There aren’t many tracks or events in the world that Wesley Ward loves more than Royal Ascot. The American trainer’s love affair with the biggest flat festival in the United Kingdom started 12 years ago, as he landed his first winner at the illustrious meeting with Strike The Tiger. That first win was quickly followed with a second success in front of Her Majesty, The Queen, as he trained the winner of the Queen Mary Stakes the following day.
Ward is back again this year with a strong team of horses that will be looking to claim wins in some of the most prestigious races. Below, we will go through a few of his leading chances and assess whether they have a chance of landing the win.
Campanelle His Leading Chance
Ward’s best chance of a winner at Royal Ascot this coming week will likely be in the G1 Commonwealth Cup. The race takes place over six furlongs and is part of the British Champions Series. It has already been muted that this race could be used as a stepping stone, with the Darley July Cup a feasible route for Campenelle after Ascot. There are a number of things that we like about her chances, but mainly the fact that Frankie Dettori will be on board.
The legendary jockey has made Ascot his own personal playground throughout his career, as he has scored 43 wins and boasts an impressive 22% success rate at the royal meeting. Campanelle is no stranger to the course at Ascot, as she won the Queen Mary Stakes here last year. On that occasion, she finished three-quarters of a length clear of Sacred. That was backed up with a win in the G1 Darley Prix Morny. She wasn’t disgraced in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf over a mile, but the step back in trip will certainly help. Her main rivals will likely come in the form of French raider Suesa and Dragon Symbol.
Maven Up Against It In King’s Stand
Ward also has an entry in the King’s Stand on the opening day of the festival. Group 1 is run over five furlongs. Maven will be the ride for Ward, and he will be looking to kick on after winning at Keeneland in an allowance over five and a half furlongs last time out. The conditions will certainly suit the four-year-old in this race, but he will be coming up against one of the very best horses in Europe over this distance.
Battaash will be a horse many will be expecting to romp home in the King’s Stand, as the 2020 Cartier Champion Sprinter makes his season return at Ascot. The seven-year-old won this race, as well as the G2 King George and G1 Nunthorpe Stakes last season. There is a slight concern over an injury that he picked up over the winter, but he should have far too much class in this race.
Kaufymaker Looking To Break Ward Duck
Kaufymaker may be the horse that Ward will be hoping wins more than most, as the same stat has been thrown at the American on every visit to the famous track. He is yet to have a winner over six furlongs at the royal meeting, but he has a very good chance in Kaufymaker this year.
She has looked a picture of excellence during training this week and comes into the meeting as one of the most talked-about two-year-olds. She will run in the Coventry Stakes, which is a Group 2 race over the six furlongs. Her only win to date came over four and a half furlongs at Keeneland, but the commanding six and a half-length victory means that she looks ready for this. The ground could be a slight concern, but she looks like the one to beat.