Ascot Racecourse opened its gates for the opening meeting of the flat season and American trainer Wesley Ward is dreaming after more Royal Ascot glory after taking the opening race of the day.
Ward is known for sending high-class horses to the Royal Meeting and he could have another on his hands after Create A Dream took the Sodexo Conditions Stakes. The two-year-old who was making his debut showed plenty of speed from the front and held on by a neck to beat The Last Lion (later demoted to third).
Jockey Jose Valdiva Jnr said: “Wesley Ward knows his horses well and which ones will handle the trip and he is exceptionally good with two-year-old fillies.”
While Ward who was speaking from his USA base said: “I knew what we had, everything I’d seen early on warranted going over to England and she’s come through.
“She won’t run again before Royal Ascot, that was all we needed and unlike my previous runners, she’s now got experience of the track.
“My thinking is she’ll go for the Albany over six furlongs as I’ve got another filly, Lady Aurelia, for the Queen Mary. She’s by Scat Daddy, who has had Royal Ascot winners, and she broke the track record when she worked on grass.”
Royal Ascot hero opens his campaign with victory
GM Hopkins, winner of the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot 2015, got his season off to the perfect start as he claimed the Listed Stratford Stud Paradise Stakes.
The five-year-old trained by John Gosden was held-up at the rear of the field by master jockey Ryan Moore, while favourite Arod set a good pace out in front. Heading into the final furlong Arod looked the winner, but Moore asked his mount for an effort and he duly responded and won by three-quarters-of-a-length.
After the race Gosden said: “He likes Ascot, he’s a lovely fun horse and winning the Hunt Cup was the thrill of all thrills. We’re probably in a bit of trouble now.
“We’ll probably come back to Ascot and if he’s too high for the Hunt Cup we’ll see about the Queen Anne.”
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