British Champion Series
Four Wheel Drive is in line for an appearance at Royal Ascot next year following his Breeders’ Cup heroics at Santa Anita on Friday.
Having followed up an impressive debut victory at Colonial Downs with a Grade Three success at Belmont, the son of American Pharoah was the marginal favourite for the Juvenile Turf Sprint – and made every yard of the running to win comfortably.
No stranger to success at the Royal meeting, trainer Wesley Ward is keen to see his latest star juvenile in action in Berkshire next June, but whether that will be in the Commonwealth Cup or the King’s Stand remains to be seen.
Both of those races form part of the Sprint Category of the QIPCO British Champions Series.
“I hope we’ll take him to Royal Ascot – that would be the initial plan, anyway,” said Ward.
“He shipped home great and was back in his stable in Keeneland on Saturday morning. He’ll have a month and a half off and then we’ll get him ready for the spring.
“We’ll find a prep race for him at home and hopefully that will tell us whether we should run over six furlongs in the Commonwealth Cup or stick at five for the King’s Stand. Lady Aurelia was obviously better over five than six, so we’ll see about this guy.
“His three runs so far have kind of been bunched together, so I hope that with a bit more time between his races, he’ll be an even better horse next year.”
Four Wheel Drive was just one of three Ward-trained runners in the Juvenile Turf Sprint, with Kimari also emerging with plenty of credit after flying home to finish fourth from an uncompromising position.
Beat just a head by Raffle Prize in the Queen Mary Stakes at this year’s Royal meeting, she too is likely to make the trip across the Atlantic next summer.
Ward added: “I said going into the race whichever horse had the better trip would probably come out on top and that’s the way it worked out on the day.
“Four Wheel Drive got a great run in front, whereas Kimari got shuffled back and checked and shuffled back and checked again. She must have made up 10 lengths in the straight and was in front after the wire, but not where it mattered.
“She has proved she likes the track (at Ascot) and softer ground wouldn’t be a bother to her, given she performed so well on it this year.
“Hopefully she can go back, probably for the Commonwealth Cup against the boys.”