Wesley Ward is a Royal Ascot Hall-of-Famer


Wesley Ward has become synonymous with Royal Ascot for more than a decade and the trailblazing trainer shows no signs of slowing down in his quest to send out more winners at the prestigious meeting.
In 2009, Ward became the first US-based trainer to train a winner at the meeting, and heading into the 2023 five-day meeting, his tally stood at 12 winners in total. Given he does not send over an army of horses, Ward boasts an enviable strike rate and his horses always warrant respect.
It is a far cry from what perhaps constituted a lack of respect and knowledge regarding Ward’s prowess when his first Royal Ascot winner, Strike The Tiger, was sent off at odds of +3300 when prevailing in the Windsor Castle Stakes.

Ward a regular Royal Ascot winner
Ward’s runners at Royal Ascot are now regularly among the favorites for success at the track. Two-year-old American Rascal is priced at +400 to win the Norfolk Stakes, so will be a popular pick for those who bet on horse racing online

The 55-year-old’s name now appears regularly in the Royal Ascot results, but such familiarity should not diminish how groundbreaking an achievement it was when Ward first sent out runners, and winners, at Royal Ascot.
Australian horses had enjoyed success at Royal Ascot but Ward was the first trainer to cross the Atlantic Ocean with horses capable of making an impact. It was also the manner of how his horses won which helped to change the way other trainers approached the meeting.
Known for training juvenile speedballs, two-thirds of Ward’s winners at Royal Ascot have come in two-year-old races, including four victories in the Queen Mary Stakes, with Jealous Again winning that race in 2009, the day after Strike The Tiger’s success. All of those juvenile wins also came in five-furlong races and it is the typically fast gate speed associated with American-trained horses which has contributed to the amount of winners he has had.
There have been very few British or Irish-trained juveniles who have been able to live with that blistering early pace, but producing fast horses out of the gate is not a surefire guarantee of success and there is also the occasional instance of Ward’s horses breaking slowly, as seen when Golden Pal missed the break when favorite for the 2022 King’s Stand Stakes and trailed home last of the 16 runners.

Changing conditions between US and UK

But where Ward deserves huge credit for the volume of Royal Ascot winners he has enjoyed is how he has trained his horses to cope with such significant changes in conditions from their runs in the United States.
In contrast to US racetracks, where horses always run around at least one turn, the sprint races at Royal Ascot are run on a straight track and it is a testament to Ward’s skill that he can train his horses to be capable of breaking fast and maintaining that early speed all the way through to the line.
No other US-based trainer has come close to emulating Ward’s record at Royal Ascot, or even tried to copy him by sending regular runners over to England, and that alone shows why he should be regarded as one of the meeting’s finest ever trainers.