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Editor's Blog

Create A Dream with Wesley Ward at Royal Ascot

12 June 2016

There were a record 15 international challengers trained outside of Europe at Royal Ascot 12 months ago and the number could well go close this year.

US-based trainer Wesley Ward returns with at least seven runners across the five days of the royal meeting, which starts on Tuesday.

There is a strong representation from America this year with Ward being joined by Mark Casse, who saddles Tepin in the Queen Anne Stakes on day one and Graham Motion’s Miss Temple City running in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes on Wednesday.

Drafted is set to become Godolphin’s first US-trained juvenile to run at the meeting in the Windsor Castle Stakes on Tuesday, while the boys in blue have brought over Holler, who attempts to follow in the hoofprints of Black Caviar and Choisir by wining for Australia in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. 

A Shin Erwin (Queen Anne) and A Shin Hikari (Prince Of Wales’s Stakes) will fly the flag for Japan, and the Far East also have representation by the presence of Mongolian Saturday, the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner trained by Mongolian connections in America.

International raiders to back

Drafted – Windsor Castle Stakes – Tuesday

Drafted lines up in Tuesday’s Windsor Castle Stakes in preference to his alternative Norfolk entry. 

It looks a shrewd move from new owners Godolphin. 

Drafted pummeled a 1-5 chance of Wesley Ward’s called Spelker in a four-runner race on Keeneland’s dirt. Drafted, a son of dual surface Group Two-winning sprinter Field Commission, was placed three wide that day and had little problem breaking the track record that day. 

Keeneland’s dirt surface has not been down long, however, but his turf breeze at Arlington was impressive and Timeform rate him very highly. 

Ward, who in addition to Strike The Tiger in 2009 also hit the mark with Hootenanny in 2014, relies on Big City Dreamin’, but it does not look a vintage contest. 

Drafted at 5-1 with Ladbrokes. 

A Shin Hikari – Prince Of Wales’s Stakes – Wednesday

The price about A Shin Hikari may have evaporated but even at a shade of odds-on he may well represent a smidgen of value in Wednesday’s Prince Of Wales’s Stakes. 

No Japanese horse has won at Royal Ascot, but few have tried. Unlike many challengers from the Far East, A Shin Hikari underwent a prep run in Chantilly last month when he blitzed a high-class field in the Group One Prix d’Ispahan. 

That run showed exactly how versatile the son of super sire Deep Impact is. For about the first time in his career he did not set the pace under Yutake Take and his debut on heavy ground went better than trainer Masanori Sakaguchi could have hoped. 

That run built on A Shin Hikari’s exceptional effort in the Hong Kong Cup, where he went through devastating fractions, and showed that he can run to that level and beyond in Europe.

Sakaguchi has since delivered an upbeat report about the wellbeing of his superstar. I'm not saying I will back him at 10-11, but I think I would prefer to be with him than against him.

Create A Dream – Albany Stakes – Friday:

Wesley Ward has posted six wins at Royal Ascot since Strike The Tiger set the ball rolling at 33-1 in the 2009 Windsor Castle Stakes. 

Ward has flagged up Lady Aurelia in the Queen Mary on Wednesday as possibly his best chance of the meeting, but I prefer his Create A Dream in the Albany Stakes on Friday at 5-1

Create A Dream reportedly had issues during shipping that took time to get over, which makes her first competitive run on turf all the more impressive. At Ascot in April she took on the odds-on Mark Johnston runner The Last Lion from the front and with little effort from top-class jockey Jose Valdivia she posted a solid performance on good to soft ground. 

She almost certainly will come on significantly from that run, and although it looks a competitive race with Aidan O’Brien’s Cuff, Richard Hannon’s Grizzel and the Charlie Appleby pair of Nasimi and Romantic View all in her way the 5-1 looks fair. 

Create A Dream at 5-1 with Betfair

International raiders to lay

Tepin – Queen Anne Stakes, Tuesday:

Tepin is a fantastic mare who is on a winning run of six and, had this race taken place in America on good ground or better, she would be a worthy favourite. 

The US-raider, however, has to overcome myriad obstacles.

For a start, last season’s Eclipse Award-winner has never run over a straight mile. She has never run on a course with an uphill finish like Ascot’s, either. 

Fellow American trainers Wesley Ward and Graham Motion have learnt the hard way that it is best to recruit local riders, but Mark Casse has decided to allow Julien Leparoux to continue his excellent association with Tepin. 

Tepin has certainly criss-crossed successfully in America before, but on her first trip to Europe she will be faced with rain-softened ground. The daughter of Bernstein, her sire who handled soft ground, displayed her versatility when she won the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes at Keeneland in October by seven lengths on soft ground. 

That was definitely not the strongest top-flight race though – Tom Dascombe’s Crowley’s Law was second, and soft ground would not have brought out the best in her rivals, either. In contrast connections of Queen Anne rival Belardo were smiling over the weekend at the 27mm of rain that has fallen at Ascot since Friday. 

And then there is the absence of Lasix and her customary nasal strip, neither of which are permitted in British racing. Tepin had to undergo a gallop before leaving America without both of those enhancements, which is sure-fire evidence that connections are concerned. 

Tepin did pass that workout with flying colours, however, but at 4-1 she looks very short. She may simply be a class apart, but with big international names such as Animal Kingdom and Able Friend flopping markedly in this race in recent seasons the balance of probabilities suggests she is a lay.

Acapulco – King’s Stand Stakes, Tuesday

Last season in the Nunthorpe Stakes Mecca’s Angel firmly put Acapulco in her place. 

The secret ingredient to the win was that the Knavesmire had been hit by rain and where Mecca’s Angel loves the wet stuff, it does not suit the American raider’s style.

The rain has once again come to the aid of Mecca’s Angel, who looked so good in defeat to Profitable on her first start of her four-year-old career in the Temple Stakes last month. 

Acapulco will have improved with natural progression, but so too will have Mecca’s Angel.

Even with Acapulco’s 7lb weight-for-age allowance, she still looks to have a bit to find with Mecca’s Angel. 

Holler - Diamond Jubilee Stakes - Saturday

Australian horses have a rich heritage at Royal Ascot, but mainly in the King’s Stand Stakes. Only Black Caviar and Choisir have won the six-furlong sprint. Holler has shown at least that he is fully effective at running over six furlongs, having won the Group One Canterbury Stakes over six and a half furlongs and 

almost backed up three weeks later when edged out of the William Reid Stakes back down over six. 

Holler will be badly off at the weight-for-age scale, however, as he is a southern hemisphere three-year-old. Although he is clearly improving, he does not look in the same league as Brazen Beau, who was touched off by the returning Undrafted 12 months ago. Undrafted is joined in the race by a strong home defence in  James Fanshawe’s Windsor winner The Tin Man, Charlie Hills’ Magical Memory and Henry Candy’s Twilight Son.

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