Star US sprinter Lady Aurelia is reported in very good shape as trainer Wesley Ward prepares last year’s Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes heroine to defend her crown at Royal Ascot on June 19.
The daughter of Scat Daddy has become a standing dish at the world’s most prestigious race meeting having first stunned observers when landing the 2016 Group 1 Queen Mary Stakes by a massive seven lengths under Frankie Dettori (see video below).
Taking on older and more experienced speedsters in last year’s King’s Stand Stakes, Lady Aurelia again showed a blistering change of pace to lead over a furlong from home before staying on strongly under John Velasquez to beat the 2016 winner Profitable by three lengths, with Sir Mark Prescott’s smart mare Marsha a head back in third (see video below).
Marsha gained her revenge on her old rival when getting up to beat Lady Aurelia in the very last stride of the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York last August, and Ward’s stable star then ran way below her best when only 10th and well beaten in the Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar in November, for which she started odds-on.
Although she was again beaten when odds-on for her seasonal reappearance when runner-up at Keeneland last month, connections believe the four-year-old is now coming right back to her best and will again put on a big show at Royal Ascot.
“She’s really aggressive like she has been in the past,” enthused Ward after seeing Lady Aurelia work at Keeneland on Tuesday. “That’s what you want to see going to where we’ve been a couple of times before.”
The US star is a top priced 7/2 shot with Bet365 to complete what would be a famous Royal Ascot hattrick, but Charles Hills’ exciting sprinter Battassh, who beat Marsha by four lengths when running away with the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye at Chantilly in October on his last racecourse appearance, is the current 10/3 market leader with BetStars.
Written by Paul Alster
Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.