I can’t have anything right now that I can see is going in the wrong direction.

“We’re all smiles and we’ll see what happens on Friday afternoon.”

Suesa winning at Goodwood
Suesa winning at Goodwood (John Walton/PA)

Francois Rohaut reports Suesa to be in good shape as she bids to be the first French-trained winner since John Hammond’s Nuclear Debate in 2000.

The daughter of Night Of Thunder has won five of her six starts with her only defeat coming in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

However, she bounced back with an emphatic victory in the King George Stakes at Goodwood.

“All is well. We gave her chance to recover after Goodwood. She hasn’t worked that much, she didn’t need to. She had a workout with Olivier Peslier last week,” he said.

“It is one of the best races and we have to forget Ascot. It was the ground there and probably the hill was too much for her. William Buick did the right thing with her that day when he eased her in the final furlong. Then at Goodwood we had a good result.

“She is very easy. I am not worried about the track and the ground will be probably good, good to firm. She looks nice and hopefully she can repeat her Goodwood performance. If she can run as well as she did there, we will be happy.”

Winter Power has won both her starts at York this year in convincing fashion and trainer Tim Easterby believes there is more to come from the three-year-old filly.

“She’s in great form. I’m very happy with the draw (six). She hasn’t been pushed to her limits yet. I’m very happy with her and the ground will be perfect for her,” he said.

“You don’t look anywhere else – you look at your own horse, where you’re drawn, where you’re going on the track and tell your jockey to keep his head! After that, the job’s right.

“She’s a natural runner and we won’t be doing anything fancy with her.

“She’s not a hold-up horse and doesn’t have to make the running and she hits the line strong, that’s the main thing.

“You don’t want to be kicking for home three from home or you won’t win.

“She’s absolutely bang on – she couldn’t be better.”

Dragon Symbol (right) and Campanelle fight out the finish to the Commonwealth Cup
Dragon Symbol (right) and Campanelle fight out the finish to the Commonwealth Cup (David Davies/PA)

The Archie Watson-trained Dragon Symbol deserves a day in the sun, having lost the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot in the stewards’ room before finishing second in the July Cup and in the King George at Goodwood.

“We’ve met Suesa twice, and we beat her comprehensively at Ascot before she beat us at Goodwood, where I didn’t think things went our way,” said Watson.

“Dragon Symbol is very versatile with regard to the ground and I think he goes on anything. It was heavy at Ascot and softish at Goodwood, but it was quick ground when he chased home Starman in the July Cup so it won’t be a problem if it dries out by Friday.

“I thought he travelled very well at Goodwood, down in trip, but unfortunately two longshot pacemakers came back in his lap. Oisin (Murphy) had to switch right, and then he had to switch even further right, and then he had to switch even further right to get round Battaash.

“By the time he had got out, he was on the wrong part of the track compared to the winner. I’ve no issues about taking her on again and I don’t think it’s unrealistic to think we might turn the tables.”

Michael Dods has a couple of chances in the Qipco British Champions Series contest, with last year’s runner-up Que Amoro joined by stablemate Dakota Gold, who has won five times at York.

“The Nunthorpe is a race we like to look at and we’ve been lucky in it, but I think it’s more competitive this year than it’s been for a while. You’ve got to have a go though,” said Dods.

“Que Amoro ran a hell of a race when second last year, but she’s a bit temperamental and things haven’t really worked out for her so far this year. She’s in good form and she likes York.

“The ground isn’t ideal for Dakota Gold, but so long as it’s safe I think he’ll run too. He might have grabbed a place if it had been heavy, but on good ground they’ll probably be too speedy for him.”

Moss Gill (centre) in action at York
Moss Gill (centre) in action at York (Dan Abraham/PA)

Ed Bethell has high hopes for Moss Gill, who finished third 12 months ago.

He said: “He finished within two lengths of Battaash last year, and any horse who did that when Battaash was in that sort of form did really well.

“It’s going to be a burn up of pure speed as I can see around seven who like to go forward, so I’m hoping that might play into his hands.

“Hopefully Moss Gill can sit on their tails, and if one or two of them capitulate, he’ll be there to pick up the pieces.”

Golden Pal heads Nunthorpe field

Golden Pal heads 15 declarations for Friday’s Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes at York.

Wes Ward’s American raider will be ridden by Frankie Dettori as he goes for gold on the Knavesmire after winning a Grade Three event at Saratoga on his first start in 2021.

His main rival on the betting is Suesa, who represents French trainer Francois Rohaut.

Suesa was impressive at Goodwood
Suesa was impressive at Goodwood (John Walton/PA)

The filly could finish only eighth on her first trip to Britain for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, but she bounced back to form with an impressive victory in the King George Stakes at Goodwood.

Suesa beat Dragon Symbol by three lengths that day and Archie Watson’s three-year-old will again be in opposition on the Knavesmire.

Arecibo (fourth), Liberty Beach (10th) and Ubettabelieveit (13th) will also take on Suesa again.

Last year’s second Que Amoro is one of two for Michael Dods along with Dakota Gold while 2020 third-placed runner Moss Gill will take his chance for Ed Bethell.

Winter Power is another leading contender for Tim Easterby, with Eve Johnson Houghton’s Chipotle the only juvenile challenger.

Emaraaty Ana, Bedford Flyer, Chil Chil and Rohaan complete the line up.

Stradivarius faces Trueshan in the Lonsdale Cup
Stradivarius faces Trueshan in the Lonsdale Cup (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Stradivarius faces an exciting showdown with Trueshan in the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup Stakes.

John and Thady Gosden’s star stayer was last seen when only fourth in the Ascot Gold Cup, with testing conditions ruling him out of the Goodwood Cup, which was then claimed by the Alan King-trained Trueshan.

Trueshan will, however, only run if King feels the ground is suitable.

“I’ve declared him on good ground and if it stays good he’ll probably run, but if it gets quick at York I’d probably take him out,” he said.

“I know it looks unlikely, but he’s fit and ready to go and we’d look awfully stupid if we didn’t declare and they got rain. I don’t see any rain coming, but things can change so quickly and so I felt I had to. We’ll make a decision nearer the time.”

Spanish Mission, Stratum and The Grand Visir make up a five-strong field.

Berkshire Shadow won the Coventry at Ascot
Berkshire Shadow won the Coventry at Ascot (Steven Paston/PA)

Berkshire Shadow bids to bounce back from a surprise defeat at Goodwood in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack Stakes.

Andrew Balding’s charge won the Coventry at Royal Ascot but could not follow up in the Vintage Stakes, where Angel Bleu proved three-quarters of a length too good.

Richard Hannon skipped the Goodwood event with July Stakes hero Lusail due to unsuitable ground but features among 11 declarations.

Fearby, Vintage Clarets, Orazio and Eldrickjones are other key names.

Dettori makes York trip for Golden Pal spin

Frankie Dettori flew to York by helicopter on Tuesday morning to partner his Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes mount Golden Pal in a gentle exercise on the Knavesmire.

Wesley Ward’s speedster was narrowly beaten at Royal Ascot last year, before winning in style at the Breeders’ Cup.

Dettori was at pains to keep a lid on Golden Pal as his Coolmore-owned mount has a tendency to want to get things done as a matter of haste, but with the ground expected to be in his favour, the Italian could not have been happier.

“I spoke to Wesley a couple of weeks ago and he wanted me to come today to get a feel of the horse,” Dettori told Racing TV.

“We didn’t want to do too much today, just get acquainted with the straight course. He only has two speeds, slow and flat out, and I didn’t want to leave his race (behind) this morning.

“I was very pleased, he moved like a gazelle and the ground is actually beautiful, so it’s all systems go.

“I was watching the video of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year and the speed that he has is unbelievable, I’m really looking forward to it.

“The ground is good, they’ve had 0.8 millimetres overnight which is nothing and I expect by Friday it will be good to firm and that is what we need.”

With the first two big Flat meetings of the season at Ascot and Goodwood suffering mixed fortunes with the weather, conditions look set fair in Yorkshire.

“At the start of Ascot the ground was good, but by Friday and Saturday it was a disaster and then Goodwood went the same way. Fingers crossed it looks like being a great week,” Dettori added.

“I’ve had some amazing times here, five Juddmontes, the Enable stories in the Yorkshire Oaks – it’s great. The Yorkshire crowd are big racing fans, they get behind you and create a good atmosphere.”

Frankie Dettori celebrates on Lady Aurelia only to find out he had been pipped by Marsha
Frankie Dettori celebrates on Lady Aurelia only to find out he had been pipped by Marsha (Simon Cooper/PA)

Dettori and Ward do have a score to settle in the Nunthorpe, however. In 2017 Dettori raised his arm in celebration on crossing the line on Lady Aurelia, believing he had won when he had in fact been beaten by Marsha, with commentator Richard Hoiles saying: “”Frankie punches the air – he’s sure, I’m not.”

“He was right!” said Dettori.

“It was terrible, so close and beaten by a nose – it left a sour taste in the mouth, but we’ll try again.”

Dettori will also be bidding for a third Lonsdale Cup on Stradivarius.

“It’s a shame he didn’t run at Goodwood because of the ground. I felt we didn’t get the rub of the green in the Gold Cup. I’m not saying we’d have beaten the winner but we could have finished closer,” he said.

“He knows his way around here, though, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Suesa and Golden Pal headline Nunthorpe confirmations

French speedster Suesa and American ace Golden Pal head 17 six-day confirmations for the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes at York on Friday.

The Wesley Ward-trained Golden Pal impressed when making all on his seasonal debut at Saratoga last month, while Francois Rohaut’s Suesa was a convincing winner of the King George Qatar Stakes at Goodwood.

Dragon Symbol, who was runner-up that day, has been left in by Archie Watson. Others in the mix include Tim Easterby’s dual course and distance winner Winter Power, David Evans’ Rohaan, and Robert Cowell’s Arecibo, who was second in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

There are also two juveniles in the list – Kevin Ryan’s Boonie and Eve Johnson Houghton’s Windsor Castle scorer Chipotle.

Legendary stayer Stradivarius headlines 12 possibles for the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup.

The seven-year-old took this Group Two prize in 2018 and 2019 and will be trying to get back on track after only finishing fourth in his attempt to win a fourth Gold Cup in a row at Royal Ascot.

Opposition could include Goodwood Cup winner Trueshan for Alan King, the Andrew Balding-trained Spanish Mission, Roger Varian’s Fujaira Prince and Tony Mullins’ Group One-winning mare Princess Zoe.

The six-year-old chased home Subjectivist in the Ascot Gold Cup and was in action on Friday when runner-up to Twilight Payment in the Irish St Leger Trial at the Curragh.

Berkshire Shadow is among 14 remaining in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack Stakes.

Andrew Balding’s Coventry Stakes victor drops back to six furlongs after finishing second in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.

Richard Hannon has three smart types in July Stakes scorer Lusail, Molecomb winner Armor and Richmond runner-up Gubbass.

Michael O’Callaghan’s Twilight Jet is the sole Irish acceptor.

Suesa and Golden Pal heading for Nunthorpe showdown

French filly Suesa and American speedball Golden Pal are set for a mouthwatering clash in the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes at York on Friday week.

Francois Rohaut’s Suesa looked every inch a top-class sprinter in the making after landing successive Group Three prize at Chantilly in the spring, but disappointed when favourite for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

However, she put that effort behind her with a thoroughly impressive display in the King George Stakes at Goodwood last month – a performance which delighted her trainer.

Rohaut said: “It was fantastic. We didn’t expect such a nice win.

“She showed that day that she’s a top-class filly. The going was perfect for her – and the strong pace.”

Suesa is currently completing her preparations for the £400,000 Nunthorpe in Deauville before crossing the Channel.

“The filly is OK, so the plan is to come (to York). It’s very exciting and we are very happy to be in this race,” Rohaut added.

Suesa returns to the Goodwood winner's enclosure under William Buick
Suesa returns to the Goodwood winner’s enclosure under William Buick (John Walton/PA)

“She had a good canter on Tuesday in Deauville where she’s staying. Everything is OK. I am very happy with her.

“I walked her (on Wednesday afternoon) and she was jumping everywhere and was very fresh and happy to be in Deauville.

“I hope she’ll be happy to go and to be in York.”

Suesa disputes favouritism with Wesley Ward’s Golden Pal, who made a successful start to his campaign in a Grade Three at Saratoga in July.

The three-year-old is due to arrive in York on Friday, and Ward hopes he can provide him with a first Nunthorpe success, having previously saddled both Acapulco and Lady Aurelia to finish second in the prestigious contest.

Of Golden Pal, Ward – who plans to fly in for the race – said: “He’s bigger, stronger, faster. I think we’re in good shape.

“He breezed on the grass at Keeneland (on Wednesday) – a really nice workout, a final piece of fast work.

“We’re ready to go. Everything’s going to plan.

“This time we’re hoping to get lucky!”

All systems go for Golden Pal’s Nunthorpe mission

Wesley Ward reports star sprinter Golden Pal to be firing on all cylinders ahead of an intended tilt at the Nunthorpe Stakes at York.

Last season’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint winner made a spectacular return to action in the Grade Three Quick Call Stakes at Saratoga last month and Ward has now given the green light to a trip to the Knavesmire, with Frankie Dettori in line for the ride.

He said: “He had an unbelievable breeze on Saturday at Arlington Park and we’re headed for the Nunthorpe.

“Straight after his last race we really didn’t know what direction we were going. There was the option of waiting a couple more weeks for the Flying Five (at the Curragh), but he’s doing great and he’s scheduled to leave on August 13.

“I had a talk with Paul Shanahan (of Coolmore) and he had a talk with Mr Magnier, Mr Smith and Mr Tabor (owners). The Nunthorpe is kind of a stallion-maker race and carries a lot of weight at this time of year.

“He’s got a direct flight from Indianapolis to Stansted and then off we’ll go.

“Frankie is going to ride and we’re excited.”

Golden Pal’s task at York has, on paper at least, been made easier by the retirement of dual Nunthorpe hero Battaash, a horse Ward admits he is full of admiration for.

He added: “It’s always a shame for racing every time a great old warrior like that is retired.

“I have certainly been a big fan of his and have watched him for all these years. He got a big following, so any time the curtain is pulled down it’s never good for racing.

“I wouldn’t want to be taking him on when he’s breathing fire, that’s for sure!”

Ward eyes Nunthorpe or Flying Five for Golden Pal

Golden Pal will be trained for either the Nunthorpe at York or the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh following his spectacular return to action in America.

Narrowly denied by The Lir Jet in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot last summer, Wesley Ward’s speedball went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Keeneland in November – putting a return to the Royal meeting on his prospective agenda this summer.

An early-season setback prevented Golden Pal from lining up in the King’s Stand last month – but having looked better than ever in making a successful comeback in the Grade Three Quick Call Stakes at Saratoga on Thursday, another trip to Europe is back on.

Asked whether he felt Golden Pal could be the best horse he has trained, Ward said: “He’s a couple more things to do, but I think he’s on course – I’m really excited.

“Yesterday’s race was five and a half, and the competition wasn’t at the same level as what he would face in the Nunthorpe, but if you shorten that up a 16th of a mile (half a furlong), I think he could run with anything I’ve ever trained.

“Over five furlongs, he’s a killer. He’s just so quick and agile, and mentally he’s really coming around, more so this year than last year.

“He’s always been able to run, but now the rider can contain him – and when he asks for that little burst, very few horses I’ve had have been able to do that.”

Ward would love to settle a score in the Nunthorpe on August 20, having trained both Acapulco and Lady Aurelia to finish second in the Group One feature on the Knavesmire.

But the Washington-born trainer may yet wait for the Flying Five if he feels Golden Pal needs an extra couple of weeks to recover from his exertions.

He told the PA news agency: “The Nunthorpe has eluded me, but hopefully we’ll get it done this year!

“We’ve been having massive rainstorms over here, so there was quite a bit of give in the ground yesterday. He handled the ground well at Ascot last year as well, so he’s got no issues with the ground being a little soft.

“The only issue would be, while he pulled up really good and sound (after Thursday’s race), we’ll see how his energy levels are in his works here in the next couple of weeks – and whether it warrants giving him an extra bit of time for the Flying Five.

“One of those two races is what he’ll be in.”

Another Ward-trained star being prepared for a repeat trans-Atlantic mission is dual Royal Ascot heroine Campanelle.

Campanelle (left) and Dragon Symbol fight out the finish to the Commonwealth Cup
Campanelle (left) and Dragon Symbol fight out the finish to the Commonwealth Cup (David Davies/PA)

Winner of the Commonwealth Cup in the stewards’ room last month, the Kodiac filly’s next appearance is likely to be in France.

“We’re doing really well with her,” he said.

“She had a breeze on the dirt for the first time since I’ve had her last week, and we’re asking the powers that be for a breeze on the grass at Keeneland this week.

“She’s on target for the Maurice de Gheest at Deauville (August 8) and leaves here on July 31.

“Like Golden Pal, she has no issues with softer ground. In fact, it might be better if it rains a little.”

Setback means Ward speedster Golden Pal to miss Royal Ascot

Wesley Ward hopes to have star sprinter Golden Pal back to his best in time for the Coolmore Nunthorpe after being forced to rule him out of an intended appearance at Royal Ascot.

Narrowly beaten by The Lir Jet when runner-up in the Norfolk Stakes at the Royal meeting in June, the son of Uncle Mo went one better in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at his trainer’s home track of Keeneland in November.

Ward had hoped to give the three-year-old a prep run this spring before returning to Ascot for the King’s Stand – but Golden Pal will not be back until later in the season after suffering a minor setback.

“It’s disappointing as we were so excited for the King’s Stand, but you know how these fast horses are and we’re happy to have him bounce back,” said the Washington-born trainer.

“He’s good again now and should have his first start (of the year) around Ascot time (in America).”

Having saddled both Acapulco and Lady Aurelia to finish second in the Nunthorpe at York, Ward has everything crossed Golden Pal can break his duck in August, adding: “I’ve had too many seconds in that race – I’ve got to get one!”

While Golden Pal is not Royal Ascot-bound, Ward is preparing another strong team for the showpiece meeting.

Campanelle on her way to winning the Queen Mary Stakes
Campanelle on her way to winning the Queen Mary Stakes (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Campanelle, who provided her trainer with a fourth win in the Queen Mary Stakes last year, is being readied to take on the colts in the Commonwealth Cup this time around.

Her stablemate Kimari was second in the Commonwealth Cup last season – and could this season contest the Diamond Jubilee, having won twice in her homeland already in 2021.

“Campanelle was going to run at Keeneland last week, but she just wasn’t quite right on the day,” Ward said.

“There’s a race in May we can use as her prep and then we’ll be ready for Ascot.

“I need to talk to the owners of Kimari, but she’d be another possible to travel over.”

Another potentially fascinating addition to Ward’s Ascot squad is Like The King, who impressed in the Grade Three Jeff Ruby Stakes at Turfway Park last month.

However, his first target is to provide a trainer more renowned for training sprinters with victory in the Kentucky Derby on May 1 – a race for which Like The King sits fourth on the points leaderboard after the completion of the qualifying races.

Ward said: “He’ll have his next two works on the dirt, this weekend and next weekend, because he’s 100 per cent heading for the Derby.

“He could possibly be a Royal Ascot starter as well, though. I’ve always wanted to have a runner/winner in the St James’s Palace and we worked this guy on the grass last week and he had an ultra-impressive turf work.

“We’ll see how his next two works are on the dirt and how he runs in the Derby, but he’s a big, rangy colt and the St James’s Palace would be a great race for him.”

Ward is still in the early stages of assembling his team of Royal Ascot two-year-olds, with the juvenile turf races at Keeneland not getting under way until next week.

But he enjoyed a double on the dirt on Thursday, with Averly Jane already on the shortlist for a trip across the Atlantic following a scintillating display.

“Averly Jane was very, very impressive. She kind of geared down and won in the fastest time of the meet,” said Ward.

“She had only had three fast works in her lifetime before she ran, which is what made it so impressive – there’s going to be a big upside with her, I think.

“I spoke with the owners and she would be one we’re targeting at the Albany Stakes at Ascot as it looks like she’ll go a bit further.

“We have the first turf races for the two-year-old next week – Thursday for the fillies and Friday for the colts.

“We hope we have a couple of other nice ones to run then.”

Ward has Royal Ascot ambitions for Campanelle and Golden Pal

Wesley Ward is lining up a high-profile assault on two of the sprint features at Royal Ascot, with the sights of both Campanelle and Golden Pal set on the headline meeting in June.

Campanelle is being aimed at the Commonwealth Cup following a fruitful juvenile campaign that saw her win the Queen Mary Stakes at the Royal meeting, before going on to lift the Group One Prix Morny in France later in the summer.

She had to settle for fourth on her final start of 2020 upped to a mile at the Breeders’ Cup meeting, and Ward expects her main target to be the Commonwealth Cup back over six furlongs rather than either the English or Irish 1000 Guineas, for which she holds an entry.

Frankie Dettori celebrates after Campanelle's win last year
Frankie Dettori celebrates after Campanelle’s win last year (Edward Whitaker/PA)

He said: “Barbara (Banke, owner of Stonestreet Stables) is really keen on Ascot and I think six furlongs – and that’s a stiff six at Ascot for the Commonwealth – with a little weight break for being a filly, that will be our main target.

“I’m kind of working from that race backwards – the Guineas really don’t come into play right now unless when she’s at the farm, the team gets together and decides to go in another direction.

“Our main goal would be the Commonwealth. Barbara and her whole team are really looking forward to getting back (to Royal Ascot). She worked last week for the first time at Barbara’s farm at Ocala and she looked like she’s ready to go, so we’re all excited.”

Lady Aurelia won the King's Stand for Ward in 2016
Lady Aurelia won the King’s Stand for Ward in 2016 (David Davies/PA)

Campanelle is one of the three top-rated fillies in Europe last year, with Ward’s star being given a mark of 113 along with Fillies’ Mile winner Pretty Gorgeous and Shale, who was victorious in the Moyglare Stud Stakes.

Ward was previously responsible for a top-rated filly in Lady Aurelia, who also won the Queen Mary and Morny before returning to Ascot to lift the King’s Stand Stakes the following year.

While Ward compares the two favourably, he believes Campanelle will shine over further than five furlongs.

Speaking via Zoom at the British Horseracing Authority’s two-year-old classifications press conference, he added: “They’re similar in their accomplishments, but I still believe Campanelle will stretch out a little bit – she’s a bigger, scopier filly and she will go a little further, that’s why we tried her at a mile at the Breeders’ Cup.

“I think it was a case of it was the end of the year, she had a long season whereas Lady Aurelia was beaten in the Cheveley Park over six and we found out she was better at five. This filly was going a mile and I just think it was just a long, long season.”

The Lir Jet (left) was a shade too good for Golden Pal last year
The Lir Jet (left) was a shade too good for Golden Pal last year (Julian Finney/PA)

Golden Pal also ran at the Royal fixture, being edged out by neck by The Lir Jet in the Norfolk Stakes, and he is also on course to return.

The Uncle Mo colt went on to win the Juvenile Turf Sprint at the Breeders’ Cup meeting and Ward has high hopes he can emulate Lady Aurelia.

He said: “We’re really excited about this guy. He will come back opening day at Keeneland, which is April 1. Every year they have a straight, three-year-old, $100-$150,000 stakes race over five and a half furlongs and that will crack off the season for him.

“He’s doing fantastic – he came out of the Breeders’ Cup in great shape and we’re going to try the same route we did with Lady Aurelia and go to the King’s Stand with him. I think the five should see him right between the ears there.

“He’s grown in height and he’s broadening out – he’s a really beautiful colt right now. I think he’s going to be a tremendous sprinter this year.”

Battaash and Golden Pal are on course to clash at Royal Ascot
Battaash and Golden Pal are on course to clash at Royal Ascot (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Reigning champion Battaash is due to kick off his campaign with a King’s Stand defence – and Ward would relish a clash between the two speedsters.

He said: “I’m a big fan of that horse. We’re excited to come back over, it’s always tough to come to the home court where he has the advantage.

“The Nunthorpe has eluded me and that will almost be the main goal for this guy. We’re going back to the King’s Stand (first), but as the summer progresses the three-year-olds catch up to the four-year-olds and I’m really looking forward to that race at York.

“This guy (Golden Pal) has proven he can go on all types of ground – he’s a very exciting sprinter, one of the best I’ve ever trained and hopefully could be the best with the accomplishments we’ve set out for him this spring, summer and hopefully culminating in the fall.

“He’s a really, really exciting horse to train, so we’re looking forward to it. Battaash is a very worthy opponent. The years are hopefully behind him, but I’m a big fan of his and when you get these good sprinters matched together, it just brings excitement to everyone involved in racing.”

Wesley Ward is hoping to make it to Ascot this year
Wesley Ward is hoping to make it to Ascot this year (Julian Herbert/PA)

While Ward had runners at Ascot last year, the Covid-19 pandemic meant travel for all but essential staff was not possible and the meeting was run behind closed doors.

However, he is hoping the situation will improve this year, allowing his family to make the journey to Ascot.

He added: “It’s not only for me, but my kids really look forward to coming there each and every year, they’ve been coming for over a decade now, so that’s a big mark in the calendar they look forward to.

“My oldest son has been coming since he was nine and he has a lot of friends over in Europe and England, so we’re looking forward to it hopefully opening up this year.”

King’s Stand goal for Breeders’ Cup hero Golden Pal

Wesley Ward will target the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot next summer with Golden Pal following his sensational display at the Breeders’ Cup.

Mowed down late by Michael Bell’s The Lir Jet in the Norfolk Stakes on his first visit to Britain earlier this year, the Uncle Mo colt made a successful return to his homeland at Saratoga in September before blitzing his rivals in the Juvenile Turf Sprint at Keeneland.

While Golden Pal has the option of running against his own age group in the six-furlong Commonwealth Cup at the Royal meeting in June, Ward views the King’s Stand over five furlongs as a more suitable target.

“We’re really excited about bringing Golden Pal back to Royal Ascot. It was a great day at Keeneland and we’re really looking forward to 2021,” said the Washington-born trainer.

“We’re working from the King’s Stand backwards. I think we’ll go for the Commonwealth Cup with Campanelle and let the colt run against the older horses in the five-furlong race.”

Campanelle won the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot four months ago before claiming Group One glory in France in the Prix Morny.

Campanelle won the Queen Mary under Frankie Dettori
Campanelle won the Queen Mary under Frankie Dettori (Julian Finney/PA)

The daughter of Kodiac was well fancied to double her top-level tally in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, but had to make do with minor honours in fourth behind the hugely-impressive Aunt Pearl and the Irish pair of Mother Earth and Miss Amulet.

Ward added: “I think it was maybe the end of the long season for her. We got her back home early after Deauville and prepared for the race, but there was a lot of training involved.

“I don’t want to take anything away from the winner, because she ran great.

“We’re already looking forward to Royal Ascot next year with Campanelle, too.”

Golden Pal scorches to Juvenile Turf Sprint success

Royal Ascot runner-up Golden Pal dominated from the front in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Keeneland.

Mowed down late by Michael Bell’s The Lir Jet in the Norfolk Stakes in June, the Uncle Mo colt had since blitzed his rivals in a stakes race at Saratoga after connections abandoned plans to return to Britain for a tilt at the Nunthorpe at York.

With Irad Ortiz Jr in the saddle, Golden Pal was the red-hot favourite to provide trainer Wesley Ward with back-to-back in the Grade Two contest following the victory of Four Wheel Drive 12 months ago – and the result was scarcely in doubt.

Ward’s charge made a rapid start from his wide berth, enabling him to cross the field and take an early lead.

Ortiz Jr briefly took his mount back, before giving him his head before the home turn and he quickly put clear daylight between himself and his rivals.

His advantage was being eroded late on, but Golden Pal was ultimately well on top at the line, with Cowan a fast-finishing second.

Nigel Tinkler’s Flying Childers winner Ubettabelieveit fared best of the European raiding party in third after blowing the start.

Ward said: “He’s just amazing. I got a little worried on the backside when Irad took a hold of him as he lost a little momentum, but then he just accelerated down the lane and he’s a champion colt.

“When he showed a bit of acceleration passing the quarter-pole I knew we were OK, although I got a little worried in the last part. I was hugging my son, but we got there!

“Royal Ascot here we come – we’re going to get it this year!”

Winning owner-breeder Randy Lowe was a proud man – and outlined big plans for next year.

He said: “I bred him out of my mare Lady Shipman and right from the moment he was born and put his chin in the palm of my hand I knew he was going to be special.

“Winning a race at the Breeders’ Cup has been my ambition for 35 years so this is one of the greatest days of my life.

“I named him Golden Pal after my mentor John C Mabee, whose best horse was Best Pal.

“Regarding Wesley, he has chased me for a few years to send him one and because he liked this horse so much, I thought let’s let him have a try.”

He added: “In the race Irad tried to pull him back because we’d spent a lot of time teaching to rate, but then he let out a notch (of rein) and he was in control.

“Owing to the Covid restrictions we were unable to go to Royal Ascot to see him run, so we threw a breakfast party in the Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas. I remember as we watched the race develop I couldn’t believe it when he got caught.

“I think the plan will be to rest him and then bring him back here at Keeneland in early April, but the big plans are the King’s Stand Stakes, the Nunthorpe and the Breeders’ Cup again next year.”

Coral make Golden Pal the 9-2 favourite for the King’s Stand, ahead of Battaash at 5-1.

Ubettabelieveit ran an excellent race in defeat
Ubettabelieveit ran an excellent race in defeat (Francesca Altoft/PA)

Tinkler was delighted with the performance of Ubettabelieveit, saying: “We put ear plugs on him so he wouldn’t hear the bell so loud and obviously he fell out of the stalls, but it probably helped him in some ways because he got a good run through.

“We’re obviously delighted with him and I thought the jockey (Rowan Scott) gave him a great ride.

“He probably didn’t quite get the trip – he’s a five-furlong horse, it was five-and-a-half today and in the last 50 yards he just got a little bit tired, but we’re very pleased.

“We know he’s a very good horse and we’re fortunate to have him. We’ll look forward to next season and he’ll have a good break now.”

Hollie Doyle was out of the places on the Archie Watson-trained Mighty Gurkha, on what was her first Breeders’ Cup ride.

She said: “He jumped well, but we hit a flat spot and lost our position and then he couldn’t quicken in the straight. It’s been a great experience and I’ve loved every minute here.”

Vequist claimed top honours in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies for trainer ‘Butch’ Reid and jockey Joel Rosario.

The previously unbeaten Dayoutoftheoffice made much of the running and had most of her rivals in trouble at the top of the home straight.

However, she was unable to resist the late surge of Vequist – who had been unlucky when second to Dayoutoftheoffice last time out – against the far rail.

Joel Rosario celebrates aboard Vequist
Joel Rosario celebrates aboard Vequist (Michael Conroy/AP)

Reid said: “It was her first time going round two turns, but she is a super filly with very good speed.

“She can click off 12-second eighths (of a mile) almost endlessly and we knew she was doing very well coming into this.

“She was actually sold and the new owners Gary Barber and Tom McGrath chose to stay with me, which is something that doesn’t happen very often.

“It’s sensational.”

Barber said: “Oh my God, this is just awesome! There’s nothing like this in any sport and I’m a huge sports fan. Joel, well what can you say – what a ride. I hope we have a champion filly for next year.

“We were adamant we would keep her with Butch.”

Ward plots direct route to Breeders’ Cup for Campanelle

Campanelle will head straight to the Breeders’ Cup after connections decided against a tilt at next weekend’s Cheveley Park Stakes.

Having provided Wesley Ward with a fourth success in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot, the daughter of Kodiac successfully graduated to Group One level in last month’s Prix Morny at Deauville – a third win in the race for the ebullient American after No Nay Never and Lady Aurelia.

A tilt at the Cheveley Park at Newmarket on Saturday week was under serious consideration, but Ward is keen to keep his powder dry for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf on November 6.

Ward said: “Campanelle seems in very good shape and she’s having her first breeze since Frankie (Dettori) steered her to success in France on Saturday.

“We took her out of the Cheveley Park. I just felt I’d like to keep her under my thumb a little bit before going to the Breeders’ Cup.

“She’s done everything we’ve asked of her – she’s three from three. We were struggling to find a turf maiden for her, eventually we did at Gulfstream and it was only 20 days between that race and the Queen Mary.

“With the shipping as well, I would never usually run them back that quick, so for her to go and win at Royal Ascot showed she’s a super good filly and then she won much more impressively at Deauville after a good spacing since Ascot.

“I think this filly could be something really special and I don’t want to ship her over and back again before the Breeders’ Cup.

“By keeping her here, we have a good couple of months to make sure she’s at her very best.”

Campanelle is likely to spearhead a strong Breeders’ Cup team for Ward, with the showpiece meeting this year taking place at the trainer’s home track of Keeneland.

Golden Pal (right) was touched off by The Lir Jet at Royal Ascot
Golden Pal (right) was touched off by The Lir Jet at Royal Ascot (Julian Finney/PA)

Another leading contender for the team is Golden Pal, who was narrowly beaten by Michael Bell’s The Lir Jet in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The Uncle Mo colt was in line for a tilt at the Nunthorpe at York, but he instead remained in America and has since bolted up in a Stakes race at Saratoga. The Juvenile Turf Sprint is his Breeders’ Cup target.

“He’ll breeze on Saturday as well. It was a shame we couldn’t come over for York, but he’s a super quick horse, as he showed in his last race at Saratoga,” Ward added.

“The Breeders’ Cup race for him is over five and a half (furlongs). He’d prefer five as he has so much speed, but it’s his home track and I still think he’s going to be tough (to beat).”