After grand showing at Royal Ascot, Wesley Ward's American runner returns to Europe to meet region's top juveniles in the Prix Morny, writes Geoffrey Riddle.
No Nay Never back in European horse racing circuit for more success
No Nay Never created a huge stir at Royal Ascot in June and the American raider looks set to take Deauville racecourse by storm on Sunday afternoon.
Wesley Ward's speedster crossed the Atlantic Ocean 10 days ago with two stablemates and will take his chance in the Prix Morny, the first Group 1 race for juveniles on the France calendar.
Joel Rosario rode No Nay Never at Ascot, but the colt will be partnered by David Flores, today at Deauville.
On the face of it, there appears very little the European two-year-old brigade can do to stop No Nay Never.
The European juveniles do not look up to much and with Ward confident that No Nay Never is in peak form this could be a vintage year for American runners abroad, after Animal Kingdom took the Dubai World Cup in March.
No Nay Never overpowered 13 rivals in the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes at Ascot after recovering from an awkward start to lower the track record. Ward has ensured a repeat of that tardy start will not occur again by working his charge at the gates.
"He's like a bull," Ward said. "He'll wait for other horses in a race, but I don't teach my horses to run away from the rest. We put in a lot of time and effort. I've always felt he's the most talented horse I've trained."
The Norfolk Stakes is one of only three juvenile races at Royal Ascot to carry Group 2 status and, at this stage of the season, it looks by far the strongest of the three.
Five horses have come out of the five-furlong dash to subsequently win races, including Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid's Saayerr, who won the Group 2 Richmond Stakes at Glorious Goodwood 17 days ago.
In contrast the Coventry Stakes has been an abject failure. War Command looked imperious two months ago when putting six lengths on the field in the six-furlong race.
War Command was considered almost unbeatable, ahead of the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes in Ireland last weekend, but lost. He was one of 15 Coventry runners to race since Ascot and all but Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed's Lanark have lost. For the record, Lanark beat three others when taking a step down in class to win a Conditions event at Newbury a month ago.
War Command's Coventry Stakes is represented today by Jallota, who was fifth at the Royal meeting and was also fifth behind Saayerr at Goodwood, one place behind Godolphin's Figure Of Speech, who also runs.
Sheikh Rashid bin Dalmouk's Rizeena emphatically won the Queen Mary Stakes at Ascot but then could not carry her Group 2 penalty with success in the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket last month. Of the first 10 home in the Queen Mary, only Fig Roll went on to win a Listed event; Richard Hannon's Fast took a three-runner novice event.
Europe's primary hope of preventing Ward from taking home the Morny largely lies with the French filly Vorda, who is unbeaten in three runs. On her latest start, a month ago, she won the Prix Robert Papin, which is the first Group 2 of the season run in France.
Under the Belgian jockey Gregory Benoist, Vorda used a powerful turn of foot to take the race and Omaticaya, Vedeux, Muharaaj and Anticipated, who followed her home, all run again today. They may all have to gang up on No Nay Never to stop him.
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