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Shang Shang Shang Edges Competition in Norfolk
Thursday, July 5, 2018 RSS Feeds

Shang Shang Shang became American trainer Wesley Ward's 10th Royal Ascot winner under an audacious ride by Joel Rosario that tiptoed along the fine line between genius and disaster.

Rosario, who teamed up with Ward to win the Norfolk Stakes (G2) five years ago with No Nay Never, got a lightning break on his flying filly and rode her under hands and heels until virtually upon the post, only resorting to the stick at the last moment and holding off the fast-closing Pocket Dynamo by a nose.

It was a particularly welcome winner for Ward, who had drawn a blank with two fancied runners over the opening days, and a suitably dramatic way for him to bring up a landmark Royal Ascot success.

Ward said: "I'll tell you, I went to bed early last night, I kind of wanted to get rid of the bad luck, and I was looking forward to the next few days. It all came together today, and it was a beautiful ride—there was ice water in Joel's veins, he didn't move until the last few jumps, and I think that was what we needed."

"She was responding really well to my hand riding, and I didn't want to change anything while she was responding," added Rosario, who performed a Frankie Dettori-inspired flying dismount in the winner's enclosure. "He still hasn't perfected it!" Ward joked.

Ward's first runners at Royal Ascot were in 2009—his first winner, Strike the Tiger, came that year too—and he spoke on Thursday about the sense of awe he experienced attending the meeting for the first time.

"I could never have imagined what would have happened since then. I knew nothing about it, I came over here and I looked around and thought, 'Wow, this is an amazing place. Maybe I took a wrong turn.'"

There is no doubt Ward is in the right place now; such is the faith put in him by British punters that it was a surprise Shang Shang Shang was sent off at a relatively generous 5-1. Yet if Ward sometimes makes it look easy, the difficulty and costs of shipping horses halfway around the world should not be underestimated. It can cost up to $40,000 to ship a horse long-distance, making anything short of victory an expensive trip.

Despite watching Pocket Dynamo miss out by such a narrow margin, trainer Robert Cowell was delighted with his sprinter. "I'm absolutely thrilled, and there's plenty more fun to be had with him," he said.

"He's done everything beautifully, and he probably feels he's won the race. Mickael (Barzalona) said he feels a stone better than when he last ran, and myself and the owner Tom Morley felt we should have been half the price we were."

Courtesy of the Bloodhorse

 

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