IF it is Dermot Weld who has changed the travelling habits of European trainers, then Wesley Ward holds the honour of chief U.S. ambassador to Royal Ascot.
It was back in 2009 when he took this meeting by storm, becoming the first Stateside trainer to win at this historic event.
He took the Windsor Castle Stakes with Strike The Tiger and then followed up the next day with Jealous Again in the Queen Mary Stakes.
He then had to wait four years for his next success, when No Nay Never landed the Norfolk Stakes, before following up again in the Windsor Castle 12 months ago with Hootenanny.
This time Ward has assembled the strongest squad he has ever sent over – and his number one hope for the week is ACAPULCO in today’s Queen Mary (3.05pm).
She’s said to have done an electric piece of work at Keeneland last month against her stablemate Bruised Orange who also runs in this. And it has to be significant that Ryan Moore is taking the ride.
I also really like her draw in stall 20. Plenty of fillies have won this race from a low draw in the past, but I always prefer the stands rail in sprints at this course.
She will be playing catch me if you can and I just don’t think any of the other 22 will be able to live with her. There’s always a worry that these American speedballs go off too quickly, yet she has the perfect pilot on board to control the fractions. Take the 5/1 with Unibet.
Besharah and Easton Angel, both unbeaten in two starts, are very much respected. Their draws in three and one respectively put me off, though.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mick Channon’s Kassia go well at around 14/1. She was beaten on debut over course and distance by Besharah before landing her maiden at Sandown last month.
However, she’s another that might just not have the gears to go with Acapulco.
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ACAPULCO 3.05pm Ascot