Fandom team to make late call on Royal Ascot target

Wesley Ward will wait until the last moment before deciding whether Fandom will take his chance in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.

Fandom was a wide-margin winner on his sole start at Keeneland in April, making all the running under big-race jockey Irad Ortiz Jr and is one of the fancied runners from Ward’s strong US team at the meeting this week.

However, Ward believes owner Barbara Banke may decide to run the speedy Showcasing colt in Wednesday’s Listed Windsor Castle Stakes over five furlongs, rather than take on River Tiber and Asadna over the six furlongs of the Group Two Coventry Stakes.

Ward said: “Fandom has worked very well, excellent in fact. He has travelled over well. I think he has got a great chance and has done everything well. We have declared in this race as well as the Windsor Castle.

“We will be having a meeting with Fandom’s owner Barbara Banke and her team on Monday evening and then we will make a determination as to which race we are going to go in.”

The Keeneland handler became the first US-based trainer to bring a horse to England and win a race at Royal Ascot when Strike The Tiger scored in the 2009 Windsor Castle and has recorded 11 further wins at the meeting.

Sprint king Ward was out of luck at last year’s meeting, with main hope Golden Pal missing the break in the King’s Stand Stakes when Ortiz Jr was momentarily confused by the eventual withdrawal of the reluctant to load Mondammej and Khaadem, who unshipped Jamie Spencer.

Ward, who has previously used the services of Frankie Dettori on many occasions in the past at the Royal meeting, will keep the faith with Ortiz Jr and will also employ fellow US rider Joel Rosario this week.

Ward feels Ortiz Jr will be itching to make up for a luckless showing last year.

He added: “We have every faith in both Irad and Joel Rosario, who is also riding a couple of ours. Last year’s King’s Stand was just one of those things.”

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