Ward nominates quartet of juveniles to Group 1 at the Curragh
Edited press release from the Curragh and Keeneland
The Curragh could be set to welcome its first runners from the USA since 1991, following Wednesday's entry stage for the Keeneland Phoenix S. (G1).
US-based trainer Wesley Ward has included four horses in Europe's first two-year-old Group 1 of 2016, which takes place at the Curragh on Sunday, August 7, with Create A Dream, Angelo's Ashes, Lady Aurelia and Silvertoni among the 73 entries.
Create A Dream won on her first start at Ascot Wednesday. Lady Aurelia and Silvertoni both made a winning debut at the Keeneland April meeting this month with Angelo's Ashes coming second on her first run.
A former champion apprentice rider in the US, Ward's career has gone from strength to strength as a trainer having won numerous major races in the US including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) in 2014 with Hootenanny and also a remarkable five wins at Royal Ascot, most notably No Nay Never in the Norfolk S. (G2) in 2013 and Undrafted in the Diamond Jubilee S. (G1) last year
They would represent the first runners from the US at the County Kildare venue since Fourstars All Star, trained in New York by Leo O'Brien, landed the Irish 2000 Guineas (G1) in 1991.
"They are four very nice 2-year-olds and could all run at Royal Ascot and then we are planning to be represented in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes," said Ward.
"Two very great friends of mine - Rogers Beasley, Keeneland's Director of Racing, and Paul Shanahan - have both asked me about having runners in Ireland and so I would like to do it.
"It will be something different. Running is one thing but winning is another and winning is what it is all about. I hope the ones we have nominated are good enough and it will just be about having them at the right stage at that time. But it's something we are certainly going to plan for.
"They train at Keeneland so would come back there after Ascot and then we will see where we are with them with a view to coming to the Curragh.
"Winning this sort of race is a real feather in your cap, a credit on your CV and something you cherish for the rest of your life so it's something I would love to do."
The impressive list of entries also includes 19 trained by Aidan O'Brien, who has dominated the race with a total of 14 winners. Leading British-based trainers Saeed bin Suroor, Richard Hannon, Roger Varian, Ed Dunlop, Kevin Ryan, Martyn Meade, Mick Channon, Hugo Palmer and Mark Johnston have all made entries.
The day will have a Stars N Stripes family theme to promote the title sponsorship of Kentucky-based Keeneland, while Kevin O'Malley, the US Ambassador to Ireland, will be guest of honor.
Keeneland and The Curragh have undertaken various initiatives to enhance the Phoenix Stakes afternoon and they will again sponsor free family admission
The Keeneland Phoenix Stakes was won last year by European champion Air Force Blue. Other recent winners include Holy Roman Emperor, George Washington, Johannesburg, Mastercraftsman, Saoirse Abu and Zoffany.
The Keeneland Association, based at Lexington in Kentucky, operates both the world's largest thoroughbred sales company and an iconic racecourse, which hosted the Breeders' Cup last October. It has enjoyed a long and happy relationship with the Irish racing and breeding communities.
Photo of Lady Aurelia courtesy Keeneland/Coady Photography.