Hootenanny bypasses York
Wesley Ward's Royal Ascot hero Hootenanny has been ruled out of the Ebor meeting at York and will instead aim to provide the American trainer with a second successive victory in the Prix Morny at Deauville on Sunday week.
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Ward was looking forward to making a first visit to the Knavesmire, with runaway Windsor Castle Stakes winner Hootenanny holding entries in the Coolmore Nunthorpe as well as the Gimcrack Stakes.
However, Ward has discovered the journey to York would be problematic and he will instead head for France in a bid to claim a Group One prize won 12 months ago by his stable companion, No Nay Never.
Ward said: "Due to logistical reasons, unfortunately, he's not going to be able to go to York, so the plan is to run in the Prix Morny.
"I was really looking forward to seeing him run at York and I'm told it's a great meeting, but we can get a direct flight to Paris for the Morny and to run at York would have added another 10 hours on to his journey.
"He would have had to get off the plane and pretty much go straight into the paddock if he were running at York. It would have been tough enough for him to overcome the journey, let alone win the race.
"The six furlongs of the Morny should be fine for him. The horse that won the race last year, No Nay Never, is a pure sprinter, but I think Hootenanny can go a mile.
"He's got long legs on him and is bigger than No Nay Never.
"When I say he's bigger, I mean height-wise, not width. No Nay Never could pull a train he's so strong!"
Frankie Dettori made the trip to Saratoga last month to take up a number of rides for Ward, who is keeping his fingers crossed the popular Italian might be available to partner Hootenanny at Deauville.
"I've mentioned it to Frankie, but he thinks he might have a horse to ride for his employers (Al Shaqab Racing)," said Ward.
"I'd like him to ride Hootenanny if he can, so we'll see how it plays out."
Earlier this week Ward ruled his July Cup fourth Undrafted out of the Nunthorpe and he will be heading home later in the month.
"He's with my good friend Robert Cowell. I had a talk with him after the horse had a good stretch the other morning and together we decided not to run in the Nunthorpe," said Ward.
"I don't want to run my horses over in England unless I think they have a good chance of winning and he might be better running in a Group Three or a Group Two.
"He's staying with Robert and will come back to the States with Hootenanny after the Morny."