USA on the board as Wesley Ward-trained Campanelle takes Queen Mary
American trainer Wesley Ward sent out his 11th Royal Ascot winner when Campanelle took the G2 Queen Mary Stakes under Frankie Dettori.
The daughter of Kodiac came out on top by three-quarters of a length from Sacred after a sustained duel in the closing stages. It was a fourth Queen Mary Stakes for Ward following Jealous Again (2009), Acapulco (2015) and Lady Aurelia (2016). Like Lady Aurelia, Campanelle won in the colours of Stonestreet Stables. Earlier in the week, Ward had been responsible for two runners-up in Golden Pal (G2 Norfolk Stakes) and Kimari (G1 Commonwealth Cup).
Speaking from Keeneland, Kentucky, Ward said: “We are going crazy here! I am in the stable yard with all my boys. I have Charlie O’Connor from Coolmore with me – they had the favourite and he is cheering for me, so don’t tell the boss whatever you do!
“She is something and in think that we are going to be heading to the Prix Morny now. I will talk it over with Barbara Banke and the team. We are all real excited – I had all the stables lads here at the barn and they are all jumping up and down.
“I was fine with stall one for this particular filly. She tends to drift out a little bit in the mornings, so I was fine with that. I talked it over with Frankie – I told him to come of the gate with his stick in his right hand and he did. The Frankie Dettori that we all love, that’s the reason why he is the greatest, and I can’t thank him enough.
“Barbara has won the Prix Morny with Lady Aurelia in the past and hopefully the sanctions will be lifted, where she can go over and enjoy the wonderful racing. I can thank the team enough, especially Ben McElroy, who bought the filly specifically for this race and it all came true. In horseracing, that hardly ever happens and Ben did a wonderful job of picking the filly out for Barbara.
“We can’t thank Kieren Fallon enough. He was on this filly every day leading into the race and she couldn’t have been in better hands. Frankie talked him into coming to work for us, so we appreciate that as well.
“It’s sad not to be there to celebrate and enjoy this with my family. They love to come over each and every year but it’s another Royal Ascot winner and they are all so special.
“There is nothing like Royal Ascot. We didn’t have a winner last year and we had a streak going. We’ve been trying our best, I can’t thank everyone enough for giving me such a talented filly from where started at Stonestreet Stables. It is amazing and Frankie Dettori rode such a brilliant race as he always does. I have got my assistant Blake Heap there and we’ve got a wonderful team assembled in Florida – words just can’t describe it right now.
“The first day the horses didn’t perform in the Windsor Castle and I was scratching my head thinking this could be a rough year. Then we had two seconds yesterday [Kimari, Commonwealth Cup & Golden Pal, Norfolk] where I knew at least they were going to run well.
“I had such high expectations for Campanelle and she came through. She won on a tropical climate in Gulfstream down on the grass there, which was the first maiden race on turf. She then shipped from Miami through to Amsterdam and all the way to Newmarket. To run right back in the biggest two-year-old filly race at Ascot and for her to come through proves what a really good filly she is.
“This is the biggest meeting. We are starting to already plan for what we’re going to buy in a couple of months’ time to try and get the cream of the crop to bring our strongest team to come next year.
“Golden Pal will go for the Nunthorpe, he is more of a five-furlong horse. Campanelle is more a stride horse who is suited to six furlongs and will go for the Prix Morny.”
Frankie Dettori said: “I fancied my filly [Kimari] in the Commonwealth Cup yesterday – she was second, the ground was too sticky – then Wesley was shouting at me because I didn’t ride his Uncle Mo horse [Golden Pal, second under Andrea Atzeni] in the Norfolk, but I was already committed for Mark Johnston [Eye Of Heaven]. I had him on the phone screaming at me for half an hour yesterday, so I am glad I managed to win this race for him. He is a friend of mine, but he doesn’t forgive things! I have just had him on the phone and he is delighted.
“It wouldn’t be the same without having a Wesley Ward runner in the two-year-old races here. He is a great supporter of English racing, as are his owners as well. Barbara [Banke, owner of Campanelle] is a big supporter of mine – remember Lady Aurelia – and it adds spice to the international nature of Royal Ascot. May it long continue, this association with Royal Ascot, because we need these kind of horses.
“It is a nonsense, what people are saying about track bias. It is completely the same everywhere. If you look at the result on the straight track, all the best horses have been winning. If you put the best horses on the other side, they would have won on the other side. I think everyone is trying to look for an angle, but riding the ground, it feels exactly the same, and winning on this filly [from stall one] proves it.
“Wesley told me Campanelle had a tendency to lean right, so he was very happy to have the right rail next to me, but she went straight as a gun barrel and she won really well. Wesley leaves tactics up to me, but she was in the stalls for a very long time and she lost a bit of concentration. She jumped a little bit slow but they went so fast, and I was able to be on the flank of the field and find my own pace. I had plenty of horse left at the two-furlong marker and, in fairness, she quickened up really well. She has got a very sensible racing head. She did everything I asked of her and it was a good performance.
“I go to Florida in January to see Wesley from time to time, and already in January he starts hassling me about riding his horses at Royal Ascot. He loves the two-year-old races, he is a big supporter and I am so pleased he managed to win one, because it just gives him the incentive to come back again next year.”
1.15pm Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2)
1 Campanelle  Wesley Ward 2-9-00 Frankie Dettori 9/2
2 Sacred  William Haggas 2-9-00 James Doyle 5/1
3 Caroline Dale  David Loughnane 2-9-00 David Egan 100/1
11th Royal Ascot win for trainer Wesley Ward
71st Royal Ascot win for jockey Frankie Dettori
Click here for audio interviews with Wesley Ward and Frankie Dettori: