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Royal Ascot Day 1 Recap: Lady Aurelia Fantastic in G1 King’s Stand

Royal Ascot Day 1 Recap: Lady Aurelia Fantastic in G1 King’s Stand

ASCOT, BERKSHIRE, ENGLAND – Wesley Ward’s speedster Lady Aurelia produced a devastating display in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes, winning her second consecutive race at Royal Ascot and simultaneously provide her American handler with his eighth career victory at the Royal Meeting.

Having broken alertly under jockey John Velazquez, the 3-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy travelled powerfully throughout the 5-furlong contest before unleashing a blistering turn of foot, taking her clear of the rest of the field in a matter of strides.

The victory was .01 seconds outside the course record of :57.44, set by Miss Andretti in 2007. Lady Aurelia is now two-for-two over the course, following her victory in last year’s Queen Mary Stakes.

Last year’s winner Profitable, trained by Clive Cox, stayed on well to finish 3 lengths behind the runaway winner, with a head back to Sir Mark Prescott’s Marsha in third.

Lady Aurelia became the first horse from Wesley Ward’s stable to win twice at Royal Ascot, and the trainer was quick to express his delight and admiration for his star filly.

“That was awesome,” Ward said. “Lady Aurelia is a very special filly. You never know (what will happen). This is a Group 1 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. She has immense talent and immense speed. Hopefully, with the experience she has now, she should get better and better.

“The owners are so excited. It is wonderful for American racing. All the team have done a fantastic job with her. She really is something special.”

The win was Velazquez’s third career Royal Ascot victory. Velazquez was a late addition as jockey following the news that her original rider, Frankie Dettori, would miss the 2017 Royal Ascot meet while still recovering from an arm injury suffered in a paddock fall last week. Dettori rode Lady Aurelia to take the Queen Mary Stakes at last year’s Royal Ascot.

“I feel so bad for my Frankie,” Ward said. “I feel really happy for John, so if you’re watching, Frankie, you’re with us.”

Ward suggested that a tilt at the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August is next on the agenda.

“I need to sit down with the owners, but I would like to go the Nunthorpe Stakes at York with her next,” Ward said. “We’ll get her home, just like we have the other times, and hopefully she can run like she did today. She is very exciting.”

Ward also hinted that the filly could remain in training as a 4-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.”

G1 Queen Anne Stakes

The Godolphin-owned colt Ribchester registered a convincing 1 1/4-length win in record time in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes over the straight mile, the first race of this year’s Royal Meeting. Under jockey William Buick, the Richard Fahey trainee’s final time of 1:36.60 was .04 seconds faster than the previous mark, set in 2005 by Valixir.

G2 Coventry Stakes

Newmarket trainer Richard Spencer, in just his second season with a license, saddled his first Royal Ascot runner – and winner – when Rajasinghe took the Group 2 Coventry Stakes in course-record time. Jockey Stevie Donohoe rode the 2-year-old colt past the wire in 1:12.39, besting Henrythenavigator’s mark of 1:12.46 set in 2007. Red Clubs’ race record of 1:10.91 still stands, coming in 2005 when the Royal Ascot meet was held at York.

G1 St James’s Palace Stakes

Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation enjoyed a second winner on Day One of Royal Ascot when Barney Roy landed the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes.

James Doyle rode the Richard Hannon trainee and emphatically turned the tables on the 3-year-old star Churchill, who had defeated Barney Roy in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. Here, Churchill could do no better than fourth, as Barney Roy beat Lancaster Bomber and his Godolphin stablemate, Thunder Snow, by 1 length and a head, respectively.

Ascot Handicap

Thomas Hobson will target the Melbourne Cup after winning the Ascot Handicap for trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Ryan Moore. It was the third time that the human pair teamed up to take the 2.5-mile contest, having previously done so with Simenon in 2012 and Clondaw Warrior in 2015.

Windsor Castle Stakes

The Charlie Appleby-trained Sound And Silence provided owners Godolphin with their third winner of the day following his gutsy success in the Windsor Castle Stakes. The victory was jockey William Buick’s second on the day, having earlier won the Queen Anne Stakes.

Source: Ascot Racecourse

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