Ward hopeful Woodhay Wonder can help keep his father happy as he bids for big prize at Newmarket
Tom Ward believes Woodhay Wonder can give his father Toby another day to savour on the racetrack at Newmarket this Saturday in the £150,000 Tattersalls October Auction Stakes, writes The Jockey Club’s Graham Clark.
Despite admitting that training for his dad comes with an added element of pressure, the Lambourn handler insists that he is also one of the luckiest owners in his yard.
Having saddled Woodhay Wonder, who Ward’s father owns half of alongside Matthew Webber, to glory in the £100,000 Tattersalls Somerville Auction Stakes at Newmarket’s July Course in August, the 33-year-old now hopes the Tamayuz filly can complete a unique double.
Should Woodhay Wonder triumph at the weekend, it would be the second season running that a horse based in Lambourn has completed the double after the Ed Walker-trained Amichi secured victory in both races last year.
Ward said: “Woodhay Wonder has had a nice break since her last run. She seems to have stepped forward with every run and I still think she has a bit more improvement to come on the track.
“She is already Group Two-placed and it is worth trying to pick up some good prize money with her.
“The form of her last run has worked out well as the runner-up (Geologist) has since won a Listed race.
“Dad has half a share in her and it does add a bit of pressure to keep him happy, but to be fair he is a good owner.
“He is a very lucky owner as everything he touches seems to win. He has a few shares in other horses and they’ve all done okay. Hopefully that can continue on Saturday.”
Woodhay Wonder finished third in the Group Two Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes on the July Course on her penultimate start before returning to winning ways last time out.
However, while the drop in class helped Woodhay Wonder on her most recent outing Ward feels that the return to a bigger field with a stronger pace played a much more significant role.
He added: “The Group Two race didn’t really suit her as there was a lack of pace in a small field. It really wasn’t her cup of tea.
“The bigger field and the much faster pace suited her a lot better the last day and she will get that again on Saturday.
“She handled the occasion with flying colours last time and hopefully she will do the same on this occasion as well.
“She has run well on the July Course, and I hope she will run well on the Rowley Mile, but this track is a bit more pronounced. The fact she has run well on the July Course hopefully puts her in good stead for this.”
While Woodhay Wonder has already been placed at Group Two level Ward believes she can make an impact at either Listed or Group Three level further down the line if continuing her progression.
He added: “We entered her in the Dick Poole at Salisbury, which is a Group Three, after her last run, but I thought it came a bit soon after her last run so I thought why not give her a decent break.
“She didn’t have an overly hard race last time, but she did well to win as she did. There was not much other than the Dick Poole for her so we decided just to wait for this as it is worth a lot.
“It would be nice if we could win a Listed race or Group Three with her, but we will see how she comes through this at the weekend first before looking at those kinds of options.”