Tag Archive for: Pizza Bianca

Pizza Bianca poised to set up Royal Ascot adventure

Christophe Clement is hoping his Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Pizza Bianca can book her Royal Ascot ticket when she runs at Pimlico on Preakness weekend later this month.

The Del Mar scorer holds an entry in the Coronation Stakes at the showpiece summer meeting, and while beaten on her three-year-old reappearance in Aqueduct’s Listed Memories of Silver Stakes she nevertheless ran a race full of promise.

The three-quarter-length winner of that $100,000 event was Chad Brown’s Consumer Spending, who was beaten by Pizza Bianca at the Breeders’ Cup, and Clement reports his filly to be working well ahead of her next run.

The New York-based trainer told PA Media: “She is very well, she will have two works now, one on the grass this weekend and another next week and then we’ll run her over here in a mile Stakes race at Pimlico on the weekend of the Preakness. As long as she runs well and we’re happy with the performance, we plan on bringing her over to England.”

Pizza Bianca accounted for many of the best fillies in Europe during her Del Mar victory and her Paris-born handler is delighted to see that form is being franked at all angles this season – not least in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.

“The form from Del Mar is working out very well, I’m delighted that the young George Boughey won the 1000 Guineas and it is all very exciting to see how the fillies develop from two to three,” Clement continued.

Pizza Bianca is a popular horse in America thanks to her owner-breeder Bobby Flay, the US celebrity chef, who served on the Breeders’ Cup board of directors from 2014 to 2018.

Flay’s passion for racing is one of the key reasons Pizza Bianca is making her transatlantic crossing for the Royal meeting and Clement said the owner would play a hands-on role in finalising running plans for his daughter of Fastnet Rock.

“He’s the main reason Pizza Bianca is coming to England! He will be very involved in making the final decision and Bobby Flay is a great, great racing enthusiast and very popular in America, he is a famous chef over here. It is great for racing and makes racing more popular,” explained Clement.

Clement also revealed he plans to run one of his three entries for the Commonwealth Cup, with Slipstream favourite to make the final line-up at this stage. The three-year-old has won three of his six starts and got the better of last year’s Queen Mary runner-up Twilight Gleaming when last sighted in Listed company at Keeneland.

Clement said: “We have three horses entered for the Commonwealth Cup and we intend on sending one of them over. Most possibly it will be a colt called Slipstream, who won his last race very impressively.”

Golden Pal primed to lead Ward’s Royal Ascot team

Golden Pal is set to return to British turf as Wesley Ward hopes he can lead the American contingent at Royal Ascot.

The four-year-old has won already this season, taking the Grade Two Shakertown Stakes at Keeneland by an impressive four and three-quarter lengths on April 9.

The performance has left Ward expecting big things from the sprinter when he joins a team of horses for the trainer’s regular pilgrimage to the Royal meeting in June.

“Golden Pal is doing great, he really is. I have been singing this horse’s praises for a couple of years now and the only thing he hasn’t done yet is win on your patch. Hopefully, he can get it done!” Ward said of the King’s Stand Stakes entrant.

“It was a powerful performance from him in the Shakertown – but it was a comeback and I really think his next run is going to be something special. He is a once in a lifetime horse – certainly the best I have ever had – and I think he will stamp that with his performance at Ascot if he runs like I am expecting him to.

Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival 2021 – Coolmore Nunthorpe Day – York Racecourse
Golden Pal (right) in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York (Nigel French/PA)

“Physically, he is an awesome specimen now and mentally he is really coming into his own. I am just so excited to get him back over there.”

Another Ward runner set to head to Berkshire in summer is Platinum Jubilee contender Campanelle, twice a Royal meeting winner having landed the Queen Mary in 2020 and last year’s Commonwealth Cup, albeit awarded the latter race in the stewards’ room.

“Barbara Banke (owner) and her team are so excited to get Campanelle back over there. She had a strong performance on her comeback win at Keeneland the other day. If you watch that race against some of the fastest fillies in the country, what she did was pretty impressive,” said Ward.

Campanelle winning the Queen Mary Stakes
Campanelle winning the Queen Mary Stakes (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“Between her and Golden Pal, I think we are going in with some big chances. They are running in races that I have won before and I really feel this pair are coming into their respective races as good, if not better, than my previous winners.”

Ward has enjoyed 12 winners at the Royal meeting, eight of whom were juveniles, and the trainer is hopeful that he will be well-represented in two-year-old contests again this year.

“We have our first grass maidens for two-year-olds in the US at Keeneland this week,” he said.

“Then there are maidens at Churchill Downs and Belmont Park as well. I will have runners across those races and how they get on will determine who travels.”

Another States-based trainer eyeing Ascot is Christophe Clement, who was a handful of entries made for his stable stars.

Pizza Bianca, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, has thrown her hat in the Coronation Stakes ring, while Slipstream, Derrynane and Big Invasion are all pencilled in for the Commonwealth Cup.

“All options are open for Pizza Bianca after her second at Aqueduct last weekend. I am yet to have a discussion with the owner and suspect we will make a decision in the next two or three weeks,” said Clement.

“We have a great programme here now for three-year-old fillies on the grass, in particular the New York Triple Crown. I am very happy to keep her here for that but if the owner wants to go to Ascot, then I am very happy to do that as well if we think she will be competitive.

“There is another stakes race in four weeks at Pimlico that she could go for and then from there you can go to Ascot. The filly will tell us what she wants to do but at the moment all options are wide open.”

The Prince of Wales’s Stakes could have a contender from Japan as trainer Hideaki Fujiwara has the race in mind for his Dubai Sheema Classic hero Shahryar.

“It is a great honour for me to have a runner at Royal Ascot in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year,” he said.

“I discussed with the owner (Sunday Racing Co Ltd) about future plans after Shahryar won the Dubai Sheema Classic and we agreed that the next target for Shahryar must be the races with the highest profile in the world.

“I believe the Prince of Wales’s Stakes is the ideal spot for the horse.”

Chris Waller has made entries for top Australian sprinters Nature Strip and Home Affairs, with each horse initially engaged in the Platinum Jubilee and the King’s Stand.

Charlie Duckworth, Waller’s assistant trainer and racing manager, said: “We have nominated both Nature Strip and Home Affairs for the King’s Stand Stakes and the Platinum Jubilee Stakes.

“This is to keep our options open as anything can happen with horses but we should have an exciting Royal Meeting, that is for sure.

“It is phenomenally exciting for Chris to be entrusted in the training of one champion sprinter, but to have two champions in the same year is just incredible.

“Then to be in a position to travel to Royal Ascot, especially in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year, makes it all the more special.”