Nine different countries are represented as Royal Ascot’s Group One entries provide a mouth-watering international flavour.
There is a typically strong American team in the entries released on Wednesday, headed by Wesley Ward who is looking to add to his career tally of 10 winners at the meeting.
Bound For Nowhere (King’s Stand and Diamond Jubilee), Jo Jo Air (King’s Stand Stakes), Abyssinian (King’s Stand and Commonwealth Cup) and The Mackem Bullet (Commonwealth Cup and Coronation) are the trainer’s Group One hopes at this stage.
He is then expecting to add his strong team of juveniles – with Nayibeth (Albany), Anna’s Fast (Norfolk) and Lady Pauline in the mix.
“Bound For Nowhere is in great nick and ran really well when second at Keeneland last time out,” said Ward.
“The race was quite tactical, and he had a new rider on. We made all on that occasion – whereas we usually hold him up.
“Bound For Nowhere was very fresh, but that race did him the world of good. The only other time he has raced up with the pace was when he came third in the Diamond Jubilee last year – which was a fine effort.
“He is going to have one more run over here (in the USA), where we will adopt different tactics by hopefully holding him up. If he does settle, then we will go for the Diamond Jubilee again.
“If he does not settle, we will target the King’s Stand, so his Royal Ascot race depends on how he gets on next time out.”
Ward is keeping options open with several of his entries.
“The Mackem Bullet could go for the Coronation Stakes,” he added.
“She won nicely over a mile at Keeneland last time out. It will be tough for her in Group One company at Royal Ascot, but she is really starting to blossom over here. The Jersey Stakes could also be something to consider.
“Jo Jo Air had a big win over here the other night – and as regards to Ascot, we will see how she trains before deciding if she comes over for the King’s Stand.
“I’m really excited about Abyssinian. She is progressing well, and her target hasn’t been decided yet either. She is in both the King’s Stand and the Commonwealth Cup. She was a good third behind Bulletin at Keeneland earlier this season, and there is a lot more to come from her. I really like her, and hopefully she makes the trip over.”
Chad Brown’s blistering Breeders’ Cup winner Newspaperofrecord is also among the American entry.
Smart sprinter Stormy Liberal is another possible.
David Bernsen owns Stormy Liberal in partnership with Rockingham Ranch.
He said: “We have shipped Stormy Liberal all over the world – and from coast to coast in the USA – and it seems the more he travels, the better he handles it.
“In the Al Quoz Sprint, he had everything going against him – the worst barrier by far, on the worst part of the track. He had nowhere to pick up cover and was hunting for it, and then he had no target to run at. This horse loves to run down other horses.
“We decided to only enter for the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot, because six furlongs suits him well.”
There are also two possibles from Asia, the Japanese Grade One-winning mare Deirdre (Prince Of Wales’s) and Singapore-based Lim’s Cruiser (Diamond Jubilee).
For many years the Australians have been feared in the sprints – and two have been entered, Zousain and Houtzen, while Enzo’s Lad is set to represent New Zealand.
Waldgeist (Prince of Wales’s) and Holdthasisgreen (Gold Cup) are just a couple of the entries from France, while even the Czech Republic could be represented – by Subway Dancer (Prince of Wales’s), who was third in the Champion Stakes in October.
Three of the best older horses in Britain and Ireland in Enable, Sea Of Class and Magical could meet in the Prince of Wales’s, and Too Darn Hot has been given an entry in the St James’s Palace Stakes.
Stradivarius and Cross Counter are the headline acts in the Gold Cup, but Vazirabad was not entered.