FEW sights in racing lifted the spirits more than the Royal Ascot success of Lady Aurelia in last year’s Queen Mary Stakes. She was like a bullet from a gun and her victory was the abiding memory from last year’s royal meeting. The flying American filly, trained by Wesley Ward, returns to Royal Ascot in the King’s Stand Stakes on Tuesday and is already the ante-post favourite.
Lady Aurelia was put through her paces in a gallop at Ascot on Wednesday morning ahead of her date with destiny. She worked alongside two of her stablemates in the hands of Ryan Moore and came a long way clear of stablemate Bound For Nowhere, who is pencilled in to run in the Commonwealth Cup. Her other workmate was Ward’s Con Te Partiro, who could run in the Sandringham Handicap.
Moore was standing in for Lady Aurelia’s intended Ascot jockey Frankie Dettori who was injured at Yarmouth on Tuesday. It was Dettori who steered her to her astonishing Queen Mary success in 2016.
Moore reported afterwards that Lady Aurelia “knows what she’s doing round here.”
And Ward added: “Lady Aurelia went very well. She had a good sprint and when Ryan pushed the button she just kicked on. Ascot were very helpful. We worked nine horses and everything worked out beautiful.”
Her King’s Stand rivals are headed by Sir Mark Prescott’s Marsha, winner of the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket in May. Other dangers for Lady Aurelia are Clive Cox’s pair Priceless and Profitable, Acapulco and Signs of Blessing. Goldream, a previous winner of the race, looks solid each-way value at 16/1. Check out all the latest ante-post Royal Ascot odds at bettingtips4you.
Meanwhile, Irish maestro Aidan O’Brien will have a fairly small team of juveniles heading to Royal Ascot.
The Ballydoyle trainer has already won the Coventry Stakes a record eight times and is aiming Murillo and Dundalk scorer Declarationofpeace in the race next Tuesday.
Clemmie, a sister to dual 2,000 Guineas winner Churchill, and September, a filly out of the brilliant Peeping Fawn and Deep Impact, are also bound for Berkshire and are possible runners in the Albany and Chesham Stakes.Sioux Nation is another intended runner for O’Brien in the Windsor Castle or Norfolk.
One horse who won’t be at Ascot is French ace Cloth Of Stars. He has been ruled out of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes next Wednesday. The in-form four-year-old, trained in France by Andre Fabre, was a big player for the Group One affair, but he has not been working well. Jack Hobbs is the new favourite for the race.