WESLEY Ward is targeting Breeders’ Cup redemption for Golden Pal following his disappointing performance in the Nunthorpe at York.
So impressive when winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Keeneland last year, the Uncle Mo colt’s return to action was delayed by an early season setback.
But having made a sensational reappearance at Saratoga in July, hopes were high that Golden Pal could provide his American trainer with a first Nunthorpe success, having seen both Acapulco and Lady Aurelia finish second in the Group 1 contest.
However, while Golden Pal displayed blistering early speed on the Knavesmire, he ultimately weakened out of contention tamely.
“He came home safe and sound and is back here training at Keeneland like he never left,” said Ward.
“Every trainer is different, but historically for me, when I bring a horse back from a long lay-off and they run a big race like he did at Saratoga, they need a little bit more time before they run again.
“I knew how important the Nunthorpe was to the Coolmore team for his stallion career, as opposed to the Flying Five (at the Curragh in September), so I factored that in and there was no real reason not to run, with the exception of the time factor.
“Every horse is different and this horse trained beautiful going into it and came out of the race beautiful, so I think it was just a question of it kind of zapped him from the inside, that first big race he had (at Saratoga).”
Golden Pal is likely to have one more run before bidding for back-to-back Breeders’ Cup wins at Del Mar in November.
Ward added: “We’ll make a decision on whether we run him in the Woodford here at Keeneland (October 9th) and then aim for the Breeders’ Cup – I think that will be the plan.
“Hopefully he can run right here on his home track and he’ll bounce forward right into the Breeders’ Cup and show what he is.”