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Homeracing

Lady Aurelia races to stardom in Queen Mary

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

June 15th, 2016

One day after Tepin proudly hoisted the stars and stripes over Royal Ascot, Wesley Ward’s Lady Aurelia brought down the house with a stunning performance in Wednesday’s Queen Mary (G2). Shredding any doubt about whether the rain-softened ground could get in her way, the 2-1 favorite annihilated her opponents by 7 lengths.

Moreover, the Keeneland track record-setter put up a time that’s remarkable in light of the slow conditions. Lady Aurelia covered the straight 5 furlongs in 1:00.14 – only 1.14 seconds slower than Racing Post standard on a day when literally every other race was significantly slower. (The 7-furlong Jersey [G3] was 2.89 seconds off standard, while the rest were upwards of 4 seconds slower.)

As Timeform’s Simon Rowlands pointed out, Lady Aurelia went 2.55 seconds faster than the older male Profitable clocked in Tuesday’s King’s Stand (G1). And she was only 0.11 off stablemate Acapulco’s Queen Mary time last year, when the good-to-firm ground was conducive to quick times.

The inescapable conclusion is that Lady Aurelia is better than Ward’s previous two Queen Mary winners, and likely better than his high-class No Nay Never, who set a course record for a 2-year-old at Ascot in the 2013 Norfolk (G2) and added the Prix Morny (G1).

It’s a wonderfully scary thought to ponder just how fast Lady Aurelia could have gone on better ground. No Nay Never’s mark of :58.80 may well have been in danger – and dare we look at Miss Andretti’s overall record of :57.44 set in the 2007 King’s Stand?

A Stonestreet Stables homebred campaigned in partnership with George Bolton and Peter Leidel, Lady Aurelia also capped a big juvenile race double for her late sire, Scat Daddy. His highly regarded son Caravaggio, from the Aidan O’Brien yard, justified favoritism in resounding fashion in the Coventry (G2).

Lady Aurelia’s connections and rivals had the same awe-struck reaction.

Jockey Frankie Dettori: “It was breathtaking from the top.

“To win a sprint at Royal Ascot by seven lengths - I have never seen anything like it, especially from a two-year-old.

“I was going some very good splits and when we got to the furlong and a half I asked her to go and she found another gear. I was completely shocked.

“She was a rocket and she relaxed so well - Wesley Ward is a genius!

“She is a lovely filly and well done to Wesley. He is a master with these sprinters.

“With the weight allowance in the Nunthorpe ([G1] at York) she'd surely take all the beating.”

Ward: “She is an amazing filly. I kept professing about her and you need it to come true so thank God she lived up to it. She is a special, is very sound and should have a big future. We're very excited about her.

“The ground was a little bit of a question mark for me but her greatness came out today. I thought she could overcome the ground and she did. Frankie gave her a beautiful ride so we are all smiles. Frankie is a lovely guy and an extremely talented guy.

“I'm fortunate for all the success I have had. I'm getting a bigger pool of 2-year-olds to choose from and I am able to narrow it down to the better ones I have to have the opportunity to come here. Fortunately, the cream rises to the top by the time I come here so I am able to bring a better quality horse over here and this filly is just tremendous.

“There is nothing like Royal Ascot. I have been fortunate to win a couple of Breeders' Cup races but to win here stands above everything.

“We will probably keep her based over here, I need to talk to the owners. It all depends on where her next start will be but that hopefully will be the Molecomb ([G3] at Glorious Goodwood) and then onto the Prix Morny (G1), I just need to see if the owners agree. We probably won't go to the Nunthorpe (G1) with this filly. I'd like to space her races out. There is nothing in the United States on the grass for a filly like her at the moment.

“The greatest horses in the world are competing here. Tepin highlighted how competitive we could be. Royal Ascot will be a worldwide event with American horses hopefully coming here after Tepin's victory.”

Harry Herbert, Al Shaqab’s racing manager, after seeing their homebred Al Johrah check in a long-way second:           

“Our filly has run a fantastic race, but the winner put up the best performance by a 2-year-old filly I've ever seen. I cannot believe what I have just seen - it was quite remarkable.

“In racing we don't see performances like that very often. Gregory Benoist [who rode Al Johrah] just said to me he couldn't quite believe what was happening up front.           

“I'm sure she will get further, but we'll look at where the winner is likely to go - and avoid at all costs."

Trainer Keith Dalgleish on third-placer Clem Fandango: “The first looked very special indeed but we are not a million miles from the second so it was a great run.”

Clem Fandango’s rider Phillip Makin: “I think we have all bumped into a bit of a superstar in the winner."

Richard Fahey, trainer of fourth-placer Kocollada: “I think the winner is a freak.”

Horse racing being a game of opinions, that’s about as close to unanimity as you’ll find.

Now 2-for-2, with a scintillating dirt debut followed by this jaw-dropper on soft turf, Lady Aurelia has the world at her feet.

Photo courtesy Ascot Racecourse via Twitter.

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