United States-based trainer Wesley Ward struck at the top level in France Aug. 18 with precocious 2-year-old No Nay Never, who effortlessly stretched his speed to win the Darley Prix Morny (Fr-I) at Deauville.
Owned by Coolmore and partners, the 2-year-old Scat Daddy colt kept his record perfect in three career starts while scoring his first group or grade I success.
The colt was eager to race under David Flores and was soon in command, shaking off Muharaaj and Jallota to secure the victory with 400 meters to run. He held back the late bid of 6-4 favorite Vorda and cruised across the finish line a one-length victor.
No Nay Never, the 11-5 second favorite with Racing Post, was timed in 1:09.82 for the straight 1,200 meters (about six furlongs) on turf rated as good to firm.
Prix Robert Papin (Fr-II) winner Vorda, seeking to keep her own record untarnished, took second in the closing stages after starting slowly. Royal Ascot winner Rizeena finished three-quarters of a length back in the third in the 10-horse field.
Flores was aboard No Nay Never for the first time. The colt won his career debut going 4 1/2 furlongs at Keeneland April 26, then was shipped to England and impressively won the Norfolk Stakes (Eng-II) at the same distance June 20 at Royal Ascot, both with Joel Rosario in the saddle. His one-length Norfolk win was achieved in :58.80, a course record time for a juvenile.
Ward, who in 2009 became the first U.S.-based trainer to win at Royal Ascot, was thrilled with the French victory and said the Prix Morny unfolded as he had hoped. The trainer had been targeting the race following the colt's Norfolk win.
"That was great, I was so excited," he told England's Press Association. "We don't have a plan (for a next race) yet. We will make a plan next week sometime. The horse will be back at home on Tuesday."
No Nay Never was bred Kentucky by Jayne Doi Johnson and David Sparrow. He is one of two winners from as many starters out of the winning Elusive Quality mare Cat's Eye Witness, a half sister to U.S. grade III winner Cat's Career and stakes winner Al's River Cat. The colt was a $95,000 purchase at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale.