Edited Press Release — “Golden Pal is doing great, he really is. I have been singing this horse’s praises for a couple of years now and the only thing he hasn’t done yet is win on your patch. Hopefully, he can get it done, said trainer Wesley Ward of this year’s Royal Ascot hopeful.
“It was a powerful performance from him in the Shakertown – but it was a comeback and I really think his next run is going to be something special. He is a once in a lifetime horse – certainly the best I have ever had – and I think he will stamp that with his performance at Ascot if he runs like I am expecting him to.
“Physically, he is an awesome specimen now and mentally he is really coming into his own. I am just so excited to get him back over there.”
Golden Pal’s only defeat since a near miss at this meeting as a 2-year-old came in last season’s G1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York, when he finished seventh behind Winter Power, much to his trainer’s bemusement.
Said Ward: “I am looking at a couple of things from his run at York. Firstly, he ran a big race at Churchill Downs on his comeback last year and that was five weeks beforehand. I know five weeks is a nice gap for you guys but, for me, a longer spacing with sprinters works better. If I come back too quick, it usually stings me as a trainer. A lot of trainers are able to do it but my whole career I have never been able to do something like that.
“The other point is that when Frankie [Dettori] rode him, he did not want to go too fast early. He took a pretty good hold of him in the first part of the race and, although endoscopically there were no abnormalities after, maybe something got a bit displaced and shut his airways down a little bit. A veterinarian would disagree with me, but I am searching for an answer for that race because he went into it really good. Those are the two reasons I think that he did not fire but, other than that, he has fired every start of his life.”