Blaze at Wesley Ward stable causes death of three horses including Ascot winner | Horse Racing News

Stephen Pond (Getty Images)

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The barn fire at Wesley Ward’s stable was caused by a lightning strike, according to reports
Stephen Pond (Getty Images)

By Andrew Dietz

A barn fire caused by electrical storms at Wesley Ward’s stable in Lexington, Kentucky has resulted in the death of three horses, including the trainer’s first Royal Ascot winner Strike The Tiger.

According to a report from Horse Racing Nation, investigators from the Lexington Fire Department told Ward the fire began around 12.50pm local time on Sunday when lightning struck a service pole that led into the barn.

The 15-year-old Strike The Tiger started the trainer’s love affair with Royal Ascot by winning the 2009 Windsor Castle and had returned to the royal meeting as a pony once his racing days were over.

Mark Cranham

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Strike The Tiger powers his way to victory in the 2009 Windsor Castle

Strike The Tiger powers his way to victory in the 2009 Windsor Castle
Mark Cranham

The other two horses that were killed were Keeneland winner Modesto and an unraced two-year-old Hootenanny gelding.

Last month, Ward had 12 golden Royal Ascot trophy boxes stolen from his home in Versailles, Kentucky and he reported he had not heard any progress in recovering the items.


Wesley Ward ‘devastated’ after theft of Royal Ascot trophies from US home


Of the fire, he told Horse Racing Nation it was “100 times worse than losing those damn trophies, I’ll tell you that”.

Ward has become a major figure at Royal Ascot since claiming a juvenile double with Strike The Tiger and Jealous Again in 2009 and last year he added to his haul with Campanelle’s Group 1 success in the Commonwealth Cup.

The missing trophies included the one presented to Ward by The Queen after he won the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes with Undrafted in 2015, with the trainer saying at the time the possible six-figure value of the items paled in comparison to their sentimental value.


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FIRST PUBLISHED 8:24AM, MAR 7 2022

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