Flying filly Lady Aurelia, trained in America by Wesley Ward, produced a devastating display to land the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Runaway winner of the Queen Mary Stakes at last year’s meeting, Lady Aurelia breezed to another emphatic success under John Velazquez, who replaced the injured Frankie Dettori.
Lady Aurelia, sent off at 7-2, travelled powerfully throughout the five-furlong contest before unleashing a fine turn of foot, which swept the three-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy clear of the rest of the field in a matter of strides to register an easy success.
Last year’s winner Profitable (14-1), trained by Clive Cox, stayed on well to finish three lengths behind the runaway winner in second, with a head back to Sir Mark Prescott’s Marsha, the well-backed 11-4 favourite, in third. The victory was a fraction outside the course record.
Lady Aurelia became the first horse from Wesley Ward’s stable to win twice at Royal Ascot and the trainer expressed his delight and admiration for his star filly.
“That was awesome. Lady Aurelia is a very special filly,” he said. “You never know [what will happen]. This is a Group One with some of the fastest horses in the world, and to duplicate what she did last year, she is a once in a lifetime horse.
“She loves it over here. We look forward to a really big summer and then the Breeders’ Cup. The owners are so excited. It is wonderful for American racing.
“She has immense talent and immense speed. Hopefully, with the experience she has now, she should get better and better.”
Ward suggested that a tilt at another QIPCO British Champions Series contest, the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August, would be next on the agenda for the US-bred filly, for which she is an Even money favourite with Paddy Power and Ladbrokes.
Ward also hinted that the filly could remain in training as a four-year-old, adding: “The owners are sportsmen and sportswoman and I would say that as long as she keeps sound, she will carry on racing.”
Velasquez said: “It makes my job a lot easier when they do it like that. All I was worried about was her just using up too much energy in the first part of the race. What a feeling, when you ask a horse to run and they respond like that. You feel so comfortable and know they are running as fast as they can.
“When a horse is travelling so beautifully and responds right away when you ask, you can’t get better than that.”
Profitable did n0t disappoint the Godolphin charge’s handler, Clive Cox, who said: “He is a proven Group One performer, and he has rubber stamped that today. It would have been nicer if we had been drawn a bit closer together [with Lady Aurelia], but fair play to her.”
Sir Mark Prescott, trainer of Marsha, said: “She got beaten a head by last year’s winner, and, of course, then there is Lady Aurelia. You know how fast this filly is and she was never on the bridle. It shows what a great race it was.”