Trainer Wesley Ward has landed and looks locked and loaded for another strong showing at Royal Ascot, the five-day race meet getting underway on Tuesday, June 15.
Ward will send out nine contenders over the five days of racing including seven juveniles looking to expand on the 11 winners he has saddled at the prestigious race meeting.
The first to hit the Ascot racecourse will be Kaufymaker, who will take on the boys in the Coventry Stakes (G2) going six furlongs, the second race of the meeting.
Kaufymaker broke her maiden by 6 ¼ lengths on the main track at Keeneland on April 15 with Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez in the irons. She paid $4.00 to win.
The filly is currently the early favorite for the Coventry between odds of 3-1 and 7-2.
Kaufymaker (Front) Golden Bell (Back) Work on May 21
Ward will saddle Maven in Tuesday’s King’s Stand Stakes (G1) at five furlongs for three-year-olds and upward, the third race on the card.
The son of American Pharoah has won four of his seven career starts and has a pair of starts overseas. He won the 2019 Connolly’s Redmills Prix du Bois (G3) in his second career start and was 10th in the Molecomb Stakes (G3) at Goodwood.
In his most recent start the colt beat Alw-3 company by 2 ¾ lengths going gate to wire at 5 ½ furlongs on turf at Keeneland on April 15. He earned a career best 104 Beyer Speed Figure in the win.
The colt is currently listed at odds between 9-1 and 12-1 in Ante-Post wagering overseas.
Wesley Ward Royal Ascot Contenders
On Wednesday we will see Twilight Gleaming in the Queen Mary Stakes (G2). She is the current second choice in early wagering and can be had between 3-1 and 5-1.
She broke her maiden at Belmont Park in her second career start on May 9 going five furlongs, taking the field gate to wire and winning by 7 ½ lengths. The third-place finisher in that race was Constitutional Gal, who returned to run third in the Astoria in her next outing.
Ward will saddle Ruthin and Napa Spirit in the Windsor Castle on Wednesday. The filly Ruthin broke her maiden in her debut at Keeneland going 4 ½ furlongs on April 22. Napa Spirit did the same the following day at Keeneland.
Ward will saddle two in Thursday’s Norfolk Stakes (G2)—Lucci and Nakatomi. Ward has won the race twice, with No Nay Never in 2013 and Shang Shang Shang in 2018.
Lucci broke his maiden in his debut at Belmont Park going five furlongs, taking the field gate to wire while beating just three foes. The colt is the early favorite at odds of between 4-1 and 5-1.
Nakatomi broke his maiden at Keeneland in his debut on April 14. The runner up in that race was Happy Soul, who came back to break his maiden in his next start by 11 ¾ lengths and then won the Astoria by 11 ½ lengths in his most recent outing. The gelding is the current third choice in early wagering for the race at 8-1.
Ward will send out Golden Bell in the Albany Stakes (G2), the opener on Friday card. The filly broke her maiden at Keeneland in her debut on April 22. The runner up Cartel Queen returned to break her maiden in her next start at Churchill Downs on May 20. Golden Bell is listed at odds of 12-1 in early wagering for the race.
Golden Bell (inside), Ruthin (outside) Work at Keeneland May 28
Campanelle goes in Friday’s Commonwealth Cup (G1) at six furlongs. She won the Queen Mary Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot last year and followed that up by winning the Darley Prix Morny (G1) at Deauville. She capped off her year by running fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).
The filly is one of the main contenders at 5-1. Suesa is 11-2 and Golden Pak is listed at 6-1.
Velazquez will be aboard six of Ward’s nine starters. The exceptions are Campanelle and Napa Spirit who will be ridden by Frankie Dettori and Oisin Murphy has the call on Nakatomi.
The NBC Sports Network will cover the action from Royal Ascot on Tuesday through Friday with NBC televising the races on Saturday.