It was not a banner day for US-based horses at Royal Ascot on Tuesday. Yoshida finished fifth in the Queen Anne Stakes (G1), Bucchero was fifth in the King’s Stand Stakes and Lady Aurelia had her Ascot winning streak snapped at two, as she finished seventh, also in the King’s Sand (after winning it last year).
- Yoshida (5th at 11-1)
- Bucchero (5th at 40-1)
- Lady Aurelia (7th at 2-1)
So, what do the chances look like for American horses on Thursday? Let’s take a look:
Norfolk Stakes (G2)
5 furlongs (turf). For 2-year-olds.
10-SHANG SHANG SHANG: Normally, a juvenile colt racing at Royal Ascot on the turf after winning a maiden 4 ½-furlong dash on the dirt at Keeneland wouldn’t raise a lot of eyebrows. But when that colt is trained by Wesley Ward, who burst onto the Royal Ascot scene in 2009 with Strike the Tiger, a 33-1 longshot winner of the Windsor Castle Stakes, not only does the horse raise eyebrows, it’s made the 2-1 morning line favorite.
In fact, Ward’s success has encouraged other US trainers to try their luck across the pond. Two years ago, Mark Casse became the only other American to win at Royal Ascot, when Tepin conquered Europe’s elite milers in the Group I Queen Anne Stakes.
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“Wesley’s participation has been one of the stories of modern times at Royal Ascot,” Nick Smith, director of racing and communications, told the New York Times. “From complete unknown, almost patronizingly overlooked on his first visit in 2009, he has become one of the most widely respected trainers in the world.”
As for Ward’s horse on Wednesday, the son of Shanghai Bobby is undeniably quick and is sporting blinkers for the first time. And given the straight five-furlong run of the Norfolk, conditioning shouldn’t be an issue, which is good news seeing how Shang Shang Shang hasn’t run since April 26.