The star American filly Lady Aurelia is settling in at York ahead of her bid for further Group 1 glory in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes on Friday 25 August.
Trained by Wesley Ward, she is one of three intended runners for his Kentucky-based operation. They are now enjoying a Yorkshire welcome, ahead of the four-day Festival.
A likely first runner will be Happy Like A Fool, with the juvenile filly expected to be given a supplementary entry for the Sky Bet Lowther on Thursday 24 August. Having been second in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot, it is hoped she can land the richest British Group 2 for 2-year-old fillies, in the £225,000 Lowther. Connections are expected to confirm her intended participation by paying the supplementary entry fee of £15,000 by noon this Friday.
Lady Aurelia herself was a winner at Royal Ascot and is considered by some to be the best 3-year-old in the USA, having put up a memorable display of speed in the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes over the same five-furlong trip as the Coolmore Nunthorpe. The American filly is a general 6-4 favourite for York’s fastest race of the year, in front of King George Stakes winner Battaash, from the Lambourn yard of Charlie Hills.
Completing the American raiding party is a third filly, Elizabeth Darcy, last seen running into second in a Group 3 at Deauville after her European debut in the listed Windsor Castle Stakes. Her target comes on Saturday 26 August in the listed Julia Graves Roses Stakes, again over five furlongs, with £70,000 in the prize money kitty.
The three runners, alongside companion Strike The Tiger (a Royal Ascot runner back in 2009), are settling in well, with their stable staff enjoying the sights of one of Europe’s best known tourist cities.
In regular contact with Wesley Ward, who is supervising runners on his home continent, assistant trainer Ed Veale, who is with the runners in York, said, “The horses and the team have had a great welcome and have settled in really well at York ahead of an exciting week.
"We dream of having a single winner at a big festival like the Ebor – Wesley came so close with Acapulco back in 2015 [second to Mecca's Angel in the Nunthorpe] - so having live prospects in three stakes races is a real buzz. We know it won’t be easy because everyone wants a share of that prestige and prize money.”