Trainer Wesley Ward Loaded for Bear for Royal Ascot Meeting. Begins Today

royal ascot paddock

Wesley Ward is delighted to be back in Britain as he saddles another strong team of runners for Royal Ascot [begins today].

It is 12 years since the then little-known American became the first US-based trainer to land a winner at the showpiece meeting, with Strike The Tiger claiming a 33-1 victory in the Windsor Castle. The following day, he sent out Jealous Again to win the Queen Mary Stakes.

The outbreak of coronavirus meant Ward was forced to watch on from his base in Kentucky as Campanelle provided him with a fourth Queen Mary win and an 11th Royal Ascot triumph overall under Frankie Dettori last summer.

But the relaxation of restrictions means the popular handler will be on course this time – and with fast ground forecast, confidence is high that he can add to his tally.

“The sun is shining, and the horses are looking fantastic, so we’re golden at the moment,” said Ward. “The horses have settled in really well and I feel I have a strong squad. They have all proven worthy of bringing over, thanks to the performances back home, and now it is just a question of whether they are good enough. They are certainly going to bring their A-game to the table, although whether that is up to the level of their competition, we are going to find out.”

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Rich Nilsen is an 18-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. Rich was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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