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Follow the market and you won't go far wrong with Ward's Royal Ascot juveniles

Wesley Ward: bidding for more Royal Ascot success with Ruthin
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5.35 Royal Ascot
Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed) | 5f | 2yo | ITV/Sky

It is 12 years since Wesley Ward burst on to the British scene when winning the Windsor Castle with Strike The Tiger and he has won the race only once since, with Hootenanny in 2014.

Ward's juveniles quickly garnered a reputation following his initial success with two winners in 2009, but since then he had saddled only six juvenile winners from 48 runners at the start of the meeting. That's a 13 per cent strike-rate and a £1 bet on all his representatives yielded a loss of £20.50.

The betting has been the best guide to Ward's Royal Ascot juveniles and, if you filter his runners to include only those who were outright favourite, his record improves significantly.

Since the start of 2010, Ward has saddled six outright favourites in races confined to two-year-olds at Royal Ascot and three of them won. A £1 bet on each yielded a profit of £5.

Ward saddles Ruthin and Golden Bell this year but the market points to Ruthin, who is the clear overnight favourite and should be hard to beat provided she stays solid in the betting.

George Boughey has made a rapid start to his training career and a feature of his success has been his impressive strike-rate with juveniles.

The Newmarket handler has a 42 per cent strike-rate with two-year-olds in British turf races this season and runs Superior Force, who is entered in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh later this year and was also in the Coventry and the Norfolk this week, so is evidently held in high regard.

Aidan O'Brien has won two of the last six runnings and Amalfi Coast is the sole Ballydoyle representative. He has already had three runs and won't be found wanting for experience, with both of O'Brien's winners having run at least twice.
Race analysis by Graeme Rodway


'Stiff five furlongs should suit Dig Two'

Hugo Palmer is hoping the decision to sidestep Thursday's Group 2 Norfolk Stakes for this Listed assignment can bear fruit for impressive Newmarket and Chelmsford winner Dig Two.

"We were tempted by the Norfolk but what we know is that he really likes to hear his feet rattle and Wednesday looks like being the fastest ground of the week," said the trainer.

"I was pleased to see the runner-up from last time bolt up at Nottingham on Monday. A stiff five should suit him very well, I'm looking forward to him."


What they say

Jessica Harrington, trainer of Albion Square
He's a smart two-year-old and I hope it turns out we're on the right side in stall 22.

Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Amalfi Coast
He comes back to five furlongs after winning over six. He shows plenty of pace.

Richard Hannon, trainer of Armor
He's a very fast horse, Ryan [Moore] loved him [at Doncaster]. He has been fine since then, we were going to run him in the Lily Agnes and then he was reshod and he was a little bit sore. He's been working well.

Eve Johnson Houghton, trainer of Chipotle
He hated the soft ground at Sandown and was also drawn on the wrong side so we've struck a line through that. He deserves to take his chance and will love rattling fast ground.

Tom Dascombe, trainer of Flaming Rib
He's done very little wrong, he probably just ran a bit fresh and free last time but was beaten by a better horse. I've been happy with him.

Karl Burke, trainer of Kaboo
He is potentially a very exciting horse. I've only had him three weeks since the Arqana Breeze-Up and he came very highly recommended by his vendors, Kate McGivern and Joanna Morgan. He's a very powerful horse and a good galloping horse who has a big furture. This is obviously a huge ask but if any horse can do it, this fella can. 

Saeed bin Suroor, trainer of Home City
He needed the race first time but has come out of that well and has improved physically.

Ben Coen, rider of Lord Gorgeous
The blinkers might help him a bit. He probably has a bit to find on form but hopefully his experience will stand him in good stead.

Michael Bell, trainer of Spring Is Sprung
He stays well over five furlongs and this has been the plan since he won at Windsor. He's been training really since then and looks every inch an Ascot two-year-old as a physical specimen.

George Boughey, trainer of Superior Force
He was unfortunate to get beaten at Newmarket and is a nice horse, a very lazy horse who is going to take his racing well this year.

John Quinn, trainer of Tipperary Sunset
He's done nothing wrong and everything's gone smoothly since Beverley.

Wesley Ward, trainer of Golden Bell and Ruthvin
I couldn't be happier with Ruthin. The turf is a little bit of an unknown for Golden Bell but she's travelled well and the ground should be to her liking.
Reporting by Mark Boylan


Wednesday's Royal Ascot previews:

2.30 Royal Ascot: Wesley Ward all smiles as he unleashes his 'best five-furlong horse' in Queen Mary

3.05 Royal Ascot: Ballydoyle battalions primed to give Aidan O'Brien a ninth win in Queen's Vase

3.40 Royal Ascot: can any rivals throw down a challenge to 'enormously exciting' Lady Bowthorpe?

4.20 Royal Ascot: dual Classic heroine Love returns with Lord North a key absentee due to ground

4.20 Royal Ascot: can Love buck the trends for a winning return? Graeme Rodway says it's a big ask (Members' Club)

5.00 Royal Ascot: Richard Birch believes one side of the track holds the key to the Royal Hunt Cup

6.10 Royal Ascot: 'She has a cracking chance' – find out which trainer has high hopes of a winner


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He's been training really since then and look every inch an Ascot two-year-old as a physical specimen
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