Kentucky-based trainer Wesley Ward, who was the first American-based trainer to win a race at the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting in Great Britain in 2009, is setting his sights once again on that summer meet.
Perhaps topping his list of Ascot hopefuls is the Kentucky-bred 2-year-old filly Lady Pauline, a dominant first-time out winner April 5th at Keeneland. Lady Pauline holds a special place in Ward’s heart, as she is a half-sister to Kentucky-bred Lady Aurelia, who Ward took to Ascot and won the Queen Mary (G1) in 2012 and the King’s Stand S. (G1) the following year.
“I’ve put a plan out there to go to Ascot in May for the race we won with Create A Dream a few years ago,” said Ward of Lady Pauline. “The Stonestreet Stables (owner/breeder) guys will talk it over and decide, but the reason they sent her to me was to race in Ascot.
“I think she’s a very good filly. Her work has been really nice since the start, and I’m excited about her for sure.
“If she doesn’t run in the May race in Ascot I would say it’s doubtful she’ll run before Royal Ascot. There is one race for her in Churchill, but that is on the dirt and I’d be trying to steer them (owners) away from that if we want to go for the Queen Mary.”
Another strong Ascot possibility is Kentucky-bred Nayibeth, also 2, who won first time out at Keeneland on April 17th. She was also bred by Stonestreet, but is owned by Ramon Tallaj.
Other Kentucky-breds Ward has Ascot plans for include Champagne Affair, a WinStar homebred 2-year-old filly; Palace Duchess, another 2-year-old who was third in her Keeneland debut and bred by Denise and David Purvis; and Bound for Nowhere, who was beaten just three-quarters of a length in last year’s Diamond Jubilee (G1) at Ascot. The 5-year-old horse is owned by Ward and was bred by Wayne, Gray & Bryan Lyster.