Wesley Ward is based in America but he has a big following among British racing fans because of his annual raids on Royal Ascot and positive, cheery nature.
Although a household name in the States, Ward was a relative unknown when sending a string of horses over to Britain for the Royal Meeting in 2009.
However, he soon showed what he was all about by saddling the first US-based winner at Royal Ascot with Strike The Tiger – who upset the odds in taking the Windsor Castle Stakes at 33-1.
Ward has continued to annually send over powerful squads to Ascot (mainly two-year-olds) with other celebrated winners including No Nay Never, Hootenanny, Acapulco and Undrafted – the last-named giving him a first QIPCO British Champions Series win when capturing the Diamond Jubilee Stakes under Frankie Dettori.
His biggest star on these shores has undoubtedly been Lady Aurelia, pictured above. She won the Queen Mary in devastating style by seven lengths in 2016 before returning to land the King’s Stand Stakes in emphatic style in 2017.
Ward had confidently predicted both outcomes although definitely belongs in the glass-half-full fraternity.
Frankie Dettori also celebrated victory on Lady Aurelia after she passed the post in the Nunthorpe that year but the photo-finish revealed Marsha had pipped her by a nose.
Ward grew up in the horseracing industry by way of his father, Dennis, who was also a trainer. Ward Jr started his career as a jockey and in 1984 won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey in a year where he won riding championships at three separate tracks and rode an astonishing 335 winners.
He continued his career in the saddle, riding around the globe in countries such as Italy, Malaysia and Singapore before retiring in 1989 after losing his battle with weight gain. Ward soon turned his hand to training and, following a spell as assistant to his father, took out his own licence in 1993.
One of his stated ambitions is to win the Coolmore Nunthorpe at York. He’s had a couple of near-misses and believes Golden Pal may be the horse to achieve that for him in 2021.