Royal Ascot: Ward-Trained Pair Headline Thursday’s ‘Win And You’re In’ Norfolk Stakes

Trainer Wesley Ward is seeking his third victory in the US$113,000 Norfolk Stakes (G2) for 2-year-olds when he sends out U.S. maiden winners Lucci and Nakatomi in the 5-furlong race on Thursday at Royal Ascot. The winner of the Norfolk Stakes will gain an automatic berth into the US$1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 84 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California on Nov. 5-6.

As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for the Norfolk Stakes winner to start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, which will be run at 5 furlongs at Del Mar. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a travel allowance of US$40,000 for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the Championships’ pre-entry deadline of October 25 to receive the rewards.

The Norfolk Stakes is the third of four Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” races to be conducted during the Royal Ascot meeting. The race will be televised live on NBCSN and TVG.

Andrew Farm, For the People Racing Stable, and Windmill Manor Farm’s Lucci, a Kentucky-bred son of Not this Time, won a 5-furlong maiden special weight by 3 lengths over the Widener turf course at Belmont Park on May 9 under jockey John Velazquez, who has the mount again for the Norfolk.

Qatar Racing, Marc Detampel and David Howden’s chestnut Kentucky-bred gelding Nakatomi, by Firing Line, broke his maiden by 2 ¼ lengths over a sloppy track in a 4 ½-furlong race at Keeneland on April 14.

“At home, we have been working Lucci and Nakatomi together,” said Ward, who has 11 victories at Royal Ascot coming into the 2021 meeting. “Nakatomi was coming out on top, but then they had a workout in Newmarket on the Limekilns and Lucci turned the tables. He just bounced straight through to the front and would not give up the lead.”

Last year, the Ward-trained Golden Pal finished second by a neck in the Norfolk Stakes before going on to capture the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Keeneland. Ward saddled Norfolk winners No Nay Never (2006) and Shang Shang Shang (2018).

Trainer Aidan O’Brien plans to start a son of No Nay Never in the Norfolk with Cadamosto (IRE), owned by Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Westerberg. Cadamosto broke his maiden on April 10, winning the 5-furlong Irish Stallion Farms EBF maiden by 3 ½ lengths.

O’Brien has saddled three Norfolk Stakes winners in Johannesburg (2001), Waterloo Bridge (IRE) (2015), and Sioux Nation (2017).

Amo Racing Limited and Peter Waney’s Go Bears Go (IRE) has a maiden victory over the Ascot course. Trained by David Loughnane, Go Bears Go, a son of Kodi Bear (IRE), won a 5-furlong Novice stakes at May 8 by 1 ½ lengths.

Another winner first time out is Isa Salman Al Khalifa’s Instinctive Move (GB). A bay son of Showcasing (GB) out of Peach Melba (GB) by Dream Ahead, Instinctive Move earned a 2 ¼-length victory in a 5-furlong EFB maiden race at Bath on May 12.

The post Royal Ascot: Ward-Trained Pair Headline Thursday’s ‘Win And You’re In’ Norfolk Stakes appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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