By Brad Gray
US trainer Wesley Ward will use Newmarket Handicap-winner Redkirk Warrior as a guide to Bound For Nowhere’s Everest prospects when to the two meet in the Group One Diamond Jubilee (1200m) on the final day of the Royal Ascot carnival in June.
Ward revealed he fielded calls from several slot holders last year, mainly regarding Lady Aurelia, but was yet to hear from any interested parties for the $13 million 2018 Everest. He hopes that will change once Bound For Nowhere is showcased on the world stage.
“I certainly have (The Everest) on my radar, that’s for sure.”
Ward, who owns the four-year-old himself, is no stranger to Australian racing having travelled Cannonball to run in the 2010 Lightning Stakes, but the horse failed to fire before staying here to be trained by Gai Waterhouse.
“(Bound For Nowhere) is coming into his own right now. He is in great form and undefeated in the United States. He is better than he ever was,” Ward said.
The two defeats for the sprinter, who has done all of his racing on grass, were at Royal Ascot last year behind Caravaggio and then in France. The latter prompted Ward to send Bound For Nowhere to the paddock.
“He didn’t perform up to expectations so I brought him home and gave him a really good rest from August and started him back in training on January 1. He came back and won a conditions race then ran against the best sprinters in the United States and won very, very convincingly so now we are going to charge forward to Royal Ascot,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lady Aurelia will also be seen next at Royal Ascot where she will defend the King’s Stand Stakes (1000m), a race she won in breathtaking fashion last year. Whether she is a genuine Everest contender, however, remains to be seen.
“That decision lies with the Stonestreet group and you never know when we get to the fall of the year. She is more effective at five (furlongs) but as horses get older they get more seasoned and more relaxed,” said Ward.