By Nicholas Godfrey
GB: Wesley Ward has pulled the plug on a Nunthorpe Stakes bid for Golden Pal and the flying US two-year-old will stay at home to run instead at Saratoga on Friday.
Ward had been keen to run the Norfolk Stakes runner-up against older horses and had even earmarked Andrea Atzeni to ride the speedy son of Uncle Mo at the York Ebor meeting.
However, although Golden Pal was only a 7-1 chance for the Nunthorpe, a combination of an unfavourable weather forecast promising further rain and the formidable presence of Battaash is understood to have brought about a change of heart.
Golden Pal is now set to join stablemate Fauci and Sunny Isle Beach as part of a six-runner field in the $85,000 Skidmore Stakes over 5½f on the turf at Saratoga on Friday with Irad Ortiz in the saddle.
Ward remains hugely impressed with Golden Pal, still a maiden after two starts after being caught close home by The Lir Jet on rain-softened ground at Royal Ascot.
“He is a very, very special colt,” said the trainer, speaking to the NYRA press team. “He is really an amazing horse and if he keeps moving on up, I think he could really be something. He’s done everything right and he’s just extremely, extremely gifted.”
Golden Pal is out of the 11-time stakes-winning sprinter Lady Shipman.
“He’s pure speed,” added Ward, who is set to run Queen Mary Stakes winner Campanelle under Frankie Dettori in the Prix Morny at the weekend.
“He takes after the mare in that regard. He’s got a real great personality. He’s like the high-school quarterback, just thinks he’s a real cat daddy.”
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