Lady to stand and deliver
Wesley Ward has an inkling Lady Aurelia can take Royal Ascot by storm for the second successive year when she faces the cream of Europe’s sprinters in the King’s Stand Stakes on Tuesday.
She looked something special when spread-eagling the opposition in the Queen Mary Stakes last term, but her juvenile campaign ended with a blip in the Cheveley Park Stakes, when she was found to have bled after suffering the only defeat of her career so far.
She had little difficulty dealing with her rivals on her comeback at Keeneland in April and delighted Ward in a racecourse gallop at Ascot last week.
Ward said: “Lady Aurelia is a true champion. She is a sweetheart year round and when she gets to the track, she puts it all in.
“Last year, she was working better than any two-year-old I had previously brought over so I knew I had something special. I expected she would win, but not the dominating performance which was special.
“I was a little worried that she did a little too much in her gallop last week. She had a bleed last fall. This year she has been perfect, but I have not asked her to do as much as she did then.
“So I was really, really relieved when the vet who scoped her said she was clean. I was really nervous until then but now I am very confident. She breezed superb and like she trained there every day with her head down. I think she is going to run her A race.
“We were making excuses for her when she won a Group One over six furlongs in France last year and I just think that five furlongs is her game and what she is most effective at.
“That is the reason why we have decided to run her in the King’s Stand Stakes this year.”
It is another filly, Marsha, who spearheads the home defence and Sir Mark Prescott’s charge also looks the real deal.
After lifting Europe’s premier sprint prize, the Prix de l’Abbaye, on her final start in 2016, she showed she would be a formidable force this campaign when defying a 7lb penalty in the Palace House Stakes art Newmarket.
“Winning the Palace House with a penalty is not done often and on that run she’s better than last year, but now she’s got to keep it going,” said Prescott.
“She’s very willing, very sound and very straightforward, except she will tank.
“The girl who looks after her, Sarah (Oliveira), rides her in all her work. Luke (Morris) gets on with her very well, but is not allowed to see her at home.”
Of Lady Aurelia, Prescott joked: “In the days when we had Pivotal (winner of the King’s Stand and Nunthorpe in 1996) at least we didn’t have any horrid people coming from abroad!”
Goldream won both the King’s Stand and Prix de l’Abbaye in 2015 but failed to sparkle last term before bouncing back to be placed in both the Palace House and Temple Stakes at Haydock this term.
“He ran very well at Newmarket. When he won the Abbaye and the King’s Stand two years ago he’d had a pretty hard year and we weren’t able to recharge his batteries,” said Cowell.
“His battery level went down to about 10 per cent and we weren’t able to recharge them before he went back out to Dubai. That’s why he didn’t perform over there.
“Now he has a full charge of batteries, he’s raring to go.
“Hopefully he’ll make his presence felt. It’s an intriguing race.”
Profitable bids to join the elite club of back-to-back winners, the last being Sole Power in 2013-14.
Winner of the Temple as well last season, Profitable was beaten by French challenger Signs Of Blessing on his return at Deauville last month.
“I am very happy with Profitable. I think the run at Deauville has put him bang-on – he did very well over the winter and I am really thrilled with the way he has been training,” trainer Clive Cox told www.godolphin.com.
“I hope that Royal Ascot starts with nice ground. They will be putting plenty of water on in this weather and I am pleased that Profitable is running on the first day with that in mind.
“He has a real spark in his eye and I am very happy. He is a proven Group One horse.”
Cox has a second leading contender in the filly, Priceless, who proved her credentials when winning the Temple Stakes.
“She is a filly that has undoubtedly kept on improving with age,” Cox told #ThisFillyCan.
“She did very well over the winter and she likes top of the ground so it looks as if we will have ground conditions in her favour for the first day of Ascot.”
William Haggas wishes Muthmir had been handed a better draw than stall two, but is happy with the seven-year-old’s condition and with the fast ground.
He said: “He probably hasn’t got a great draw as a lot of the pace seems to be on the other side with the American filly (Lady Aurelia) drawn high (stall 18), Take Cover in 11 and Cotai Glory in 16.
“But I’m very happy with him going in to the race. He’s in great shape and he’ll like the ground.”
Latest Each Way Double Tip
|Date||Silk||Selection||Time / Course||Price|
|£5 Each Way Double Pays £891.50 with Bet365|
|18/08/2017||Duke Of Yorkshire||17:30 Catterick|
|18/08/2017||Russian Roulette||19:45 Tramore (IRE)|