American trainer Wesley Ward has been a regular visitor to Royal Ascot since 2009 and he is back again this year with his strongest ever squad.
Like most visitors to Berkshire in June, he loves the pomp and ceremony of the meeting but more importantly he loves a winner.
Since enjoying a juvenile double with Strike The Tiger and Jealous Again on his first visit, Ward has had five other winners.
The most startling of all was Lady Aurelia in last year’s Queen Mary Stakes and she is back again, this time leading his team in the King’s Stand Stakes.
Ward has also been speaking in glowing terms about his Commonwealth Cup contender Bound For Nowhere, but it is once again in the two-year-old division where he is expected to shine.
He took all bar one of his scheduled runners to Ascot on Wednesday to blow away the cobwebs and was pleased with what he witnessed, particularly from his Coventry Stakes contender Arawak.
Ward said: “Arawak was a real eye-opener. He’s always been a very nice colt, a bigger colt with a longer stride, so for him to work as well as he did, I was very impressed. I wasn’t expecting that.
“I’ve never won the Coventry, but I think everyone in racing wants to win a race like that.
“Happy Like A Fool will run in the Queen Mary and she did some beautiful work with Jamie (Spencer), I’m very excited about her.
“Fairyland has been doing her work out in Kentucky, she didn’t work at Ascot, and we’ll just see which way Coolmore (owners) want to go with her.
“Nootka Sound and Elizabeth Darcy are both winners in the States and are running in the Windsor Castle.
“Nootka had a very big win on the dirt, although he works much better on the grass. The plan is if we run both to hold one back and let one go, Nootka being the one to go.
“I was very happy with McErin who runs in the Norfolk. He did a nice cruising work, I’m very excited for him as well.
“Princess Peggy won her only start by many lengths but she’s a bigger filly and when Ryan (Moore) got off her, he said he wouldn’t duck any challenge with her.
“In previous meetings I’ve had to contend with the weather, but when the weather is nice, mine run better than when it is soft.
“This year the weather is great, the horses look well and everything looks wonderful.
“All the two-year-olds are doing great, but Happy Like A Fool has so much speed and Jamie was very excited about her. She’s a really special filly.”