Road to Royal Ascot: Wesley Ward unleashes Campanelle at Keeneland

With trainer Wesley Ward going great guns since racing resumed at Keeneland, Royal Ascot winner Campanelle sets out en route to this year’s royal meeting on Friday’s card at the Kentucky venue.

Wesley Ward after Acapulco wins the Queen Mary
Wesley Ward after Acapulco wins the Queen Mary Picture: Racing and Sports

Ward enjoyed stakes-race doubles on both Friday and Saturday cards last week, among them a first G1 success for Kimari – a runner-up at Royal Ascot for the last two seasons – in the Madison Stakes.

For good measure, the in-form trainer is also anticipating a first Kentucky Derby runner with Turfway Park winner Like The King.

Kimari was one of five winners on the Saturday card for Joel Rosario, who rides Campanelle in the second running of the TVG Limestone Turf (9.24pm BST) over 5½f on turf at Keeneland, where the speedy daughter of Kodiac lost her unbeaten record when stepped up to a mile at the Breeders' Cup.

She was, though, the joint highest-rated juvenile filly in Europe last term (alongside Pretty Gorgeous) by virtue of victories in the Queen Mary Stakes and Prix Morny.

Speaking at a BHA press conference earlier this year for the European Classifications, Ward suggested Campanelle would target the Commonwealth Cup, for which she is 5-1 favourite with bookmakers Paddy Power. 

"Our main goal would be the Commonwealth," he said. "I'm kind of working from that race backwards. That's a stiff six at Ascot for the Commonwealth – with a little weight break for being a filly, that will be our main target."

She will be joined in Friday's $100,000 contest by Ward-trained Carimba, who won a couple of races at Indiana Grand last year for Campanelle's owners Stonestreet Stables, whose colours were also carried by dual Royal Ascot winner Lady Aurelia.

Feature race on Friday at Keeneland is the G1 Maker's Mark Mile, while on Saturday, Kentucky Derby joint-favourite Concert Tour bids to underline his credentials in the $1m Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.

Horse Racing Planet