Trainer Robert Tiller announced on the morning of June 13 that Patrick Husbands will ride Forever Grand in the Queen's Plate at Woodbine on June 23.
Husbands, Woodbine's leading rider, will be aboard the dark bay for the first time, looking to capture his first Queen's Plate. Tiller, who saddled 2001 Queen's Plate runner-up and Horse of the Year Win City, is not at all concerned that Husbands has never been aboard the 3-year-old.
"Husbands will ride Forever Grand," he said. "He's never ridden him before but he's been on a lot of very good horses. You have to feel good when you have the country's leading rider aboard your Plate horse."
Forever Grand, owned by Frank DiGiulio Jr. and Tiller, has four wins in six career starts. His most recent outing was a second-place finish behind American-bred Tails of the Crypt in the Victoria Park Stakes.
According to Tiller, the son of War Deputy will not get a timed work before the Plate. He will gallop into the race.Bravely Is On the Way Up
He certainly won't be the favourite in the Queen's Plate, but trainer Catherine Day Phillips says Kingfield Farms' Bravely is showing positive signs heading towards the "gallop for the guineas" at Woodbine.
The son of Tejabo worked three furlongs this morning, going :36 1/5, handily from the gate.
It was an energetic effort, according to Day Phillips. "It was a very good work. He broke well, galloped, relaxed and then picked it up again. That's exactly what we wanted to see."
As for the race itself, Day Phillips is confident the bay gelding will have a positive performance in Canadian thoroughbred racing's premier event.
"We know he'll be a longshot in the Plate, but he won't embarrass himself," Day Phillips said. "I was disappointed he didn't make a strong, late run in the Plate Trial (seventh-place finish on June 1), but he always seems to bounce back after a tough race."