‘I’m not 100% certain he’ll go to Nunthorpe’ – Wesley Ward eyes Curragh for Golden Pal

Horse Racing Golden Pal
Golden Pal (Irad Ortiz) wins G3 Quick Call at Saratoga in the Coolmore silks. Photo: NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Nicholas Godfrey

USA: Breeders’ Cup winner Golden Pal may miss the Nunthorpe Stakes in favour of running in the G1 Flying Five at The Curragh on September 12.

The three-year-old is vying for favouritism for the York sprint on Augist 20 after a sizzling seasonal debut following ankle chip surgery and an eight-month layoff at Saratoga on Thursday.

However, although the Nunthorpe is sponsored by Golden Pal’s new owners Coolmore, trainer Wesley Ward suggested the race may come too soon for the blistering son of Uncle Mo, who made all after rocketing from the gate to win the G3 Quick Call as 1-5 favourite on Thursday.

“It’s close together, but when you’re talking about going over to England and off a layoff, I like to give them some time so I’m not 100 per cent certain he’ll go to the Nunthorpe,” Ward said, speaking to NYRA reporters. 

“I would say, looking at his energy and his workouts, that will determine whether it’s there or if he’ll run in Ireland. I’ve never run one in Ireland.

“I was planning on going this morning, but he ran such a big effort I’ll keep him here for a couple of days,” Ward added. “Right now, when he’s this good and you want to try and make him a sire, you have to hook into a Group 1 somewhere.”

Golden Pal received a Beyer speed figure of 95 for his emphatic three-length victory at Saratoga under Irad Ortiz. He has won all three starts since a narrow defeat last year at Royal Ascot, his finest hour coming in the G2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. “He’s much better going five-eighths,” Ward said.

Both the Nunthorpe Stakes and the Derrinstown Stud-sponsored Flying Five are Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ races for the Turf Sprint at Del Mar on November 6, which is Golden Pal’s primary target for 2021.

Golden Pal is a best-priced 4-1 for the Nunthorpe, with Battaash and Dragon Symbol also featuring at a similar price at the head of bookmakers’ ante-post markets.

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