Wesley Ward excited to make Goodwood debut with Maven in Molecomb Stakes

American trainer Wesley Ward. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
American trainer Wesley Ward. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Wesley Ward has confirmed his recent Chantilly scorer Maven is an intended runner in the Markel Insurance Molecomb Stakes at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.

Having made a winning debut at Aqueduct in April, the two-year-old American Pharoah colt travelled to Britain with the aim of providing his trainer with a third victory in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot.

However, he was declared a non-runner on the morning of the race after rain softened the ground.

Maven was swiftly re-routed to France for the Group 3 Prix du Bois.

And after claiming a narrow victory, he has returned to Britain, where he is being readied for an appearance on the South Downs on Wednesday, July 31.

Ward said: ‘We are heading for the Molecomb. That’s the plan.

‘I think he would have shown up really well in the Norfolk and it was a last-minute decision to scratch him.

‘I just didn’t think it was fair to the horse, especially with him being by American Pharoah, to let him run in conditions that probably wouldn’t have been to his liking.

‘It was great to see him win in France, though.

‘It’s special to win any Group race in Europe and it vindicated our decision to bring him to Ascot.’

Maven is set to become a belated first runner at the Qatar Goodwood Festival for the popular American trainer.

That comes after Happy Like A Fool’s late defection from the Molecomb in 2017.

Ward added: ‘I was all geared up to run Happy Like A Fool in the Molecomb a couple of years ago before it poured down with rain and we decided to scratch her.

‘I made it to the track but unfortunately we haven’t had a runner there yet.

‘Let’s hope for sunshine and good weather and Maven will be there.

‘It’s a beautiful track and it will be exciting to have a runner.’

The five-day Qatar Goodwood Festival, formerly known as Glorious Goodwood, begins on Tuesday, July 30.

For ticket information, visit goodwood.com/horseracing or call 01243 755055.